Catch a guy at a diner (count pick up trucks in the parking lot to figure out how many north country dudes are working on their third cups of coffee inside) or at a home renovation site (table saw on the porch, lumber piled in the yard, hammers and multiple tape measures spilling out of tool boxes) or browsing the latest models at a tractor supplier or chain saw store, and what will you get? A guy who wants to talk. Trust me, they may wait quietly, if not patiently, in the car as the gal goes shopping, but ask them about the new backhoe a neighbor bought or the pros and cons of shingle vs. metal roofing, and they are off and running. Guys talk more than gals, you just have to start up their engines on the right topics.
We gals, on the other hand, keep the social network alive through finely tuned–and usually terse–catch up conversations held on the run in the vegetable aisle at the grocery store or waiting on line at the bank. We may not have seen Mable in months, but after five minutes we will have detailed information to share at the dinner table about where her kids are attending college, which mutual friend(s) died, and where she plans to move after retirement. What we won’t know is how her husband Joe likes his new Ford pick up–you guys will have to find that out for yourself.
The women of the north country–collectively–have a real talent for finding anything or anyone: someone to cut your hair, or your lawn; the lowest price on fall bulbs or the widest variety of spring plants for the garden; we know which schools have the strongest arts and music programs and when Willie Nelson or Wynton Marsalis is performing within a 100-mile radius; we know how to rent, borrow or barter for just about anything; and, using the gal grapevine, we’ll find the best plumber or electrician (only, of course, after the guy says he just can’t get to the job).
Yes, you’ll find the gals in book clubs–allegedly discussing a top NY Times tome, but managing to fill in those social network details at the same time, and attending yoga classes or joining running and walking groups. No, we long ago stopped inviting you guys to join us. Heck, we’re doing well if we can get the dude to the Willie concert–which usually involves suggesting dinner at the Asian Buffet beforehand.
Sound retro sexist? Naw. I’m not sure about the Venus vs. Mars thing, but I’m pretty sure women and men are compatible if different species–buffet grazers vs. meat and potato lovers. It’s all good. I don’t want the guy breathing down my neck in the grocery store–and I know he doesn’t want me in the hardware store browsing the novelty keyring section at the register.
Hey, Dale, where do you buy sunglasses in the winter?