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Janice Wells: It's a macho thing

A man wouldn't ask a man for directions. I don't know what the stats are on Siri, but I'll bet men don't ask her for directions nearly as often as women do even though women don't need her as much as men.
A man wouldn't ask a man for directions. I don't know what the stats are on Siri, but I'll bet men don't ask her for directions nearly as often as women do even though women don't need her as much as men. - 123RF Stock Photo

I told Janine what I was writing about this week and she said she’d heard someone talking about the very same thing recently.

I did not. These are my original thoughts but in retrospect, how could women all over the place not have thought and probably remarked on the very same thing?

I’m talking about Siri and Alexis. Now there’s Brenda. They are all female. (Do you know about Brenda? I didn’t until this week, and that’s what got me on this track. Brenda is the voice of a home security system.)

I have never talked to either one of them, so maybe I’ve got this wrong but isn’t it Siri’s main job to give directions on how to get somewhere when you’re driving? Siri being made a woman was a no-brainer for whoever thought her up. What woman would think a man knew about directions? A man wouldn’t ask a man for directions. I don’t know what the stats are on Siri, but I’ll bet men don’t ask her for directions nearly as often as women do even though women don’t need her as much as men.

Brenda isn’t about travel directions, but as it is also a documented fact that men resist reading an instructional manual when they don’t know how to do something, until they have totally screwed things up, and by then sometimes it’s too late for the instruction manual so “Brenda’s” voice was probably chosen instead of “Brendan’s” to make you feel more secure that your security system is hooked up right and working.

There are DNA theories for this. My personal favourites are: a) millions of sperms get lost and never make it to the egg because they are not programmed to ask directions, and b) men think of themselves like spawning salmon and therefore believe they should instinctively know where they’re going and would sooner die like a lost salmon than admit they don’t.

These facts about men are not false news. Or even fallacies. I know that because I looked it up. I did not ask Alexis. I looked it up the old-fashioned way, online. Ha ha. (Can Google be destined to go the way of the encyclopedia?) Gaad.

I googled “why men don’t like asking for directions?” and got 48,300 results. I also found out that Siri can do a lot more than give directions, which goes to show how much I know.

Sorry. I went off track there; back to men not liking to admit they’re lost. There are DNA theories for this. My personal favourites are: a) millions of sperms get lost and never make it to the egg because they are not programmed to ask directions, and b) men think of themselves like spawning salmon and therefore believe they should instinctively know where they’re going and would sooner die like a lost salmon than admit they don’t.

The bottom line is it’s a macho thing. Admitting they’re lost or need a manual makes men feel incompetent, which makes them fear ridicule, so they’d rather pretend they can figure it out, even though some of them don’t even ask Siri because they don’t know how.

Newman and I got lost once on the back roads of farming country in Maine. It was 4:30 on a hot afternoon. We were so close to our motel I could feel the pool and taste the long cool gin and tonic, when I spied a sign saying “vineyard and wine tasting, five minutes down the road.”

I knew we’d gone wrong after 10 minutes. Did we ask for directions? Like ducks. Two hours of empty dusty roads later we saw a farmer coming towards us on a tractor. Newman didn’t like the idea of making a farmer turn his tractor off and on again (!?) to ask directions but I threatened to throw myself under the tractor if he didn’t, so he did and we were so far out of our way on a rabbit warren of roads that the best the farmer could do was point us in the general direction.

I can’t remember how much longer it took us or if we were still talking to each other when we finally saw the lights of town. We never did see the vineyard first or last.

I’m one to talk. I ask directions and then turn left instead of right. I read the manuals on putting stuff together and then ask one of my daughters to do it.

They can both assemble a barbeque. With no screws left over. They read the manual.

Janice Wells lives in St. John’s. She can be reached at janicew@nf.sympatico.ca.

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