MILES TO GO: BATTLE OF THE SEXES

The battle of the sexes, at least in our house, regularly involves the amount of gas in my car. CONTRIBUTED

Stan looked at me as if I had grown four heads the other night.

I was sitting on the couch opposite him, muttering darkly under my breath while rooting around in my purse and occasionally pulling out random items — a mascara tube, a long-forgotten business card, a pen I was glad to have found, a few coins, a magnetic name tag and a roll of dental floss. 

“What are you doing?” my husband asked, with one eye still on the Monday Night Football game.

“I need to get a  new purse,” I answered. “The fabric liner inside this one has a big hole in it, and things keep slipping through.”

They ended up in the no man’s land between the fabric liner and the leather exterior that had started swallowing anything smaller than a wallet. 

Stan just shook his head and returned his full attention to the game.

It was yet another example of problems men don’t have. Of course, when one of the inside flaps on his well-worn wallet finally let go and refused to keep his credit cards in their rightful place, it was an emergency that required an instant trip to TJ Maxx for a replacement wallet.

But the purse issue clearly doesn’t affect the opposite sex. 

Don’t get me wrong, the challenges that only women experience are too numerous to list and many of the most obvious have been done to death so as to become cliche.

These differences between men and women go beyond the obvious physiological features and processes. If men were responsible for carrying and bearing children, humankind would have gone extinct within 30 years. 

But during my purse conundrum Monday evening, I started thinking of the other little nuisances men will never experience.

They can ditch their shirt and jump into any body of water, at any time, to cool off, then shake their head, air dry for a moment and then put their shirt back on. 

Women, not so much. There’s a multitude of considerations. If we don’t have a bathing suit AND change of clothes, then we’ll be stuck for the rest of the day in wet clothes and undergarments. Our hair, once wet, can’t just be shaken out. 

Many women feel they look their best with their hair freshly washed and blown dry. A boat ride is disruptive enough to dry hair. But a boat ride, wind, a dip in the ocean and then a windy, return boat ride, is going to require another shower if we’re expected to go to dinner anywhere other than a restaurant AT a marina, where everyone just got off a boat.

Women (OK, well, myself at least) also experience that minor moment of panic when I realize my husband just took my car someplace — and it’s alarmingly low on gas. 

I knew it was low. I was fully planning on stopping at the gas station on my way to work in the morning. But Stan wasn’t planning to stop for gas on his quick trip to CVS. Now, I’ll have to listen to “the speech” (again) when he gets home.

“How do you drive around with no gas? Your gauge was ON empty. It wasn’t NEAR empty; it was ON empty.”

“I know. I was going to stop in the morning. The car says I still have 17 miles to go,” I say in my lame defense.

Stan rolls his eyes and reminds me, “You’re putting an awful lot of faith into that little fuel sensor in your tank.”

On the bright side, he returns home in a huff, but with a full tank of gas in my car.

Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.