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.
27 thoughts on “Call Me Martian, Call Me Venusian, Just Don’t Call Me Shedless”
My husband and I break all stereotypes, so I never bothered reading that book (I’m in charge of the home electronics; I need my space–or “she shed” as you mention; I don’t like to chit chat, and so on). That being said, everytime I set up a personal space in my home, it’s soon conquered by the three males in my home. A while back I said “enough is enough,” and I reclaimed the office that was originally mine (I wrote a blog post on it). I am in a better place creatively since I reclaimed my space. Or at least I like to think so…
You don’t like to chit chat? Fantastic, neither do I! I’m glad you’ve reclaimed your space… I think its important to have your surroundings as you want them and leave them to be able to creative effectively. I have always regarded myself as more Martian than Venusian and since writing that post have concluded that I haven’t really embraced my Venusian side. I,ve never really done “girly” and I don’t think I would know how. I’d love it if you posted a link to your office blog post here.
Yes, “girly” certainly does not describe me. Then again, “manly” doesn’t either. 😉
Here’s the link to the post I wrote on reclaiming my space: http://carrierubin.com/2012/04/05/its-all-about-the-view/ Thanks for asking for it. 🙂
I love your search so far! I do have a space, when we moved into our home here I claimed one of the bedrooms as “my” room. I set up my easel, my desk and put my sewing machine in it. I love this space. Unfortunately…. my dear hubby now has a box of camping gear in it along with an old bicycle that wouldn’t fit into his garage project, yet. My easel is folded up and I am determined to reclaim my own ‘she shed’ . Great name and great post. It is good to read your posts. DAF
You go and reclaim that space, DAF. It sounds too precious to let the Martians infiltrate. They always do it incrementaly, one day it’s camping gear, the next it will be a car engine :). And thanks for the feedback as always.
😉 , ❤ this comment!
I love the first “she shed” minus the cat. She Sheds should be a mandatory fixture in every home, especially after the age of forty, but sooner if you live in a male dominated house. As far as the book goes, I never read it however, there have been time when I thought “I could really use someone from my own planet who understands” there is logic in it I swear!
Tales from the Crypt will have nothing on Stories From The She Shed.
I would lose the cat too. My youngest would say the kitchen is my she shed since “whenever you are home, mum you are always in there”. Out of the mouths of just past babes! My kitchen could never be my she shed. As for Stories from the She Shed, watch this space…:)
Judy, this was an awesome post! She Shed? Kudos to you for giving it the name it deserves. Hopefully you’ll have found a suitable one by spring. Keep searching my friend.
My “She Shed” (place of inspiration) is not really a shed or room. I’d have to say it’s the long boardwalk along the lake near where I live. It’s my “thinking spot” if you will.
Sounds beautiful, Lee. Like you, I find water inspirational. I’m glad you’ve got the space for doing some quality thinking. Sometimes that’s all we need.
I have to have my space, and for the last 10 years, have not had to share my space with any other human. If I decided to, it would be in a very large space with built in “she shed” or I wouldn’t be able to function! We are all indeed mixtures of feminine and masculine energy, but in order to maintain the balance, I have to have my space.
A Venusian who sees the need for space the same way :)! Maybe we could knock our heads together and come up with the perfect She Shed template that could be individually decorated to taste.
all my space is my own and I love it but sometimes I wouldn’t mind an invasion from mars
I could send you a few Martians to invade your space, but you would have to feed them for a while :). I hope there are times you enjoy your solitude.
I do … and feeding isn’t an issue am a good cook
You are too funny, but oh so real. As one of those Martians and an older one at that, I have places around our yard and house where I find respites away from it all, even if for twenty minutes. Ironically, my wife who has helped create these respites cannot enjoy them as well, as she will sit in the garden swing and see the next task and off she goes. Yet, my true man cave is when I am hiking alone with my thoughts. So, good luck on the “she-shed” which is a tongue twister when said aloud. Find whatever place that brings you closest to nirvana and relish in it. God knows we need are breaks from the rat race.
OF, you made my day with this comment for several reasons. Firtly, you were the first Martian to boldly venture forth with a comment. Kudos to you my friend. Secondy, by saying I am funny and real, you have paid me the hugest of compliments :). Funny and real is my main blog voice and if its coming through then I am ecstatic – thankyou. My hubby is the same as your wife, he relaxes by doing tasks and I can’t convince him to sometimes just breathe and be.
I love this! I was someone who rushed out to get the book when it came out…I am a little of both, but I hear you on the need for a she-cave. What I wouldn’t give for one of those most days…good luck with the search! And thanks for making me giggle remembering how obssessively I read and underlined that book! 🙂
Glad you laughed NOFTTy. If I make someone laugh, it’s a good day. You’ve just made mine better :)!
The space that is all my own is where I am right now, here in my study, or home office. But I prefer to call it my study – home office sounds too corporate. In my study I have well stocked bookshelves, a desk, and a late 1980s vintage stereo system that still sounds great, including a turntable that I still play my vinyl LPs on from time to time. There is also an LP album rack, a CD rack, cassette tape cases, my cameras, lenses and camera bag, some old photo albums, and of course, my PC, printer and scanner.
Never read the book, and like one of your earlier commenters said, my wife and I also break most of the gender stereotypes anyway. Good luck with finding your ideal she-shed, because regardless of gender or marital status, I think we all need a space that is all our own.
Is a study the same thing as a den? I now have visions of The Brady Bunch and Mike Brady’s den. Your space sounds cool – vinyl LPs, CDs and casette tapes – ahhh the memories!
There was a TV doco shown this week on just how confusing the Venus/Mars business is as they followed the career of the South African female athlete who had been banned from competing because for all intents and purposes she looked and spoke like a bloke. Apparently there is no test in the world which will adequately determine ‘femaleness”.
I (and our marriage) couldn’t survive without my shed down in the garden where I blog and have my music and a bed to sleep in if Mrs GOF wants to late-night party in the main house.
Best wishes with your search for a She-Shed.
Your set up sounds perfect! I missed the doco, but did they do a test on her chromosomes? Actually just thinking about it, that may not be determinative if she was taking male hormones.
I think the conclusion was that everyone has different proportions of ‘Mars” and ‘Venus’ in their genetics and making a decision about ‘her’ was better left in the Too Hard Basket until more definitive rules were established.
LOVE this post. I have the book but don’t recall reading all of it, even though I bought it when it came out. Maybe I didn’t finish it because shortly after bringing it home, Mars and Venus split up and I thought this hilarious.
Your search for a she shed is interesting. I especially like the one with green trim, red door and skylight. I don’t need a she shed since I have my whole house (well the downstairs part, you know).
Mars and Venus splitting up, hope nobody landed on Uranus :D! This is why I love reading you, Tess.