As a devotee of Seinfeld during the show’s 180-episode run during its nine seasons from the late 1980s through most of the ‘90s, I remember most of the episodes’ openings, which feature Jerry in a nightclub setting doing his standup. In one of those openings, the routine focuses on the difference between how men watch TV and how women watch, depending upon who controls the remote.
Seinfeld portrayed the typical male as someone constantly clicking to the next channel after barely watching a few seconds of what was on the previous channel. However, women with remotes spend time with a channel to find out more about what the programming has to offer. Seinfeld went on to say that mirrors the basic difference between the genders. While women are naturally nesters, men are hunters searching for their next saber-toothed tiger.
I rarely pass on watching a rerun of the show and often marvel that what I see in my day-to-day mirrors a Seinfeld scene. As for the nesters and hunters, well, I see examples of this gender difference all the time.
One example happens a few times every month during my work weeks. Following my first-half-of-the-day housekeeping inspections and time for a little lunch, I’ll find eating establishments that I know have guest WiFi and don’t mind my working during lunch and a couple hours after in exchange for my patronage. Since my lunches are rarely before 1:30 or 2 p.m., I’m not really tying up a server’s table.
As for how the above scenario relates to the nesting tendencies of the fairer sex, in the 17 years I’ve been doing this job following my teaching days, while traveling large swaths of Ohio and Indiana, and in a variety of restaurants, I’ve seen women who meet for lunch stay for incredible amounts of time socializing after the food has already been consumed.
One recent example was at Ruby Tuesday in Troy. I always sit in the bar area at a table right below an outlet, always important when there’s work on the iPad to do. There were two ladies at the table directly in front of me when I arrived around half past one. And as I walked by the table, I noted they’d finished their lunches already. By the time I’d ordered, eaten, finished two cleaning-inspection reports, sent some work-related emails and made a couple hotel reservations, the time had crept past four. Packing up my things, I got up, slung my work bag over my shoulder and walked by the SAME two ladies still deeply engrossed in a conversation punctuated by frequent bursts of laughter.
As for men, well, unless there’s a big game on and beer involved, there’s no way any of us are sitting that long.
In another example of women’s inclination to nest, I’ve noticed with both one of my daughters and with my Lady Jane that despite their generational divide, they still frequently communicate with their former collegiate roomies, on occasion, even traveling miles and miles to see them.
Although I don’t want to paint with too broad a brush and say that no dudes have done likewise, I don’t know many who have, including me. Despite the very close bonds I formed with so many, especially my Sigma Phi Epsilon mates during my Miami University days, we all simply never stopped hunting long enough to do so.
Once I joined that septuagenarian club and began to experience a heightened longing for the past, I occasionally started doing something I rarely do, which is hopping on Facebook to look for some of my former Oxford besties.
I found two and messaged them, giving them my email and encouraging them to email me and share some of the highlights of the impossible half-century gone since our shared youthful shenanigans. While both did respond one time with a short “Hi, good to hear from you,” that was it. My rather lengthy return emails were months ago and have gone unanswered.
Yes, indeed, the hunting expeditions for guys seem never-ending, a difference between the sexes. When it comes to an awareness of the need to slow down, to honor the past, especially the past shared with those with whom there were strong bonds established, perhaps it’s indeed those fairer-sex nesters who truly get the essential “it” in life, as in taking more time to appreciate the moment.
John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News, a freelance writer and editor and the author of two books. Reach him at [email protected]