You know that line about how men can’t multi-task, but women can? Let me sweep that aside straight away. I CAN multi-task. In fact, at this very moment, as I write, I am practising the ancient Japanese art of origami with my bare feet under the desk.
Well, actually I’m not. But I’m pretty sure that if I applied myself, I could turn out plenty of paper swans and seabirds, and toe-flick them nonchalantly onto the carpet while disgorging reams of deathless prose into cyber-space.
There is one little problem for us men, however. It is sometimes referred to as the “guy look”. That’s when we men can’t seem to find things in the house, even though they are perfectly evident to our spouses. Like this:
“Darling, where have you put the new jar of mayonnaise?”
“It’s in the cupboard over the fridge.”
“No, it isn’t.” (said patiently)
“It’s right in front of your eyes.”
“No, it’s not.” (less patiently)
Deep sigh, heard all the way from the living room. She arrives, striding self-righteously, and picks up the jar of mayonnaise from beneath his eyes. Arched eyebrows form a look of triumph.
“Well, they’ve changed the jar. The top used to be red, not blue.”
I have identified the problem. You may use the solution freely. We men do not so much look at things as scan them. We have a mental image of what a jar of mayonnaise looks like, and we discard all other objects as irrelevant. This was probably useful when we were hunter-gatherers, looking for a juicy buffalo for dinner. When hunting like that, we probably wouldn’t have noticed a Volkswagen if it rolled past us on the steppes.
So let her find the mayonnaise. We’ll get the buffaloes on the table.