Men vs Women | Crossing the Divide


Let’s Talk Opinion in conversation with OM

I was rather surprised to discover today that I am not a woman after all. I may look like one, but try as I much as I may, I was unable to identify with the “typical” female behaviour described by OM in his recent post about Those things women do… Perhaps it is a matter of perspective or perhaps I’ve been too busy juggling the daily challenges of existence to find time to fit into the required mould. Or perhaps… it was an accident of birth and I was allocated the wrong gender? This will not do.

Now… I know that OM’s posts are often tongue-in-cheek, so my reply ought to be allowed to be in kind. What do women do exactly? Here are OM’s findings:

They “Ask where something is before actually looking for it first.”

Yep. My grandpa used to do this a lot. Poor granny was forever searching for the things he had misplaced. Wait a moment… This does’t quite fit. I’m supposed to be searching for evidence in the women’s drawers. I’m more a woman of action myself. If something is missing, I’ll go find it. No question about it.

Need to delve deeper… Aha! Got it!

Before smart phones and map apps came to the fore, I would always ask policemen for directions. I figured that since they patrol the area, they are in a better position to tell me where things are than anyone else. I do the same when shopping in a supermarket I’m unfamiliar with. Rather than wondering aimlessly around the shop floor, I ask the nearest assistant to help me find whatever it is I’m looking for.

You know what. I’ve a mind that “looking for it first” is a bit of a time-waster when it comes to both. Whether you happen to be a man or a woman, when others are in the know: ask. You are on this earth for a limited amount of time; I say you’ve got better things to do than going on a wild goose chase when someone could help if only you dared request it.

Sorry, OM. Afraid you lost me on this one. It’s a rational choice issue when it comes to time and resource management, rather than gender-based preference 😉

“Upon marriage women suddenly lose the ability to reach anything above their shoulders,” says OM.  

520px-Svetlana_Podobedova_2012cIt is the greatest of burdens for husbands everywhere, reaching out for that top shelf. It’s become an endemic problem; so much so that the top reason given by men when filing for divorce in 2013 was “over-straining of wrist due to wife’s refusal to reach for anything above her shoulders.”

I was shocked to discover that the additional weight of her engagement and wedding rings did not stop weightlifting champion Svetlana Podobedova from securing a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. In fact, being in possession of a marriage certificate proved to be so unproblematic that I had to rush online to search for proof of a divorce. Surely no married woman would’ve bothered to lift that thing up when there was a husband in the stands to do it for her? Perhaps Podobedova did not hear of this rule. Must draft up an emergency letter to inform her asap!

A word of warning from, OM, so take note: “Women, if you have a husband or boyfriend that is secure enough about themselves not to care if you go out with your girlfriends all night that doesn’t mean we want to hear about the whole damn evening the next day… all day.” 

I hear you, man. I hear you. You’ve no idea how many pub night stories I’ve had to listen to in my day. This happened, then that happened, then the other. Same goes for blow-by-blow rendition of any other kind of outing. Don’t even get me started about sports.

You’re right, OM. Women do it too, but there’s a catch. That glint in the eye when we tell our story, delving for the most inconsequential of details… ever notice it? Oh. Yes. We are having a blast. I’ll let you into a secret: women don’t go on all day long about what they’ve been up to because they want to share. It’s payback for all the boring stuff we’ve had to listen to day in day out, week after week, ad nauseam.

Alright. I may have embellished a little. Ok. A LOT. No matter. You liked it enough to put a ring on it, so listening to your other half’s revelling narratives is part of the deal – no matter which side of the gender divide you find yourself on.

marriage-relationships-british-brits-cultural_traits-hints-problems-ktan373l.jpg“Be aware of how many “can you sentences” that you ask of your man each day,” advises OM.

This must be a specifically American problem. You see, us Brits have centuries of experience to draw on when it comes to our significant others’ physical ability. We need not ask what they can and cannot do.

We are rather big on subtext over here too. However, when there is something we need a little helping hand with “Would you be so kind as to…?” is always the question of choice. 😉

Oho. I must tread carefully when it comes to the next one. It sounds like a toe or two will be in need of bandaging any moment now: “If your husband or boyfriend does the dishes or laundry try not to complain. If your significant other does the cleaning ALL THE TIME, just keep your damn mouth shut period!”

You heard him, ladies. Let’s keep calm and carry on. We are all aware that the division of labour when it comes to household tasks has been rather hard on men over the years. Just think of what they have to deal with on a daily basis. They wake up early in the morning, make breakfast to give you that extra half hour in bed, get the kids ready, have to do the school run before rushing off to work, and it does’t stop there. Once at work, there is the matter of all those women colleagues having an easier go of it when it comes to high pay and promotion, so you understand why at the end of the day they might be unable to be as attentive when sweeping floors, washing dishes, polishing the silver and so on.

Give them a break. It’s not easy juggling a career, kinds and being a domestic goddess on top of all that. Sorry, domestic god.  I meant to say domestic god.

Make sure to let “your man” know that you appreciate all their hard work. And if your whites turn pink every now and then because he accidentally put a red sock in the washing machine, just shrug and smile. We like pink, don’t we?

In fact, go one step further and buy them something pretty to say thank you. OM is quite right: “These are tough economic times women” and certainly we should’t “get angry at your husband for actually not getting you a gift.” Instead, I think we should focus on what we can do to make them feel the love. We just don’t take the time to make romantic gestures these days. Some men pretend that they would rather get tickets to a football match than receive flowers, but we all know that’s not true.

When it comes to OM’s next piece of advice I have to say I’m at a disadvantage. Jealousy is something I am utterly unfamiliar with. As a writer too, it makes life rather difficult. I have to add it to my list of things to research, rather like a sociopath having to learn how normal human beings react emotionally to a situation. But I’m getting ahead of myself. You must have OM’s take on this first:

“If you are the jealous type of women than understand that about yourself and try to think rationally. This is hard, I know, but before you snap at your husband or boyfriend for looking at the chest of the waitress stop and ask yourself this, “was he may be reading her name tag?””

You see my problem now? I am not the jealous type. If my husband looks at another woman’s chest, chances are it’s because I’ve made a comment about it first and he’s inspecting the supporting evidence. Or unsupported – as the case may be.

I am also yet to find myself in a situation where rational thought eludes me. Although I have to say that my interlocutor underestimates the value of an emotional response: at least you can be certain that you haven’t married a sociopath, and that’s something in this day and age. Have you seen the news lately? Domestic homicide is on the rise.

And this bring’s us nicely to OM’s last point: “Women seem to love social drama. They watch it on TV and chatter about it with their friends. Suddenly a “friend’s” relationship problem is your own because you decided to reexamine your own partner due to your friend’s current drama. That is insane.” 

Ahem. I’m yet to come across a woman who does that, although if OM says they exist it must be so. In the absence of personal experience in this case, I will have to ask you, dear readers, to share you own, if you would be so kind.

What is the one thing you want the woman or man in your life to stop doing? 

Related Articles: On women being crazy and You Are Not White Enough!


Let’sTalk Opinion posts engage with issues that are important to other bloggers, connecting with others on matters close to their heart. If you like a topic and would like to contribute, please feel free to add to the comment box, reblog, share, email or message me on Twitter @shardsofsilence.

Or if you happen to be a fellow Hogwartsian send me a letter by owl. ;)


My fourth contribution to HarsH ReaLiTy is somewhat of a departure from the rule. It is a snapshot into the inner world of a woman whose life is falling apart, and who slowly, but surely descends into madness. She thinks that what’s at stake is her marriage, her life as she knows it. But what she does not yet realise, is that in delaying her decision, she risks losing her sanity.


PROJECT R : A Recipe for Marital Bliss

The Don’t Be that Dude! re-blog, received some criticism due to its failure to acknowledge that there are indeed many males (academic and not) who are doing there best to get it right.

I promised to redress the balance, and what better way than to share with you a link to the blog of one of these men who is not only trying, but getting it right (or so I shall maintain until there is clear spouse-given-evidence to the contrary).

Whilst our adult selves know full well that marriage is seldom followed by the effortless “happily ever after” that fairy tales would have us believe, it is often less clear what could be done to ensure that at least some semblance of contentment is reached and maintained post certificate signing.

Terry McGlynn, Small Pond Science ecologist, proud father and husband, attempts to demystify the working-couple life-balance fandango. It’s a great read, ladies and gentlemen. I’ve already made my list of DOs and DON’Ts. Just sharing the love…

…in the hope that it will help avoid the Desperate Housewife scenario pictured below.

Happily never after…

For the controversial (?) Don’t be That Dude! article you can follow the link below. Incidentally, it has this article embedded as a link under point number 9.Take an equal share in housework and childcare duties at home.

Because you’re worth it.

This is PROJECT R: Relationship Interrupted.

On a vicbriggs blog-screen near you from the 14th to the 31st of October

Single and fabulous? Married and happily ever after? Neither? That’s ok. Have your say anyway!

Why? Because a friend needs me, and I need you. All I can do is be there for them and come up with ways to help.

How? Just follow the link below and answer eight questions about relationships or lack thereof, love and fulfilment, failure and success, flaws and accomplishments, and soul-mates. .

There is no right or wrong way to approach this. Your way is the right way. It is up to you whether your answer is prose or verse, stream of consciousness or iambic pentameter.

 Please send your contribution for PROJECT R to:

The deadline for submissions is Sunday, the 13th of October.

All for a good cause.



Project R’s “they” section was inspired by Lucia Lorenzi’s On Being Alone: Rethinking the Single Life. To read her post, follow this link: It is a beautifully written and insightful piece. Perhaps it may help you with your own.

Project R is also somewhat of a nod and wink to AOpinionatedMan’s Project O, a project on Opinion hosted on his blog during September. Follow this link to view contributions to this project:

Danger! Danger! High Voltage!!!


There are (un)expected side-effects to writing about Benedict Cumberbatch…

A little over a decade since I’ve been an adolescent myself, I am suddenly overrun by the libido of a teenage boy. And I miss my husband so damned much.

Writing this Saturday’s post transported me back to that day in December. It’s been two years, and yet… My every sense augmented; my vision, hearing, sense of smell, taste – all amplified a hundred fold.  But nothing was thunderstruck by this stepping back in time as much as my sense of touch.

The Athenian heat burst with textures calling out to me.

I walked around in a daze… my eyes unable to find repose, my fingertips tingling electrified.

The Acropolis museum, filled with so many treasures, did nothing to alter this need to reach out. I had to restrain myself from stepping too near. Marble faces watched me as I walked past, on tiptoes, foot resting against a leg in a dancer’s pose when I stopped to return their gaze. “You can see,” they whispered, “you can see, but you cannot touch.”

In the evening I walked around the National Garden, the Athenian sun turning leaves to amber. I closed my eyes and walked blind awhile, feeling the wind caress my cheek. I breathed in the earthy scent; down an alley it was peppery cool, down another it had a honeysuckle sweetness to it. I could almost taste it. My hands reached out and caressed the coniferous spike of trees as I passed them by. Branches and leaves all greeted the stroke of my palm. Then the long-awaited discovery finally made: a whirling covering of grass.

I took off my sandals and stepped in, my toes working their way into the greensward. Like a child. So much happiness. I could explode for the love of it. I let myself fall on my back in the lap of the meadow, eyes closed, inhaling deeply so that the moment might stay with me a little longer. “Come back. Come back to me…” The world moved, transformed and transported me elsewhere with that one change of perspective.

How can I ever contain it? I’ve never struggled so much to step back into the mundane as I have today…


Your time to journey back again? See whether these help you along the way…

6. Truth stranger than fiction… #BenedictCumberbatch, for you to no longer doubt that the story of my meeting Benedict Cumberbatch can be an essay on time and the meaning of life.

And for more on Benedict, if he’s taken your fancy… In the order of appearance:

1.  I don’t fancy Benedict Cumberbatch. Daily Prompt: Pants on Fire or the confession that started it all.

2. Sex with you-know-who will steam up your windows. Beware!

3. COMING SOON… a snippet of Cumberthings yet to come.

4. The Batch on Sunday Interviews vicbriggs on working with #BenedictCumberbatch and life after Sex with you-know-who.

5. Midnight Snog – the sequel to Sex with you-know-who is finally out.

Warm regards from vicbriggs, with a twin-twist on the weekly challenge and prompt below:

Sex with you-know-who


There is a time in the evening when the light acquires a bluish hue. It falls in amongst the shadows. It lowers itself into the hollows of the space around you in a dream-like sequence.

Bodies lose their concealments as one by one the fabrics fall to the floor. The skin glows in the refracted grace of the arriving night. The air attains a heavier quality and it becomes difficult to breathe. Reason loses ground as passion surges forth.

The cheek blushes with the warmth of the lover’s gasp. Softened lips caress a dimple, the nape of the neck, the small of the shoulder. Fingers search the contours of the other underneath the sheets, caressing a forearm, an inner thigh, the back of a knee.

I breathed in the unfamiliar scent of his body, his ice-grey eyes fixed on me. My traitorous mind transported me back to eyes of a different hue… gaze held firmly as he half-whispered “I love you. Marry me.”

And then it hits me.

This is not my husband! What the hell am I doing? How am I ever going to tell him that I slept with Benedict Cumberbatch?!

I kept silent and looked away. It was too late. We were past the time when we were about to do it, to the very middle of doing it.

I could smell the danger. I moved into uncertain territory. His smile was soft, his lips just parted…

Don’t. Don’t! Don’t!!

It’s too late. There’s nothing I can do about it now. And it got worse. Much worse.

Who could’ve ever guessed that sex with the Sun’s Sexiest Man Alive would fail to deliver on that title’s promise? Let’s not beat around the bush here. It was crap. And whatever of it wasn’t, I was too guilt ridden to enjoy.

I wake up with a gasp. I do not stay half-awake in slumber, enjoying the warmth of the morning. My eyelids are propelled open. I feel nothing but panic. How am I going to tell him?


An arm stretches out and catches my waist. I look sideways.

Ben needs to understand this is a one off.

But… it’s not… I’m at home. In my bed. With my husband. Wrecked marriage averted. I breathe out relieved. Phew! Just a dream. Thank f*** for that.

Then it dawns on me.

Me (major angry silence): I’ve just cheated on you with the Cumberbatch.

Him: Mmm?

Me: In my dream. Big massive sex scene. Slow motion and everything.

Him: How was it?

Me: Rubbish. He was absolute crap.

Him (laughs, pleased with himself): Knew it!

Me: (little angry silence, then): It’s all your fault, you know.

Him: Mmm?

Me: You got into my head. If I didn’t remember I was married half way through, it might’ve been passable. You’ve ruined my sex dream.

Him (Leaps over and pins me to the cushions): Know what will make you feel better about it?

Me (expectant): What?

Him: Make me a cup of tea.

Me (angry and bemused): That’s what I get for being married to a Scot: bad-dream-sex with Cumberbatch and a stringent daily tea-making rota.

Him: Alright TeaRex. Let’s see what we can do about that.

Sex scene. Take two. (As if! Curtains down for that one, I’m afraid. Let your imagination run wild, if you will.)