What’s the difference between men and women? That seemingly simple question could lead to hours, days, weeks of discussion. But I believe the answer is easy: it all boils down to a recent text exchange between my co-worker Adam (2nd shout out in a row, killin it) and a stranger.
Earlier today, Adam received a text message from an unknown number. It was a picture of some car part. There wasn’t any explanation or text sent along with the picture. But that’s really not what’s important. What’s important here is that a complete stranger sent Adam a text and the difference between men and women can be determined by the way Adam responded.
Now, I’m not an expert on gender differences or psychology or, anything really, now that I think about it. I can sing the presidents’ names in order of office, but my superior intelligence is neither here nor there. I just want it to be clear that I do not consider myself to be proficient in male/female dynamics. But I am peculiarly observant and you’re still reading, so, hear me out.
I’ll start by saying how I – a woman – would respond in this situation. When I receive texts from unknown numbers (which doesn’t happen as often as my wording would lead you to believe), depending on whether the message sounds like it was meant for me, I almost always respond right off the bat with a polite “sorry, who is this?” I polled a few women and they all gave more or less similar responses – all of them asking for an identity.
I also asked a few dudes how they typically respond. I received an array of answers ranging from “I would just answer the text, I don’t understand the question” to “idk is she hot” all the way to “this has happened to me several times, I’ve made some of my best friends this way.” But the common denominator in these mixed responses was the lack of and/or beating-around-the-bush-of asking who the unknown number belongs to.
Back to my example with Adam. He responded to the photo of the car part with “what is that.” When he showed me the text initially, I said “who’s that from?” and he said “no idea.” I paused. Baffled. He asked about the picture before he even knew who sent it. I really had trouble grasping this. I shared this with some of my previously polled guys and they almost all said they’d have answered the same way: asking questions about the car part.
The stranger answered, “thats the trans mount” to which Adam responded, “Gotcha. It looks broken”.
STILL no identities revealed! We’re 4 texts deep, y’all, and neither participant has knowledge about the other’s existence. I practically screamed “how are you still in this convo?! You have no idea who you’re talking to!” But Adam calmly expressed that it didn’t matter who it was, what mattered was that the trans mount was broken and the objective now is to figure out how to fix it.
I was just beyond perplexed by this situation. For a second I thought perhaps Adam was just more compassionate than other people. But then I remembered that I share a cubicle with him and that isn’t the case.
I’d like to tell all the women out there that we discovered who the text was from and I’d like to tell all the men out there that the trans mount was fixed. But unfortunately our new stranger friend stopped responding after a while, nameless, so instead I’ll tell you this: men and women need each other. Women need men to point out when something is broken, and men need women to stop them from casually engaging in conversations with potential serial killers. Honestly Adam.