Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Devil's in the Details

A woman isn't happy until the room is complete

As a single, young man, moving into a place is simple: underwear placed neatly in a pile in one corner, pants in another corner pile, and shirts pitched into the closet, pending procurement of hangers at some indeterminate point in time. Furniture arrangement is a simple matter of setting up the chair to provide a clear path to the refrigerator while offering an unobstructed view of the television. If any thought at all is given to decoration, it is where best to stack the empty beer cans to form a pyramid.

Things change for a male when he assumes the role of a “not-really-significant-but-kind-of-important other.” As a general rule, women harbor a much less laid back outlook on moving into new living quarters. Women have rules for such things. They want things not only placed neatly, they want things to look nice when the dust settles. Men move with pickups. Women move with an agendas.

Upon setting down the final box, piece of furniture, or whatever, at a new place the guy is done with the move. In his opinion the job is complete, and it’s time to kick back and relax. The gal is just getting wound up.

Man thought: Not tidy, but sorta functional
“Don’t sit in that recliner. It doesn’t go there.”

“Where does it go?”

“I’m not sure yet… but definitely not there.”

“Mind if I sit on the couch?”

“No, but move it over where the recliner is first, and move the recliner over where the couch is now, and put the coffee table in front of the couch, and the end table next to the recline, and put the overstuffed chair on the other side of the end table. But before that, we need to lay down the area rug.”

The placement of furniture is like a ballet. Let’s call it “Swap Lake.” There is constant flittering and shuffling about until somebody lays down to die of exhaustion. But not until the woman decides the area rug should be oriented in a different direction.

From the man’s perspective the job is done when the furniture is re-arranged for the final time. Stuff will find its way to the walls, shelves and window sills all in good time. Men see that portion of a move as an evolutionary process, one that could take eons. Women, however, are creationists: from out of chaos arises order in a one day timeframe.

Order from chaos
“Okay. Let’s hang the pictures.”

“What? Let’s take some time to think about this.”

“I don’t need to. I knew exactly where I wanted what, when we first looked at this place.”

No explanation is offered as to how, exactly, that could possibly be the case, since it took several exhausting iterations of furniture arrangement before those things were placed correctly.

“Okay, but once the living room and bedroom are done, so am I. I’ll take care of the office at my pace, and you can tackle the sewing room at yours.”

 “That’s fine. Just keep your door closed.”
 For my part, I’m glad the office has a door for a sign: "Work in Progress! Stand back and watch us evolve!"
Neatly hung pictures in the hall = woman.  Stuff that will migrate to the walls = man.


  1. Good thing it is boys who are sleeping on the floor in there next weekend. They'll understand and step around it all. :)