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Men want Function. Women just want Cute.

August 8, 2012

Men and women are completely different when it comes to making a decision. I’m not talking about the hunters (men) that walk into a store, buy what they came for and leave compared to women (gatherers) that go from store to store browsing and gathering information before deciding on a purchase. I’m talking about the features of an item that are important to a man versus what might be important features to a woman. Men typically will pick something that has the most utility whereas a woman will go for the item that looks ‘cute’ (Their word. Not mine.). Men want to know what it does, and women want to know what it looks like.

Let’s start with shoes. The men’s shoe department is a fraction of the size of the women’s shoe department in almost any store. Why is this? Well, women like shoes, and it goes straight to my point that fashion is MUCH more important to women. To a man, comfort is usually number 1 while fashion is farther down the list. What I typically do is go to the group of shoes that fit the job (men’s shoes are divided into groups by function – dress, casual, hiking…etc.) and pick the most comfortable pair that also has the most features – waterproof, slip resistant, steel toe, snake-bite proof… etc. Women go into their shoe department with some vague idea of what they might like and begin to shop. Heels or flats? What kind of heel – pump, stiletto, platform…etc.? Color – metallic, bright, natural? What kind of strap? Closed or open toe? Sandal or sling-back? Women ask questions like, “Can I wear these with jeans? Is the heel style going to change next year? What will this look like with a plaid skirt? Which handbag do I carry with it?” Men typically have two color choices – brown or black. So the conversation quickly moves on to, “Can I get these re-soled? Do they come in a slip on or just a lace-up? How well does it hold polish? What’s the arch support like?” Function versus Fashion.

Furniture may be the classic example of form versus function. Just go to an unmarried man’s place and compare it to an unmarried woman’s place and you know exactly what I’m talking about. Let’s start with the TV. Although men and women both make a television purchase based primarily on size, the size matters for very different reasons. For men, size ALWAYS matters, and the bigger the better. A man wants to feel like he is on the football field or in the movie, so the best way to achieve this is through the largest screen possible with the biggest speakers possible. And if a guy can fit a larger screen in the room, he will because he will always want his TV to be bigger than his friends’. Why? Just because. Then, it is on to decisions like plasma screen or LCD? (FYI – it depends on the glare) How many speakers for the surround sound? Cable or DISH? Which universal remote, how big is it (there’s that size thing again), is it compatible with my DVD player, and does it have a touch screen?

Women buy a TV based on how well it “flows” (again, not my word) with the rest of the room, and they don’t want anything that will detract from the pillows, pictures or furniture. Men won’t spend money on the other things because it means less money for the television. For a man, the television IS the furniture, and the only thing else needed is a comfortable place to sit and watch the television – the more functional the better (i.e. dual recliners with built-in console). Men prefer recliners to chairs because you can sit OR sleep. They are simply more functional. And like most things, for a recliner (or anything for that matter) to encompass the most features possible, you often lose some of the aesthetic appeal. Women generally hate recliners unless they are camouflaged to look like a real chair with a hidden footrest and no stick on the side. This is why one can often pick up a dual recliner off of Craig’s list from some guy that got married last summer. This is also why furnishing a house can be one of the greatest sources of conflict in a marriage. Men marry a woman expecting her to stay the same (i.e. continue to like his stuff after they get married – as if she EVER liked it), and they don’t. Women marry men expecting them to change (get rid of that goofy, bachelor guy stuff – you’re married now), and they don’t. Guys – if you think you’ll get to keep that 72” Plasma TV, don’t count on it. In fact, your new wife will probably tell you how you need a new place to live so you can start all over. Together. As a couple. …And, you will.

© Johnny Hea – 2012 All Rights Reserved

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