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August 6, 2009

A friend wrote this on her Facebook wall the other day:

“I want to know if there is a superhuman out there that is able to wash the dishes and NOT get the front of their shirt wet? If such a person exists, PLEASE share with me your secret. thank you very much…”

My answer to my five-foot tall friend, was short (no pun intended) and to the point:

“I think it has to do with height.”

This got me to thinking about perspectives – and how we all tend to view things differently. Almost every home I walk into, I find dusty shelves at my eye-level and above.  It’s not that my friends are bad housekeepers, per se, it has more to do with the height of average woman in North America.  But, there’s another factor in play here too.  Why aren’t the men in those households, who are tall enough to see these dusty surfaces, doing something about it?

I believe there are fundamental differences between men and women. Besides the very obvious, and enjoyable, sexual characteristics, men tend to be taller (on average), and women shorter.  But this only explains the first half of the equation – that is, why there is dust on top of refrigerators and bathroom cabinets.  There is another important part of this equation and that is…

[NOTE: If you are a man in a household, you may either want to stop reading here, or do everything in your power to prevent your significant other from reading the rest of this post.  You have been warned.]

Why do the taller men in a household not take care of the dust that collects above the women’s eye-level? Again, I believe there are some very basic differences in the way men and women are put together – not just their exteriors, but our brains as well.  Here are my conclusions as to why there are still dusty flat surfaces in homes with tall men in them:

1. Honestly, men just don’t notice these surfaces.

2. If they do notice, they don’t care.  Seriously, it’s just not that important.

3. There is still a serious double-standard in our society.  Even if a man doesn’t say it out loud, in his mind there is a little voice that says, “She’ll get that.”

4. If a man does notice, and he does care, he is never going to say anything about it.  One of the first rules anyone (male & female) learns in business is to never suggest something unless you’re willing to take that on.  (Of course this relates strongly with#2 above – if we care enough, we will speak up!)

5. And lastly, if a man gets past all of the issues above, and still remains clueless to the tasks that can only be seen by a person of his stature, the only thing we can pin this on is the fact that he must be lazy.  (Please note however, there is a very sharp distinction between laziness and not caring.)

6. Or he’s just in his “Nothing Box.”

The next time you think you have something all figured out, or worse, that you have another person all figured out. Stop.  Take a moment.  Think about it.  Maybe you are just seeing things from a different perspective than they are.  Maybe they have facts that you don’t have?  Maybe, just maybe, you have facts that they don’t have?  That doesn’t make them wrong and you right – or vice versa.  It just means we see things differently.

And, maybe, we’re expecting the other person to be just like us – and that would be pretty boring, don’t you think?

  1. Brandi permalink
    August 6, 2009 8:12 pm

    I don’t think the wet shirt while doing dishes has anything to do with height. Because I am average height for an American Male. Five feet nine inches. If I do dishes by hand, and I really try not to (I think that’s why God invented dishwashers!) I get all wet too! So I don’t know what the problem is….


    • Gary S. Walter, Personal permalink*
      August 6, 2009 9:15 pm

      But, um, uh… You’re not male and you’re not average.

      I stand by my original comment – if you’re 5’9″, I am 5″ taller than you. That puts the counter tops at my waistline and gives me longer arms to stand back away.

      (PS: when I was a kid, 5’10” was average. A few years ago, it was 6′ – I think it is taller now for USA men)


  2. Terre permalink
    August 6, 2009 10:29 pm

    Great blog! Forget the wet shirt… I want to know what brand of soap makes the best bubbles!

    :^ D


  3. August 7, 2009 3:51 am

    I keep the front of my shirt dry by making the teenage boy do them…

    works everytime..


  4. Jason Grigsby permalink
    August 15, 2009 3:13 pm

    Average height of men in U.S. is still 5’9″ or 5’10” depending on the study:

    From the same source:
    “Average height in the United States has remained essentially stagnant since the 1950s even as the racial and ethnic background of residents has shifted.”

    Not really the point of your post, but the comment that average height was now 6′ caught me off guard.


    • Gary S. Walter, Personal permalink*
      August 15, 2009 5:27 pm

      You mean there is something where I AM above (no pun intended) average!?

      I stand corrected.


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