In 1992 relationship counsellor, John Gray PhD, released his bestseller – Men Are from Mars, Women Are From Venus. According to its publisher, Harper Collins, the book is the all time bestseller in the hardcover non fiction category. Apparently it has sold more than 7 million copies.
I am guessing that most female humans of my vintage have read the book. For those of you who are smart younger things or who have been living under a rock, the book attempts to explain the differences in psyche between males and females and how each gender understands the behaviours and mores of its own species, but not that of the other. When the book was released it made quite a splash and his since spawned many sequels, a board game and even nutritional products under the name of Venus Calm and Mars Revive. The choice of these names is interesting… it seems that women are really stressed and men just comatose. That probably works for most households.
But back to the book! I will admit to buying and reading a copy and that my motive for doing was slightly less than pure. My thinking was that the book would surly confirm the superiority and correctness of the Venusian way of thinking whilst providing a humorously entertaining rationale for the inferiority of the Martian thought patterns. Namely, a snickerworthy book.
Within these pages I fully expected to identify the Italian Stallion’s traits as well as my own and see us emerge. I was not disappointed, emerge we did. By chapter four, I was convinced I was clearly Martian! By chapter five, I concluded that the Italian Stallion had done a tour of duty on Venus, although I will never publicly admit to thinking he was part Venusian for emasculation is never pretty. With each turn of the page, my smug Venusian superiority began to ebb. The truth is that of course each individual possess both Martian and Venusian traits.
Chapter three of the book is particularly enlightening. It deals with the concept of the “man cave”, that safe place where Martians retreat to deal with stress. Martians tend to turn inwards to deal and need space and analysis to work through problems. Even if they can’t solve their big problem, they will start by solving any problem. When they are in their cave, men tend to become preoccupied and less responsive. Venusians on the other hand want to talk about and share their problems. They are not necessarily looking for solutions, but the act of sharing itself lightens the burden.
Initially I’m Martian when it comes to problems and then I briefly turn Venusian. I need my cave or what I have now termed my “she shed” as a safe harbour to work stuff out and THEN and only THEN will I bounce my proposed solution or thinking off others. The other is usually a Venusian, but it depends on the nature of the issue. The ultimate solution is usually a meld of the “she shed” product and the post shed Venusian discussion.
The Italian Stallion’s man cave is his workshop. A truly male place where tools snuggle comfortably against each other reveling in the smell of paint and solvent. I have no similar space. I am shedless.
No matter where I lay my hat, some or other of my male folk follow. They are Martians, they are supposed to understand this! It reminds me of when the boys were toddlers, that wonderful stage when they follow you everywhere and I mean EVERYWHERE. There is no space where I can just do my own thing and leave clutter, open books, highlighters, sticky notes or whatever and no-one touches them or passes comment. I like my clutter and mess, it’s very comforting and yes folks, there is a system… one only I and perhaps a few like-minded Venusians understand, but a system nevertheless.
So, I am now searching for my she shed. Some of you no doubt will think that it won’t be long before the kids move out and I will then have too much space and quiet. Well yes… but that doesn’t negate my immediate need. Besides it’s now winter and it’s too cold to ruminate outside for long and who wants to ruminate outdoors at night anyway?
Every good modern search starts on the Internet. How about these sheds for starters?
Fear not dear readers, I will keep you updated on my search for the perfect she shed, a place to inspire my proposed series of blog posts entitled “Tales From the She Shed”. That series where I haven’t yet thought about content. In the meantime, let me reassure you with each contraction and labour pain that I’m really not a hairy dude biker with a big Adam’s apple, but rather I embrace my Martian side.
And I have the stretch marks to prove it!
Do you have a space that is all your own? If so let us know how it feels and what it looks like.