At a friend's suggestion, I read John Gray's now classic work Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus: A Practical Guide for Improving Communication and Getting What You Want in Your Relationships
(New York: HarperCollins, 1992). First of all, I want to admit that I am not a fan of self-help books, but this friend who recommended it was also not a fan of that genre of books. It took quite a bit of convincing to get me to locate our library's copy and check it out. I will have to admit that it was a very insightful look at the differences in the ways men and women communicate and why they so often misunderstand each other. For those who may not be familiar with the book, the author's premise is that men go into their "caves" to solve problems whereas women tend to talk them out. As I began to read the book, I wondered if that is the way that men and women approach genealogical problem solving as well. Do men tend to go off by themselves, find a quiet place, and put the pieces of the puzzle together? Do women tend to talk out the problem by sharing with other friends who are researchers or perhaps just talking through it to the dog or cat if there isn't a human nearby to listen? In my own experience, more of my female genealogical friends have shared the stories of their finds with me. Some have asked what I think; others just want me to listen to the find as they are puzzling it out for themselves. I have rarely had a man do this, although I have had it happen on occasion, but it's usually a much more specific question when a man asks. I really do think men tend to work more "alone" in the genealogical research process just from what I've observed in libraries. Far more women will strike up a conversation about what they are researching in a research room than will men. I see some of both sides of the equation in my own research methodology, but I'm not sure which is the dominant one. Maybe I should ask my cat! So, what do you think? Do men and women approach genealogical problems as Martians and Venusians respectively? I still haven't decided for sure, but I certainly see some evidence that it could be true.
Labels: books, genealogy