Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Men and Instruction Manuals

Whenever I buy anything that needs to be assembled, I first pull out the instruction manual.  How-tos and step by step instructions (even better if they are accompanied by pictures) are needed.  Mrs. Fix-It I am not. 

Recently, my husband put together our daughter's sand and water table.  When I was cleaning up the cardboard and plastic bags that the various parts came in, I found a little bag with four screws.  When I asked my husband whether they went to the table, he shrugged.  Silly me  asked him if he had consulted the instructions on how to properly put the table together.  He scoffed and replied that the screws obviously weren't necessary since the sand and water table seemed perfectly sturdy without them.

Why do men eschew instruction manuals and directions so much?

Ever wonder how early men's disdain for instruction manuals actually begins?

A few weeks ago, I was watching our friends' son.  He is about 4.  I had a glimpse at how Emily will be in two years.  Sometimes they seem to have a wisdom that belies their age and other times they just make you laugh at their drama over the mundane.

We'll call him Sam.  Sam had pulled out an instruction manual for the Wii and immediately threw it on the ground as though it was on fire when he realized what it was.

He made a face and said, "Blah.  Instruction manuals are for stupid men."

Uh, okay.  My response, "Well, sometimes we need them to make something work."

"Nuh, ah," he replied.  No amount of persuasion could dissuade him of the notion that sometimes we DO need to read an instruction manual.

This makes me wonder if maybe men and their antagonism with instructions is genetic?

What do you think?


Richele said...

Well...I'm one to not read the instruction manual..lol. I usually end up having to read it when I get stuck..but most of the time, it's me who doesn't read it. My husband always does. lol

Aunt of 14 said...

Men just don't like being told what to do... especially by a piece of paper or a book. They don't like following directions, which is why they never stop to ask for it. They don't want to be led... they want to be the leader. Now why is that? I have no idea!

parenting ad absurdum said...

I have to do all the construction in our house - I insist that all three males leave the room - they are of absolutely no use in DIY situations!

Stephanie Faris said...

It's their determination to figure it out on their own. I think it has a little to do with pride...don't you? I watched in frustration Saturday as my husband drove around for 10 minutes, lost in this huge neighborhood, looking for a client's house. He could have called...and finally he did...but by then he was late for his meeting.

Lourie said...

Maps, instructions, anything that tells them this is how to do it. Haha.

Erin said...

I always read the instruction manual and often still have issues (i.e. with my recent compost tumbler). I can't even read a map, really. My hubs doesn't totally reject advice/instructions, but still mostly tries to do things without assistance.

I think it's an ego thing. Perhaps genetic...who knows? Still endlessly frustrating sometimes!

enjoy the sand/water table! we had one and my girls loved it!

p.s. i have twin girls that are 4 1/2 and i'm a SAHM. thank you so much for stopping by my blog. I'm your newest follower!

Katie said...

That's too funny. I can't believe he actually said that!

Florida Girl Meets the Midwest said...

Or maybe they are imitating their daddies.

My Hubs is not terribly handy so we don't deny instructions manuals in my house - or disaster would ensue.

Heather said...

I am constantly amazed at how my kid can put a new video game in the machine and just start playing it.
I am right with you on wondering how the just "know" things. (Or least think they do.)

Thank you for stopping by yesterday. Have a great day.

Jenn Erickson said...

Yes! What is with this phenomenon? Must be genetic. I remember my dad always having leftover parts from projects when I was a kid, and now my husband is the same way!

The Practical Mom Guide said...

I think you ladies are right and it is partly ego and partly pride.

I do have to say that I am amazed that my husband can put things together sometimes without instructions or at least make it halfway through before he breaks down and opens the manual. Other times he just finishes the task through trial and error.

Me-I need the instruction manual from the get-go. Is that maybe a sign of higher intelligence on his part (probably at least kinesthetic intelligence and spatial intelligence)? Probably.

Okay, if I am referencing Gardner in the middle of the afternoon in the summer then I need a vacation.

Bob also has infinite amounts more patience than I do. That's okay, I'm still the better cook:)

Paige said...

Just coming by to say "THANKS" for stopping by on my SITS day! Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

The Drama Mama said...

It has to be built in.

GC put Step 2 slide thing together for Scooby one Christmas. When he got done, there were ALSO some screws left. I asked him if he were going to put them in and he said no, it wasn't necessary.

To this day, I am still putting his steps and slide on the center because he didn't take the 5 minutes needed to BOLT THEM DOWN when he put it together in the first place. AND, he has now lost the screws....


hypermom said...

"I can do this. I don't need any help from some crappy book." I think that's what they think hehe

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