I think I’ve stumbled on an unheralded, but highly contentious, battleground in the ongoing war between the sexes – packing.
Men and women think differently about packing. We approach it differently, and we have different standards by which to measure our success. But who does it better?
Packing a trunk is one area area where men seem to have an edge. “Myth Busters,” a television program that aired on the Discovery Channel from 2003 to 2016, tested the validity of this assertion. The show brought in volunteer couples and gave each 15 minutes to pack similar cars. The men not only completed the task faster, they scored, on average, six points higher than the women for the quality of the packing.
Men might also have the edge when it comes to packing the dishwasher. A British couple pitted their skills against each other, running similar loads of caked-on plates, glasses and cutlery in a dishwasher and allowing an expert to judge the results for cleanliness. His methodical stacking and pre-washing won out over her haphazard, stick-it-where-it-fits technique.
Not sure who’s better at packing up household goods for a move, but unpacking might be better left to women. My niece who recently purchased a home with her fiancé, tells me he unpacked all their boardgames and stored them neatly in the kitchen pantry.
When it comes to packing for a trip, however, women are the clear super stars.
Men (in general and Jack Schindler in particular) throw a pair of jeans, three shirts and some underwear in a suitcase and declare, “I’m done, why aren’t you?”
Women think about packing for weeks. “If I take the red outfit, which shoes, accessories and bra do I need?” “What if it rains?” “What jacket should I wear on the plane that I can wear with the rest of my wardrobe?”
Then there are maintenance items for various body parts — hair, eyes, face, skin, fingernails and feet (the latter becoming more critical past the age of 50.)
And don’t forget electronics: chargers, power cords, converters for overseas travel, earbuds and a flash drive (in case you have to print a document).
If you’re traveling with children, the same planning goes into each wardrobe along with all the products, equipment, snacks and amusements needed to keep them safe and occupied for the journey.
I personally have a check list that I print out every time I travel to make sure I’m not missing anything.
The downside to all this contingency planning is that I (along with almost every sentient woman on the planet) tend to over pack. A study cited in the Daily Mail says that while men use at least 90 percent of what they’ve packed, women use less than half.
On the other hand, if you’re sunbathing on the Riviera and someone suddenly needs a scissors, band aid, umbrella, pain killer, mosquito repellant or eye glass cleaner, you know who to come to.
As for overweight luggage, that’s easily solvable. I can always throw a few things in Jack’s suitcase. He has plenty of room alongside his one pair of pants, two shirts and underwear.
Who’s the better packer in your house? Share comments here.