You can throw the book at men ... but they won’t read it!

Aasma Day
Aasma Day
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“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

What is it with men and their inability to read instructions or printed material and their bizarre belief that manuals are for wimps?

As for asking for directions, you may as well give up now and prepare yourself for a lengthy car journey.

Now, I’m not usually one to make sweeping generalisations of the sexist variety, but I have carried out a scientific study (well, I’ve spoken to some female friends and colleagues anyway) and I can ascertain that this is the absolute truth.

It seems the majority of menfolk are born with a defective gene that renders them incapable of stopping to look at the small print or any print for that matter, before diving in.

What is the point of shoving chocolates randomly into your mouth and then grimacing “Yuk” as you realise you’ve bitten into a Turkish Delight or a Coffee Cream?

Would it not be easier to take a few seconds to peruse the chocolate menu and find one you know you like?

And rather than rapidly trying to piece together flat pack furniture using the trial and error method, only to find an assortment of “spares” left over that are integral to stopping the whole thing collapsing, would it not be better to spend a few minutes reading the accompanying instruction booklet and studying the informative diagrams?

I know most women will be nodding their heads in agreement as they read these words, and recognise them as actions portrayed by their other half.

But come on men, you too must admit there’s more than a kernel of truth in what I say?

Is there some sort of conspiracy among the male of the species or an unwritten law I don’t know about stating that: “Real men don’t read instructions”?

I know absolutely without a shadow of a doubt that these instruction-hating, directions-shirking, advice-shunning men definitely exist.

That’s because I’m married to one.

Now I may be a pretty impulsive and impetuous person who’s willing to throw herself into new experiences on a whim without weighing up the pros and cons of the situation.

But when it comes to rules, regulations and following instructions - whether it be on the back of food items, build-your-own furniture or electrical gadgets - I really am a stickler for following them religiously.

The usually sensible Hubby, whose role is usually to keep me grounded when it comes to my pie-in-the-sky schemes, suddenly throws caution to the wind when faced with any pieces that need piecing together jigsaw style, and he often brandishes his jigsaw without even glancing at the instructions.

Granted, I will begrudgingly admit that in most cases, he does in fact manage to achieve the correct end result, but why take the gamble of it all going terribly wrong?

But my biggest bugbear is categorically his inability to ask for directions and many a time I’ve been subjected to infuriatingly long car journeys or painfully long hikes while Hubby mutters: “I’m sure it’s just around the corner.”

Since the invention of satellite navigation, I rarely go anywhere in the car without listening to the robotic voice of my trusty friend.

But Hubby usually claims he doesn’t need the sat nav as he’s “sure he knows the way.”

He would sooner waste half a tank of petrol going the “scenic route” than admit defeat and ask a random passer-by, or confess that, maybe, he does need the sat nav after all.

It seems he’s not alone as research reveals that men clock up an average of 276 miles a year driving around aimlessly without asking for directions.

Around 25 per cent wait at least half-an-hour before asking for directions while a stubborn 12 per cent refuse any help at all.

The lost driving time apparently costs men up to £2,000 in petrol over a lifetime.

When I gleefully went to tell Hubby these findings in a: “I rest my case” tone of voice, his comeback took the wind out of my sails as I couldn’t dispute it, certainly not in my own case.

“Well most women can’t read maps!” He retorted.

Touche.