What men don’t notice.

I notice disorder in my home environment. Yes, entropy is unavoidable, and I accept this without making it the goal of my life to stop it. But without really trying, I make notes of minute changes: A notch chewed into a lawn chair by squirrels,  a bath towel label hanging by a thread, a book shelf bowed by too many books. What people observe probably varies according to where their interests lie. This sounds like a simple statement of fact and has no particular emotional weight until it becomes an issue of lifestyle. And these issues can cause friction. So let’s focus on the home front.

I can recall two instances where those near and dear to me have been oblivious of their environment. The fact both examples feature the male gender might be regarded as my gender bias, but read on and see what conclusion you come to.

One memorable instance of this blindness occurred long ago. It concerns a chair.  My significant other (long passed into insignificance) and I had just moved to a new apartment and being larger than our old one, the living area had been sparsely furnished for the past month. Finally, I found a suitable leather armchair at a thrift shop and had just placed it into the living room (where previously there had only been two folding chairs and a saggy futon) when my “sig” came home from work. He strode into the room and sat down in the brand new chair and started to talk to me about his day. I sat on the futon and waited for him to realize what he was sitting on.

Two minutes. Five Minutes. Finally, I said, “Notice anything?” He looked at me with that “Oh, oh” look males give, thinking I’d gotten my hair done or something and he’d missed it. Satisfied that wasn’t the problem, he looked around the room, shrugged and leaned back in the chair. As his head hit the back of the chair, he suddenly sat straight up and started to laugh.

My next example is an ongoing situation, but SHHHH!!! Don’t tell! The house where I now live was built in 1900. During a renovation that predates my residence, the “public” rooms of the house were aggressively wallpapered with a pattern of yellow, green and white flowers on a barn red background. The kitchen then underwent another renovation. The last owner laid a hideous vinyl floor of green and beige. See below:

The combination was more than an eyesore. About one year ago, when my better half was out of town, I did what I’d wanted to do for months. Being unable to replace the floor (don’t get me started), I decided to relieve the kitchen of this eye-popping trauma. I took the wallpaper down and painted the walls with cream colored paint. The difference between before and after couldn’t be more glaring. Who could miss it? You know what’s coming. He came home.

He didn’t notice the change then and after nearly a year, he still hadn’t noticed. Really. I finally decided to give him hints. One day some grease from the stove splattered on the adjacent wall and I said something about how hard it was to wipe it off. Nothing. A few days later, I pointed out an emerging crack around a door frame. Nothing.

After two years, I gave in and pointed to the walls and showed him the change. He was completely mystified. In fact, I don’t think he believes me. Is this what’s called Male Pattern Blindness?

Mickey is the author of the mystery novels School of Lies and Deadly Traffic.


~ by mickeyhoffman on August 21, 2013.

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