Disclaimer: This post does not aim to belittle any specific gender for the sake of humorous literature. On the contrary, it is a curious reflection of my observations based on my experiences with both genders.
The above disclaimer was courtesy of my lawyer, who felt strongly against me writing such an article, she being a girl and completely fictional.
The disclaimer says that the post will not use gender for humour, but it says nothing about cracking jokes on the disclaimer itself. So, if the disclaimer itself is a joke, then we are basically back to square one, aren’t we?
There has to be no debate on the point that both genders have efficient and competent representatives. The question is not whether girls are more efficient and productive than guys (though some behavioural studies do point towards that), but how do guys even get through the stuff that they usually do?
I ask myself this question, fully aware that I, myself, am a guy. And honestly, there isn’t a ton of research backing up the question either. But the instant I observe two guys converse, this question hits me over and over! What do I mean? Let me illustrate with some good-old PvP comparison!
Consider two girls deep in conversation. Let us assume that they are BFFs. If they happen to be particularly catty, then it’s a safe assumption that gossip is the number one topic on their agenda! But hey! I won’t stereotype. Maybe they are astrophysicists working at NASA and have a combined IQ higher than my entire engineering graduate class. So they’ll probably be talking about something meaningful!
Not that anything in the world would stop them from auditioning for the lead roles on Gossip Girls!
But have you noticed one thing about the conversations that girls have? They are quite coherent, linked and sequential. Girls start with a topic of choice and spend considerable time talking about it until they’ve not exhausted the entire branch of corollaries that the topic has to offer. Post that, they move on to affiliate topics dropped during the conversation, and follow the same cycle thereafter. This continues until either one of them has to jump off the call, thus bringing the call to a well-summarized swift end.
Even as I write this post, my wife is on a group video con with her friends from college, and I know based on summaries of past calls, that their topics are always prefixed, focussed and contained.
But when two guys talk, language is no limit for the kind of random crap that they usually end up discussing. And this happens with me all the time! Even as the greetings and conversational niceties come to an end, we’ve already drifted off-topic into another zone altogether! A very interesting anecdote comes to mind when I think of this.
My school friend, Gary, and I were planning to visit Pondicherry for the weekend, accompanied by our better halves. Since I had initiated the plan, I called him to check whether Meg and he’d be interested in joining us for the trip. This is how the first of many conversations went –
Me: Dude! For once, don’t greet me like I am a 50-year-old English businessman.
Gary: Well, for once, start behaving your age which is almost 30 now.
Me: Hey I am 29! We’ll get to 30 when I can count the extra candles on my cake!
Gary: Do you REALLY think you should be eating any more cake?
Me: I am CURVY and I LIKE IT!
Gary: Well if you wanna quote Joey, then here’s some golden advice – A moment on the lips, forever on the hips!
Me: Damn! You’ve watched that show FAR too many times
Me: Okay listen…
Me: I didn’t mean literally!
Gary: Actually, you did mean literally.
2 minutes into the conversation and neither of us had any clue about the purpose of this call. There were no health enquiries, so neither of us was aware of any critical illnesses that we were battling at that moment (There were none, but still! ). In the short period that girls usually enquire about the health of each other’s distant relatives thrice removed, we had discussed greeting styles, taken a dig at our age, quoted F.R.I.E.N.D.S., and debated the usage of common crutch words in the English language. Wow.
And this isn’t just one conversation. Obviously, after that pathetic waste of a discussion, we had to talk again to actually finalize some concrete itinerary for the trip. That conversation did not go too well either!
Gary: So Meg is okay with the 16th. She’ll fly down to Chennai and we’ll take a cab from there to Pondy in the morning
Me: You are asking her to weather Chennai AND Pondy on the SAME weekend? Better keep an apologies gift handy!
Gary: I think having stayed in Mumbai, she should be fairly okay with the weather in both places.
Me: You know I wasn’t talking about the weather! It’s the ‘vannakam’, ‘aamaa’, ‘illa’, and ‘oru nimischam’ !
Gary: Seri machaa!
That chain of Chennai conversation went on for another 30 minutes! We touched upon known slangs across other South Indian languages, the latest Rajinikanth movie, the lack of pubs and craft beer in Chennai, and the over-the-top pronunciation of certain English syllables by innocent country-folk in the small town of Potheri.
At the beginning of this post, I was worried about sexism. But now the field has been blown wide open to include racism, elitism, and any other ‘ism’ that the millennial population can invent.
Even after such diversion from the topic, we eventually managed to focus long enough to finalize one thing – the accommodation. That’s it! And you’d think that we’d plan the remaining itinerary in a follow-up call! But guess what, this is where we left it –
Me: What are the touristy things that you guys wanna do?
Gary: As minimum as possible.
Me: Okay, so let’s start with Auroville. That place is so blah that you’ll be done with all desire to see any more of Pondy.
Gary: Define blah.
Me: They make you wear socks inside the inner sanctum of their main golden building – I am forgetting what it’s called – so that your feet do not disturb people meditating!
Gary: I see. And you still propose we visit this place?
Me: Of course, it’s an architectural marvel! And once you’ve walked in its shadeless grounds for half an hour, the rest of the day will inadvertently be spent indoors, sipping gin and tonic!
Gary: My man!
15 minutes later.
Gary: Yes, but you absolutely should try it with a dash of ginger and lime-zest.
Me: I’ll try, but can’t say whether I’ll like it!
Gary: You do realize that we’ve spent another fifteen minutes discussing alcohol and related activities.
Me: Damn! We are terrible at this planning.
Gary: Well, we do have the basics sorted.
Me: Yes we do.
Gary: So, the rest of the itinerary?
Me: Wing it?
Two girls in the same scenario would have planned their entire shopping list by now, down to the price that they’d be willing to pay for gift keychains!
I’m not saying that lack of planning is a gross issue in all situations. The trip, in fact, turned out to be pretty pleasant! But there is a clear lack of efficiency in the way guys handle such things. So then, how are so many men leading the way in diverse fields, while delivering top-notch results?
Maybe there is a reason. Maybe there’s a way to structure the randomness wilfully. Maybe it’s a matter of expanse over formation – wider the breadth, higher the chance of catching something in the nets! But what if there is no miracle formula? What if our position today is only thanks to the legacy that history has bestowed upon us? Given a different era and a different version of this world, would women be the dominant race?
That’s a deep question to ask based on such a minuscule observation, but it could have some merit. Otherwise, what’s the point of defining theories such as the Butterfly Effect?
But all said and done, maybe my base observation itself is wrong. I have probably just been around guys who engage in deep chaotic conversations! And I make no claims regarding the global significance of this observation either!
EVEN if I go out on a limb to convince myself of the accuracy of this observation, there’s a possibility of one in a million that it ACTUALLY ends up impacting something significantly in the future! And since there are so many ifs and buts to this whole debate, why must I break the trend instantly?
I am perfectly happy to continue these erratic conversations for now, because I am getting SOME stuff done, and the world’s got no complaints about it! So, here’s a message to all the guys out there –
Stick to your unique way of communicating with each other, else you’d probably deprive the world of blog posts like these!