Friday, May 26, 2006

Women are from Mercury and men are from Pluto

Editor's Note: I am a member of Toastmasters, an international speaking club. I've been in three clubs so far since 1997 and I am working towards the highest designation you can earn, the Distinguished Toastmaster. Currently I am an Advanced Toastmaster - Silver, and I am almost done with my Advanced Toastmaster - Gold. What you are about to read is from an advanced speech I gave today. It is from the Professional Speakers program and is meant to be an entertaining speech. I hope you enjoy it!

John Grey, the famous author of "Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus" made great strides in the male to female relationship realm and much of what he said makes sense. However, I think that, while he got a good start, he got it wrong. Venus and Mars are only two planets apart. If you ask me, he didn't make the chasm wide enough! The truth, my friends, is that women are from Mercury and Men are from Pluto. I have proof. It all comes down to the facts of territory, temperature and time.

When a man marries a woman, they become one. The trouble starts when they try to decide which one. It doesn't take much to figure it out, though - just the powers of observation. I know as I explain this that you will think I am just supporting a stereotype. Maybe I am. You see, stereotypes exist for a reason - because they are true. No one would make joke after joke about Imelda Marcos' shoes if there weren't a gazillion other women out there storing shoes in every unseen corner of the home, relying on her significant other to look at her feet and say "oh, black shoes" instead of differentiating between the black pumps with the bows, the black slingbacks and the black mules.

So, for the next few minutes I would like you to step out of the socially acceptable politically correct mindset and instead, step into my marriage. I am a true Mercurian and my husband the ultimate Plutonian.

When I say that women are from Mercury and Men are from Pluto, my first reason is the temperature of the respective planets. You see, being so close to the sun, the average daytime temperature of Mercury is about 350 degrees. That sounds about perfect to me. If I were on Mercury, I might finally feel warm! I don't know why, but I am always, always cold. I've lost a lot of weight and since that 100 or so pounds went away, it seems that I cannot get warm to save my life. I am always cold; cold to the point that, if the maracas were missing, you could use my chattering teeth to keep time. Actually, I'm so cold, normally, that my husband would tell you that I am devoid of life. He seems to think that I am a cadaver walking around; something akin to a modern day "Stepford Wife". And there is the distinct possibility that he is correct.

I have become a heat-seeking missile of sorts, looking for sources of warmth to which I might attach and leech out the heat. In the summer, when we are lucky enough to have 95 degree days, all my friends are rushing indoors to the air conditioned comfort of the office while I can be found outside, cheerfully warming myself on a rock. I type for a living and I find that if I stay in the air-conditioning too long, I work up a wind chill on my hands.

It's sad, really. The other day Champs and I were at a band tournament. There were stage lights, food prep machines and over 200 bodies all working together to make the club warm. Of course, they had to turn the air conditioning on. While no one else was even aware of it, the vent some 20-odd feet away from me soon had me shivering miserably. I leaned forward and placed my hands on Champ's thighs. I could feel his warmth - but he could feel my cold through the denim of his jeans! He looked at me in shock and even over the loud rock music, I could hear him exclaim, "good god woman, are you even alive?!?" When I get cold, my skin pebbles with goose flesh so badly that I look like a freshly plucked chicken. Just dip me in 11 secret herbs and spices and fry me up.


Champs, on the other hand, likes it cool. He would flourish on Pluto. The temperature there is about minus 350 degrees. Just think, permanent air conditioning and you don't even need to have a saver's switch installed to keep the cost down. In winter, Champs sleeps in his underwear only, a stark contrast to my full-on flannel. He is like a furnace putting out an extra 1500 BTU's per hour and I am powerless against the lure of free heat. He finally found a way to keep my cold feet off him at night when he bought me an electric blanket and started "pre-heating" my side of the bed each night. It worked, too. See, all winter long when I got into bed, I would luxuriate in the warmth of my 2 foot wide heated "safe zone". I tried to put my feet on the back of his knees, but it meant moving out of the safe zone, so I stayed where I was. Champs still considers it the best money he's ever spent.

There's another reason that I can prove that women are from Mercury and men are from Pluto; it's a matter of territory. Just look at it's name - Mercury is the god of commerce. Um, hello? This is a guy who understands a woman's prime function in life: shopping!

As the second smallest planet, it is the perfect size for shopping, and shopping is definitely part of my territory. I have a world to decorate, people! Now, like I said, I am dealing in stereotypes here, but they are stereotypes into which I fit like a glove.

I suppose there are a few women out there who don't enjoy shopping, but I have never met any of them. Food, clothes, shoes, beads, crafts; it doesn't matter. We all love and need to shop. Champs has figured this out and pretty much leaves me to my own devices. He has learned to give me a list of what he needs and then wait for me to bring it home. It is much less painful for him than going shopping with me. In fact, there are only two places that he will happily accompany me shopping: Cub Foods and Home Depot and that is only because they fit firmly into his territory.

Let's face it, men are all about the food and the tools, and when you can combine the two, you've pretty much reached nirvana. What, you don't believe me? Just watch any man grilling up brats or a steak. He is in his element. He is in his territory. It fits; Pluto is the god of the dead and the ruler of the underworld. Sounds like a dead cow sizzling over flames to me.

Not to mention, Pluto is the name of a famous dog. Doesn't every husband want a dog? Oh yeah, and then there's the spiders. Correct me if I am wrong, but it is every husband's job to kill any and every offensive bug that creeps into his territory, isn't that correct?

Yes it is.

God of the dead, I tell you.

Another thing about this territory issue is the size of the territory. Pluto is the smallest planet and Mercury is a bit larger. This is appropriate. If you look at the average house, it is clear that the woman has the larger territory. The garage? That is Champs' territory all the way - but I have the house and I mean just about all of it. Every closet, no matter whose clothes are hanging in it, is mine. The bathroom is mine. OK, yeah, you've always heard that the bathroom is the man's, but if you really think about it, the toilet is his. Everything else? My territory. Here's how it works: if I clean it or I decorate it, it's mine.

When you look at the territory of men, what one word comes to mind? Tools. Yes, tools. Home Depot is Mecca to my husband. He has a list of power tools that he needs. This is a man who really doesn't want to build anything, he just wants to know that he could be ready to do it at a moment's notice if so inspired. I didn't understand this at first.

I've come a long way in my understanding, however. When Champs first started explaining all the tools he "needed", I couldn't begin to grasp why the man would need 5 saws. A jigsaw, a handsaw, a miter saw, a reciprocating saw and a table saw. Um, isn't a saw supposed to cut? How many ways to cut are there, anyway? But then I got it; it's like shoes! Just like I could not expect one pair of shoes to meet the needs of my cute feet, Champs could not expect one saw to meet his cutting needs. And now we understand one another: I get shoes, he gets tools. The secret for us Mercurian women is to truly understand the pull of the power tool on our Plutonian men.

Case in point: This last Valentine's Day was the first time in our marriage that Champs and I had enough money to actually buy presents for one another. Since he was going to be out of town on the big day, I asked him two days earlier what he wanted to do about the holiday. I expected him to say something like leave Sweet Girl with Grandma and go out to dinner that night. But he pulled the rug out from under me. He said he already had something planned. After a bit of drilling, I found out that he had spent about $100.00 on me and I would get it when he was out of town. Auugh! I had to figure out quickly what to do for him that would equal what he was doing for me - and have it ready by the next night. It had to be loving, meaningful and above all, romantic. I could not think of even one thing that was romantic and would fit the spending limit! I thought of a bracelet I had seen at the jewelers, but I knew that, while I always think jewelry is a good gift, it would not mean much to Champs. If it were Christmas or his birthday or anytime when I didn't have to be romantic, I would have no problem; power tools all the way, man. But this was Valentine's Day! Unless Cupid uses an air-compressed bow and arrow, I couldn't see how tools would be romantic.

I polled all my friends. I was asking one friend on the elevator for her opinion when a man who was couldn't help hearing our conversation spoke up. "Go with the tools", he said. "You can't go wrong with tools". My friend nodded in agreement. Soon I was asking every guy I could find; bracelet or power sander? Without reservation, every guy said how cool a power tool would be. "But that's not romantic!" I would exclaim with dismay. One guy finally cinched it for me:
"Do you love him?"
"Does he love tools?"
"Well, yeah."
"O.K., then get him what he loves to show him your love."

With a sigh of resignation, I bought Champs a hand held screwdriver and a power palm sander. I wrote on the card "you smooth out my rough edges" (I didn't mention the screwdriver since that pun would have been a little over the top). He loved it! Funny me, I thought the dozen roses he had delivered to my office were pretty romantic, but to him, that was romance. Go figure.

Now, if you still need proof that women are from Mercury and men are from Pluto, all you need to do is consider the element of time. Did you know that a year on Mercury is only 88 days long, but a full day (from sunset to sunrise) takes 176 days? How typical is that, ladies? Your day is ALWAYS longer than your year!

Not only that, but of all nine planets, Pluto is the only one that doesn't orbit around the Sun in an orderly fashion. Pluto orbits the Sun on a different plane than the other eight planets, going over them and below them. While all the other planets are going around in an orderly circle, Pluto has this elliptical orbit, where it goes around the sun in an oval shape so that it can quickly run ahead of its neighbor, Neptune, every hundred years or so and try to get there quicker. Now, I ask you: Won't ask for directions or follow the map and is always trying to get there quicker... Who does that sound like? I'm telling you, men really are from Pluto!

It has been said that too many couples marry for better or for worse but not for good. You can be married for good. All it takes is a true understanding of the unique traits of the man and the woman in the marriage. I mean, women may be from Mercury and Men may be from Pluto, but thank God we are at least in the same solar system!

Here are some comments from this post:
Mom Nancy said...
That's an amazing essay. YOu should send it to a woman's magazine or something!

princssis said...
OK. How in the WORLD do you come up with this stuff? Either you have a very vivid imagination or you do a lot of research before blogging!
I had to laugh about the "Pluto is the god of the dead and the ruler of the underworld. Sounds like a dead cow sizzling over flames to me." However, I have to disagree with you about the spiders. I am the spider killer in our household! Who would've thought a 6 foot tall man would shudder when a spider is in sight and call for his wife to kill it!? Ahem. HERE!

kenju said...
I have decided that men will not ever understand women in the same way that women understand men. Mine wouldn't know a tool if it bit him, so that doesn't work as a gift in our family....LOL

Geekwif said...
You're too too funny. Good speech. I hope your fellow TMers loved it.

Shannin said...
Very, very funny... I may have to print this out for my husband, although he's not a tool guy (deathly afraid of anything that has to be plugged in - some deep, dark trauma from his childhood I think).

Guppyman said...
Tools are ALWAYS good. And you should have gone with the screwdriver pun.... that's always good too.
Oh, and by the way... I actually use my garage full of tools.... Most women I see NEVER wear half the shoes they own.

princssis said...
Oh, I see you added the editor's note! That 'splains all the "research". You changed it a little, too, didn't you?
It's still very good!

Blond Girl said...
Very observant, Princssis; not on the "editor's note" - that's pretty big, but on the other changes. Yes, I added some things from the actual speech that got some good laughs as well as edited out some little problems that I created by cutting and pasting from Word.
I'm so glad you liked it! Now I just need to get my butt in gear and write another post....

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