Women Are From Venus, Men Are Very Frequently Wrong

Females Are RightWarning: This piece was originally supposed to go live a couple of weeks ago, but it was deemed so offensive that it would cause the Republic to collapse and I was asked for a rewrite. I reread it, of course, and it is possible that it could have been taken differently than I intended, though I didn't think anybody would get upset about the Viking thing, so what do I know? So, anyway, I think we've got it licked now and this version is more in keeping with my original intent and there shouldn't be any misunderstanding. If, however, you do feel offended, we here at D*I*Y Planner want to hear from you. Please send all complaints to our public liaison officer, Donald Rumsfeld, care of The Pentagon. When you're talking to him, ask about his new foreign policy position paper, Planning Today's Catastrophe For Tomorrow's Apocalypse. Thank you.

Greetings all, Steve here. I get no respect, none at all. As with most men, my organizational ideas are almost never given the respect and attention they deserve by some people. Let's call them our wives and girlfriends. I don't usually make gender-based stereotypical statements, but there it is. I've done it and there's no turning back now. Just as the famous book said, Men Are From Mars And Women Are Quietly Superior.

A good friend of mine, immediately after his girlfriend moved in with him, changed his MSN name to "My girlfriend loves re-arranging my life." Notice the point. In my experience, men tend to take a very direct approach to home organization, that of simply throwing things on the ground and picking them up later when they need them. Women generally don't see this as being an especially good system, but I believe that's merely because they don't understand it. They see it as proof that we are lazy, inconsiderate, irredeemable slobs, when in fact we are embracing a time-tested male organizational paradigm, known as the Category Pile System.

It works like this. You very purposefully throw everything in piles on the floor, organized by category: basically, different piles for different things. To the untrained eye, the Category Pile System may look like total chaos, but it actually contains many subtle layers. For example, there is a pile for dirty clothes and a pile for clean clothes -- for example, clothes which haven't been worn for a full day of work. But this clearly doesn't cover all possible gradations of personal filth and in between these two piles you will find a much less dense in-between layer of clothes. This in-between layer might appear to be merely a disorganized pile, when in fact it contains clothes I wore for a total of 3 1/2 hours when we went to see a chick flick and I spent the whole time thinking about Shakira.

To be fair, not all men are like this. Lots are worse. But many are better as well. I expect David Allen has his socks sub-categorized by thickness, colour, function and texture, but most men don't go in for that level of detail.

On to the Venus end of the solar system. Females, and again I'm speaking in sweeping generalities, tend to adopt a more conventional organizational system, which I have named the Put Things Where They're Supposed To Go System. For example, in our house, we use a variation of that system, called the Meghan Is Always Right Because She Says So System. The heart of this sytem, is well... you get the point. To be fair, this system works well for many people, especially if their name is Meghan, in that it results in paid bills, found clothes and organized papers, but I feel that it lacks the playful randomness of the Category Pile System. Yes, you get things done much more efficiently, but you have fewer adventures.

Now, I'm not trying to bad-mouth any one system and I certainly understand the benefits of this one. People can use any method they please and I understand that this works for many people, but it doesn't work well for me. If I put things in logical places, then I'll inevitably forget where I put them before I need them again, whereas with the Category Pile System, all my stuff gets put right there in my view, on the floor or on any other flat surface. This way, very important things get dealt with, because I trip over them.

The downfall of these fundamentally differing approaches is in understanding one another’s habits. Meghan doesn't recognize the value of my system, nor does she recognize it as a system at all and she's constantly "cleaning up" after me, undoing all my hard filing work and putting things where I'll never find them again. If I get upset about this, she tells me that she will continue to put things away and will not let me put things away myself, apparently on the theory that I might hurt myself. When I insist that I have an organizational system which works for me and give her multiple reasons to support my claim, she takes a deep breath and gives me a look meant to communicate, I assume, her disbelief that I'm able to walk upright. This seems unfair to me.

This is a symptom of a larger problem, I'm afraid. In the same way that Meghan attempts to undermine my male organizational method, she very often fails to support many of my other ideas as well. Like my organizational system, many of my creative ideas buck the system, expand far outside the box, push the boundries of common sense and, let's be fair, sometimes sanity and I get exactly the same kind of support: Zip. Nada. Bubkis.

Meghan's never supported any of my organizational ideas, or any of my ideas at all, really. She's always saying they sound crazy. Well, yeah, duh, but they're good ideas. Well, some of them. But I get no support. My idea to hang a hammock chair up in the living room ceiling? Nothing. My plan to only make the bed on special occasions, thus making climbing into a nicely-made bed a special event? She won't even let me try to make the bed anymore. Apparently I'm pitifully bad at it. My suggestion to get a studio apartment and cover the entire floor with pillows, thus making the entire floor space a potential bed (I proudly call this idea Sleeping Outside The Box)? Nope, not happening, señor. My successful attempt to graduate by accident? No help. My idea to start my own religion, one based on mutual respect and admiration for really good deluxe nachos? Zip.

It's hard being a visionary.

Until next time, keep your pen on the page and your hammock outside.

Steve Sharam

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I love reading the great entries on DIY Planner, but the preface of this entry I found just plain rude. This site is not political (to the best of my knowledge), and I think the crack about Donald Rumsfeld at the beginning went over the line. Even if you don't like certain people, I would appreciate if you left the politics at the door. All this does is turn people away from the site, and thus keeps them from the wonders of paper.

I agree

If I want to read about politics, I'll go to a politics blog (or sites such as American Papist and the Cafeteria is closed).
If I want to read about paper and productivity, I'll go to this blog.
Cheap-shots about politics are just boring.

Get a grip

To the above commentors, it's called humor, get a grip.

Actually, it's call a LAME

Actually, it's call a LAME attempt at humor. For real humor see theonion.com. They know how to do sarcasm. This essay was just pathetic.

Every Man in His Humour ...

Anonymous, I see you are a wordsmith of the highest calibre and I would be foolhardy to cross pens with you. However the word you are struggling to find is parody not sarcasm. May I suggest you ask your grade teacher to explain the difference.

Now that IS sarcasm. Lol

Have you even read

Have you even read theonion.com??? They do both sarcasm AND parody.

This was funny

I thought this article was hilarious. I always enjoy Steve's writings.

To buck the trend, even though I am a gal, my natural tendency is to use the Pile method of organization. I can almost always find what I need using this method. Every now and then, however, my feminine side takes over and balks at the piles and "disorder" and I go around filing things, straightening up, and throwing away. (Usually this only takes place when I'm about to have company.) Then I have to go hunting to try to find all the stuff I just organized... It would be much worse if someone else had done the organizing, then I'd have no clue where anything is. Ever.

I was about to send my

I was about to send my complaint off to Donald Rumsfeld but now I'm confused. You mean that was humour? (yes I am being sarcastic, or something).

I actually enjoy steve's

I actually enjoy steve's political humour, more than his recent take on sexual politics, but then than's my bias. I'm also a fan of the daily show. Sometimes you have to laugh, or you'd just cry. One writer can't please everyone, so it's a good thing there are so many different voices represented on this site. I think it's possible to block the feed on certain days if someone is very offended, or only interested in a particular writer's work.

This piece would be funnier if it weren't so painfully true. My husband has been messing with my attempts at feng shui for way to long! But his paper planner is emaculate...

Yeah, what she said...

Well, that pretty much was the sum total of my thoughts on the situation. At times like this, I remember what my old Grandad used to say. "You can't stop a galloping horse with a monkey on your back." Nobody ever really knew what the hell Grandad was talking about, a problem I seem to have inherited.

I actually never set out to offend anybody in my columns, it just seems to be a natural talent, not something I have to work at, really. Doug Johnston, chief cook and bottle washer hereabouts, is singularly paranoid about offending any one group of people, which results in copious emails, such as the following actual excerpts:

"Geez Steve, what are trying to do, offend all the Dutch-Canadian female trapeze artists?" and
"I hope you realize that our site is extremely multi-cultural and has a large following of Bosnian-Irish dyslexic agnostic transvestite insurance salesmen?"

The nice lady above is absolutely right to point out that a writer can't make everybody happy and would be foolish to try. We spend quite a while massaging my columns to try to make sure that they won't offend anybody, but I have no idea why we bother, since what we're afraid of never happens and instead people get upset about stuff we never thought about. This one, for example, gave Doug palpitations because he was afraid it would offend women, a broad demographic category and we spent nearly a month trying to make it inoffensive to women and he even brought in a female editor to make sure it was o.k, but neither I, nor she, nor he seem to have had any thought that the Rumsfeld thing would offend people. Outfits like The Onion and The Daily Show, two of my favourites, have ripped Rumsfeld up and down so often that I assumed people were numb to it by now. Go figure.

As Lily tomlin says, it's hard to be funny when you have to be clean.

Steve Sharam

there is still no reason for political cracks

Steve, I understand that you think the Daily Show is funny, but this website is not political. The Daily Show is. That seems pretty simple to me. Next time you want to make a joke, please hold the urge to make it political, or you will send more visitors away from this very helpful site.

no reason? all reasons!

I'm Italian, so maybe I don't see very deep in Steve's humour, but I think that Steve has all rights to write also his viewpoint about a politician like Rumsfeld in a message that is meant to be humorous and also a bit personal. He shares his view about men and women... and Rumsfeld, not belonging to neither of the previous categories!
I'm enthusiast about your site AND love the political humour here and there.


Bearnaked Salesmen...

Meghan, may I suggest you order a copy of "You Don't Need a Bigger Desk, That is What the Floor is For" by Annie Guru PhD. This will help you understand why Steve 'needs' you to humour his ideas. In the interim please lay a chocolate trail to where you put his clothes. The though of a naked retail assistant is too humorous even for me...:P

I enjoyed the post, but

I enjoyed the post, but people from other countries probably don't realize that we in the USA have been subjected to very divisive politics for the past 10 years or so, and anything political therefore is sensitive to many of us. Or maybe we're just neurotic.

Of course, I'm from Texas, so I've had lots of experience over the years at deflecting or dodging annoying comments.

I wonder if the persons most

I wonder if the persons most annoyed with the Rumsfeld comments were all Texans. Or perhaps Americans. At any rate, most of the world is less than enchanted with him and his pals. Jokes come just too easily--keeps us from crying.

Remember the Dixie Chicks?

Now I'm beginning to take offense, amigo! We Texans are not all conservative rednecks! Remember the Dixie Chicks?

My own favorite web page this week, for example, is very enlightened:


Meanwhile, I was taught long ago that in order for people of varied persuasions to interact happily and civilly together without violence, we should avoid three topics: religion, politics, and sex. Thus removing some of the fun from mixed gatherings, but preserving the peace and offending fewer people.

In contrast, I urge that the

In contrast, I urge that the next humor column tackle organization from the religious aspect. There would seem to be many burning topics to cover. Some examples:

Should Roman Catholics use only Roman Numerals when creating outlines?

Shouldn't Lutherans keep their To Do lists nailed to their front doors?

If you believe that All is One, isn't dividing your memoes into categories inconsistent?

Can an Orthodox jew buy a planner with a pig skin cover?

Isn't it a shocking offense to the proper modesty of women to keep the contact information of men and women in the same data base?

And so forth.

(Yes, I'm kidding. Sheesh, lighten up, people! Humor frequently comes from stretching the boundaries, questioning conventions, goring the sacred cows. Some jokes will amuse you, some won't. If you can't just shrug off an 'unfunny' joke instead of getting all outraged, maybe you'd best avoid reading anything tagged as 'humor.')

Me too

though I organize in the aforementioned piles plus many, many more. SOs (male) were sure they could change me (of course), some wondered why I wasn't more like a girl. Needless to say, they are off complaining about and trying to change other women.

I like pictures of organized objects, yet I waste half my life hunting and gathering things within my own apartment.

My solution: pay my housekeeper very, very well and do things her way. Not nearly so clever or artistic as my way, but her way keeps me sane and would permit EMTs to see me should I fall and can't get up. Bonus: she recovers my lost credit cards, money, keys, pedometers, bills, shoes, etc. She's an Emergency Home Technician, and I can never thank her enough.

In general, I don't know many women who are like the "women" men always write about, in any area of life. And I know LOTS of women of all kinds. The subconscious speaks to the subconscious, I guess.

Nevertheless, I enjoy reading about people who live in alternate universes, and two thumbs up re the Rumsfield ref, and SusanBeth is funny.

I like your system, and have

I like your system, and have to agree with you. There are as many different types of women as there are people, although we may never escape all the generalizations. Is it true that women are more sensitive to, and empowered by their environments? Some seem to think so, but maybe this is true for many men aswell. I work from home, and one of my goals is to afford a housekeeper to come in every week or so to save me a lot of time that could go towards more productive ends. The time I save should pay the housekeeper, or that's the theory.

I remember hearing a statistic on an old lux radio play segment: the average woman at the time was said to spend four years of her life washing dishes. Can you think of more productive ways to spend four years?

Creativity is often the ability to stand disorder, but only up to a point I guess. There is something to be said for the power of feng shui and an uncluttered mind...

>I remember hearing a

>I remember hearing a statistic on an old lux radio play segment: the average woman at the time was said to spend four years of her life washing dishes. Can you think of more productive ways to spend four years?

Agatha Cristie said that the best moment to think of a plot was when washing dishes... That looks like well rewarded four years.

Steve, remember when you

Steve, remember when you wondered how to make the most popular post list. Who knew that all you had to do was to become controversial...

btw. Politics aside I love the Dixie Chicks!

I've been found out!

Actually, that was my plan all along. It's the same technique I used to get my girlfriend to fall for me. I just made some negative comments about figure skating and she felt the need to follow me around and set the record straight. Eventually, all her stuff was here and my plan had come to fruition. I think on some level she knew all along...

Steve Sharam

Please do not change

Please do not become politically - or any other kind - correct. If this website loses its personality, where's the fun?

Thanks, Steve, for interjecting a little light-hearted humor here and thanks, Doug, for allowing this site to be populated with real people with varied opinions and tastes.

No problem, I'm on it!

Yeah, we're really terrific. Sometimes we're so great we almost can't stand it. Yes. Yes we are.

Steve Sharam

be heard

I'm afraid Steve that you have a "not fun" wife. But please think about this a few seconds : is your wife was throwing clothes all over the house, couldn't use correctly the washing machine (put in too much clothes and end in dirty clothes) and if you explain her for 1 YEAR why the clothes end dirty she cannot manage to get the habit to fill the machine accordingly. She has every day silly ideas and family destructive dreams. I'm sure this wife would be very happy to have a floor covered with cushions and would nod to all you funny ideas. But that wouldn't mean that she supports your good ideas, that would means that she's unreliable, and that she just find the stuff you think funny. Not that she understands you. Yeah, that's my situation.
So our common point is : we are not understood. But at least you don't have to be the one who has to explain how things could work. oh well.
YOU want your wife to understand and share your funny part of yourself, and I really understand that. The solution is suffer or make friends that listen to you and share your funny ideas and creative part of yourself. But it's with your wife you want to share so well, honestly I don't know the solution. Seems that humans lack understanding capacity and are condemned to feel somewhat alone and frustrated. hard.

feel offended

I don't think we should shut our mouth when a minority feel offended. Even if half of the population is.
That should be democracy.
If you think the quality of the article stands for DIYplanner, that should be enough maybe.
And since the personalities of the posters are clearly defined, one can avoid reading the one we don't like.
If people won't come again on the site because of ONE poster they don't like well they don't deserve attention anyway. Television and cinema have become the tool of complainers, so please try to keep in mind to avoid as much as possible to follow the same path.
Being afraid to lose some readers is the begining of the end of the soul.

Offensive? Humorous? You decide!!!

(With apologies to Abe Lincoln)

"You can offend some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time..." -- Seriously folks, this was sorta funny (I don't have a Meghan, I have a Cindy).

Lets be thankful that the site's planners are a lot more effective than the humour!

I think the writing is super

I think the writing is super funny and all the people that got offended just have no sense of humour.

Oh my gawd! Men who can't

Oh my gawd! Men who can't clean! That's freaking hilarious! Bravo for originality!

I'm having an "Old Grump" day =^)

1. The general article topic: would be funnier if the subject hadn't already been overdone by 1955. I found it to be eye-rolling and mildly irritating, but it didn't have enough substance to be "offensive".

Now, it's theoritically possible to take a topic that had already been overdone 50 years ago, and has continued to be overdone since, and do it an origional and amusing way-- but such an attempt is far, far more likely to fall flat than it is to work.

(I also have a general irritation with comedy that treats a lack of mutual respect and inability to communicate in a relationship as just-the-way-it-is, even as a lighthearted joke about a relationship that's better than it's made out to be in a post/article done for comedic efffect. But I have my own reasons for that, so I don't expect the world to cater to my preference.)

2. The political jibe: I don't like the current regeime either. However, the comment wasn't particularly witty or insightful, it just servered ro say "see, here's something we all agree on".

Now, this seems safe to you and I-- we can't see how any reasonable person could like anyone in the current administration. However, there are people out there who consider themselves reasonable and, however incomprehensively, actully do like the current administration.

I'm not going to say "leave politics out of it", because a democracy can't function if people can't talk politics civillly. However, if one is going to make a political jibe on an otherwise apolitical blog, I think it would be best to make it a comment that actually says something useful, insightful, or genuinely witty. Something that just says "here's a cheap jibe we can all agree on, before I start the main article..." isn't really useful, since it's unlikely that we ALL agree on *anything*.

3) Ugh, this post makes me sound like an old grump, doesn't it? *sigh*. Well, if one can have "bad hair days", then I declare this my "old grump day" =^)

The Odd Couple...

What an insightful post. Your criticisms are constructive and I would imagine useful to any young comedy writer. I almost feel ashamed of myself for teasing young Steve rather than trying to help him... 'Almost' being the operative word since I am an old fogey too. ;)