Part of the challenge of being retired is the amount of time a husband and wife suddenly begin spending together. Yes, at first it might seem like a wonderful blessing. After all, you’ve spent decades working for this. You’ve been eagerly anticipating this stage of life, and you wish it could last forever.

But……by the end of the second day…… reality sets in, and you realize the person sitting across the breakfast table isn’t going anywhere. And neither are their annoying quirks and habits.

Every morning they will be there. Day after day after day, after day – well, you get the idea.

So, I thought it might be helpful to take a quick look at the many differences that exist between men and women in an attempt to understand why we continue to want to be together – when, in actuality, we can’t stand to be together.

Let’s start with one simple example.

If a man has an itch, he scratches it – even in public. If a woman has an itch she goes to the mall and buys an expensive lotion to put on it until her dermatologist appointment three weeks later.

That is the battle of the sexes in a nutshell.

Men keep things simple – sometimes too simple. While women, on the other hand, like to complicate things. They try to find meaning in every little event, and they continually search for deeper truths about life, love, relationships and that itchy spot that they would never scratch in public.

The sexes view the world in completely opposite ways. They always have, and they always will. The problems come from the fact that both sides are utterly convinced that they are right, and the other side is beyond help.

However, that does not prevent women from spending inordinate amounts of time and effort in hopeless attempts to change men into useful human beings.

It can’t be done.

Men live their lives by instinct. They react. They take action. They take charge. They don’t contemplate. They don’t reflect. They don’t evaluate. They rush full speed ahead even if it’s in the wrong direction.

In stark contrast, women prefer to examine a problem so they can talk about it. They delve into the emotional aspects of the situation. They want feedback. They want to share their thoughts and feelings on the subject……Men want no part of that.

Your average male is convinced it is actually possible to think too much, and they are determined not to let it happen to them. Most of them succeed in spectacular fashion.

Women, on the other hand, prefer to consider every detail endlessly which leads to analysis paralysis. It becomes impossible to make a decision, which is bad news for the man in her life because that will necessitate her asking him for his opinion.

There is no more treacherous area a man can find himself in than when the one he loves asks his opinion about something really important to her. And the more options there are to choose from, the worse it gets. Each one increases the potential of saying the wrong thing or making the wrong choice.

Life would be so much easier if women only realized how little men cared about the color of the kitchen curtains or what her feet look like in open-toed shoes. Men have heavy burdens occupying their minds. They are not concerned with trivial female matters. They are worried sick about the Yankees starting pitching and whether or not they should trade their minor league talent for an established left-hander.

In keeping with their tendency to think as little as possible, men rarely give any consideration to their physical appearance – and it shows. They can go months without looking into a mirror. And they never, ever under any circumstances actually think about their butt.

A man can live to be ninety-five years old, and he will not have spent one second of his life considering his butt’s size, shape, contour, jiggling quality, or its ability to be stuffed into spandex. The only time that he is aware of that particular part of his body is when he reaches for his wallet or accidentally sits in something.

Women, however, are completely fixated on this aspect of their anatomy. It affects their self-esteem, their body image and, as any man can tell you, it can affect their overall mood on any given day. Why? It’s just a butt. Everyone has one. Yours is not unique. Believe me, no one really cares about the appearance of yours because they are preoccupied with the appearance of theirs.

Some women, unfortunately, let this particular aggravation get them down so they end up reaching for cookies, ice cream or chocolate which, as we all know, goes straight to the hips thereby perpetuating the never-ending struggle to look like a pampered supermodel who does not have three kids and a husband who drives her crazy.

And speaking of moods……women have countless variations, and it is an absolute delight for men to discover which particular one they are enjoying that day. Once that has been determined, men know that their best chance for survival is to immediately apologize.

Although never exactly sure what they are sorry for, they know they are in trouble for one of two reasons; either they did something they shouldn’t have, or they didn’t do something they should have. The fun lies in finding out which one it is and believe me, it is only a matter of time before they are enlightened.

But please don’t think that it is my intent to only criticize women.

Let me state as clearly as I can that men are pigs.

Of course, we know this because it is repeatedly pointed out to us by the spouses we love and cherish.

Wherever we drop something is where it stays. Why this irritates others is a complete mystery to us. Men can trim their toenails in any room in the house. What is the big frigging deal? Women love baths. The more candles and bubbles, the better. Men shower on an “as-needed basis” – often at the urging of those around them.

And because personal hygiene is an iffy proposition for the male species, it falls to the women in their lives to report to them any new disgusting physical features they may be developing……and every husband can rest assured that his wife will decide to confront that particular issue at the worst possible moment.

A woman will suddenly be overcome with the irresistible urge to trim an errant hair growing out of a man’s ear while he is driving 70 mph in heavy traffic. As he frantically swerves in and out of various lanes, trying desperately to save both their lives, his loving partner will command him to, “Sit still for God’s sake!”. A few snips later and the unsightly hair is removed. His wife is satisfied with the results, and the shaking man’s pulse rate slows to 100.

In fact, it can be said that traveling is the ultimate test of any relationship. There is something very mysterious about the movement of an automobile that makes the average female need to pee about every twenty minutes. At home, a woman can easily go four or five hours without a bathroom visit but put her in a car and it’s like opening the flood gates.

Men, however, prefer to just suffer rather than waste time stopping. No matter where they are, they are convinced they can “hold it” until the next town. This can actually go on as several state lines are crossed. For a marriage to survive for any length of time, some kind of bathroom compromise has to be reached. The human bladder cannot be used as grounds for divorce.

So, the next time you become frustrated with the opposite sex, please stop and think for a moment where you would be without them.

If you are a man, consider the following:

  • How would your clothes become clean?
  • How would the food suddenly appear at the dinner table?
  • Who would give birth to your children?
  • And who would verbally berate you when you scratch that itch in public?

If you are a woman, please consider these questions:

  • Who would repair your car?
  • Who would kill all the spiders?
  • Who would get the stuff off of the top shelf?
  • And who would notcare if your butt gets big enough to have its own zip code?

In reality, most men and women are not “Alpha Males” or “Drama Queens”. They are just ordinary human beings struggling to survive another day with each other while attempting to preserve a few shreds of dignity.

It’s easier said than done.

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