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Do men have a different perception of time? I think so

December 2, 2010

In the same way that men have a more linear attitude to life – at least in terms of tending to do one thing then another, rather than the female way of doing lots distractedly at once. I generalise, of course, but not grossly – they also seem to have a different sense of time. Not a more linear sense, but ironically a less linear one, whereby time can stop and restart, at least when it comes to human relationships, whenever they decide. (Sorry for the multiple clauses there. Bad style. )

Anyhoo, there can be no other explanation for the sudden emergence of several men from my past.

Men that were (to all intents and purposes) dead as doornails a few months ago when they went quiet or slowly fell off the radar. Men who were consigned to the dustbin of history suddenly popping up as though six months of silence had not just elapsed.

I first noticed this odd male sense of time and its relationship with other people when I was very little and my brother would say: “Oh, that was 14 years ago” when in fact it was three years ago. Or, “I was there for 10 hours” when in fact he was there for 4. Later, while dallying with commitment phobes in sort-of relationships, I observed – then learned – that it’s ok to go quiet for weeks, then suddenly get in touch to arrange a meet-up. Such audacity does not strike men in the same outrageous way as it does women. Equally, even the best of boyfriends will say things like “I’ll be leaving work when I’ve just finished off this task” -oblivious to the implication that they’ve implied “soon” – and turn up four hours later thinking nothing odd of it.

But this blast from the path thing is extraordinary. The most recent curiosity was a guy I sort of saw for a while earlier in the year. Things did move slowly, I admit, even when we were in touch. One night I texted him from a nearby cocktail bar and he never replied – odd, even for him. So I consigned him to the dustbin, not particularly minding either way, and forgot about him completely.

Imagine by surprise when this man, last communicated with (the text) on June 4, popped up into my phone’s inbox earlier this week: “Hi babe, long time! Would you be up for catching up and going for a drink sometime soon?”

“WHAT? Err, ok! Sure, why not, I mean, at least you’re still alive. Good stuff.” These were my thoughts.

Then there was the guy I met in a pub- friend of a colleague of my flatmate – and in my opinion we hit it off. Still, no number was requested. I forgot about it all….until THREE MONTHS later he asks for my number from his mate who asks my mate. But then it was too late because he was going back to Australia.

Still others mysteriously friend you on facebook, others send kisses to you on instant chat, others write you thoughtful emails then don’t reply when you respond.

Nowadays, if I meet a man and we hit it off, I expect a lag of up to a year before he gets in touch.

Sure, it may be a sign of lack of keenness – but let’s look on the bright side: it may also be an expression of a very different temporal – and social –  perception.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Rachel permalink
    December 4, 2010 2:34 pm

    1. We should take a poll to ask how many women have actually googled to see if some guy was, in fact, dead,after some unexplained, inconceivable, silence.
    2. Why is it so frustrating? Why is it that when they haven’t phoned for days, I’ve gone from thinking about 2.6 kids and a white picket fence to actually hating them? I suppose that gives me some crazy points, but at some point…isn’t. it. just. rude?

  2. December 5, 2010 9:48 pm

    I could say this kind of thing afflicts women as much in my experience. So did you get an acceptable reason why he didn’t text you back ?

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