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Laverne H. Bardy Headshot

Viva La Difference

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There are those who insist that men and women are alike, but I've lived long enough to know with certainty that they are not.

To start, men and women argue differently. If a woman is angry at her girlfriend she chooses her words carefully, and bends over backwards to avoid hurting her friend's feelings. But if their argument escalates to screaming or crying, they both know, without doubt, that the relationship is over, and forgiveness is not even an option.

Men, on the other hand, become provoked into arguing at the drop of a Frito. Playful rough-housing can escalate to shoving and punches, which often leads to name calling, such as Idiot, Lame-brain, Fatso and worse. Then they sit down, throw back a few beers, watch a ball game on TV and don't even remember that only seconds ago they were fighting.

Women don't get it.

I marvel when I watch men in a restaurant. The check comes, one of them looks at it and reports the total. Then they each reach into their pocket, toss a fist full of bills onto the table, get up and leave. Not one of them pauses to see whether or not they've left too much or even enough.

Women, on the other hand, know in advance that the bill will be split evenly. When the check comes the woman with the best math skills spends fifteen minutes, with paper and pen, calculating the total, tip included, after which each woman discusses who's paying cash, who's using their credit card and who definitely doesn't mind leaving the extra nickle toward the tip.

And driving? Men get nervous every time a woman's hand leaves the wheel to apply lipstick or search for tissues in her purse. But when a man's behind the wheel, he sees nothing wrong with reaching into the back seat for a map, programing his cell phone or inspecting nose hairs in the visor mirror while traveling 75 mph on the New Jersey Turnpike.

A man will refer to a women as a pack rat because she is emotionally attached to things, such as her childhood collection of Barbie dolls, Valentines she received in grammar school and every book and magazine she's ever read. Barely a week passes without him pressing for her to get rid of her dust collectors to free up space in the house.

But a man views his own accumulation of stuff as important and necessary. He has an endless assortment of hammers, screw drivers, batteries, drill tips, and battery chargers, three shoe boxes of screws, nuts, nails and bolts, and a collection of obsolete Pac-Man, Mario Brothers and Donkey Kong video games. There's also a piece-of-junk car, on blocks, that he's going to make run again one day, and enough cardboard to house 97 homeless people on the streets of Manhattan.

A man will spend hours marveling at the wonders of his incredibly expensive, highly technical camera and gloat over its countless capabilities and the exquisitely beautiful photographs it produces. A woman will drive to the nearest market, purchase an eight dollar disposable camera, take pictures, and be perfectly happy with the results.

A man can be ready to travel even before he even knows the destination. He rolls up a pair of dress slacks, a pair of jeans, four shirts, underwear, socks, a razor and a toothbrush. He only needs the shoes he's wearing.

A woman must try on every piece of clothing in her closet to see what still fits. She feels the need to be prepared with sandals, pumps, beach shoes, walking shoes, dancing shoes, hair dryer, curling iron, underwear, a lifetime supply of hair spray, mousse, gel and makeup, a different outfit and matching sweaters for every day she'll be away. When she returns home, three quarters of what she brought with her will not have been touched.

A man and woman go on a date. At the end of the evening he says he'll call her. She thinks he means tomorrow. What he actually means is, before he dies.