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Details and headlines…

June 30, 2008

is a catchphrase in our house. It comes from one of those Christian speakers on marriage issues and the differences between men and women. I forget whom.

Some years ago, Husband and I came across the phrase and laughed heartily at how well it described our respective conversational styles. So much did we enjoy the phrase that when one or the other of us became bogged down in the talking points, the listener had permission to tell the talker “details” or “headlines” so that the proper information was conveyed.

My paraphrased rendition, with appropriate apologies to the speaker for forgetting your name but hey, look how long your point has stuck, goes like this:

If you take a newspaper, you will see headlines announcing just the facts of the story. For example, “Bank Robber Caught on Main”. The details of how he was caught, who caught him, with what was he caught, and what will happen to him now that he has been caught are within the actual article. You have to choose to read the article though to receive those details.

Men usually prefer the headline style of conversation. They want the just the facts version.

What? A bank robber was caught on Main? Well, good to hear that our police force is doing their job.

With that information alone a man can be perfectly satisfied.

Women, though, usually prefer the detail style of conversation. We want the relational aspects version.

What? A bank robber was caught on Main? Which bank did he rob? How did he do it? Was anyone hurt? How much money did he take? How did the police catch him? Why did he say he robbed the bank?

And on and on. The more information the better for us.

When you combine those two styles in marriage though and a detailer is trying to tell a headliner something or vice versa, there can be frustration exemplar. A headliner may feel swamped with all the information and not really know what was the point of the story. A detailer may feel deprived of information and respond with 101 questions.

This has been known to actually happen. In this household.

Today though, the shoes were on opposite feet, and I couldn’t help but chuckle. A good friend of ours just took a new job flying crop dusters in another state. We are very excited for him and his family. His wife emailed a picture to me of him standing beside his plane. It is a very bright, yellow plane. And he looks quite proud standing beside it.

Thinking myself being a good wife, I emailed the picture to Husband. Without details because he prefers the headlines.

When I talked with him on the phone later he began to ask me all about the plane. What type of plane? Is it an Agtractor? What’s the horsepower? Does it have one prop or two?

I didn’t know anything about the plane other than what I just typed to you in this blog post. A very bright, yellow plane. And doesn’t he look proud standing beside it. When someone’s wife has a baby, I count myself fortunate to discover the gender of the child, let alone any actual details on weight, length, or time of birth.

So I went back to the email to check for additional details, because I can find them if you must have them, this is what I came across.

It’s a B model Agcat with 600 hp supercharged Pratt & Whitney radial with 2 blade Hamilton standard prop.

Like I said, a very bright, yellow plane. And doesn’t he look proud standing beside it.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Ellen permalink
    July 1, 2008 3:10 am

    Oh man, ain’t this the truth!

  2. July 1, 2008 4:16 am

    LOL — that’s a good way to describe different communication styles of the genders. But, as this illustrates, sometimes it depends on what types of details are involved. I don’t even know what most cars are unless I see it on the sides, much less planes.

  3. July 1, 2008 11:04 am

    Yep. We’ve had some of those role reversal conversations at the cottage too. And they are usually over something mechanical, like yours, Elle, or something fishing related. Hehe.

  4. July 1, 2008 8:53 pm

    That is so funny. We are like that when it comes all things technological. I just want to check my email, thank you very much. My husband, on the other hand…well, we affectionately call him a “techno geek” and he wears the title well.

    Funny stuff, friend!

  5. July 2, 2008 1:35 am

    This is a really great explanation. Have you heard of the spaghetti and waffles illustration? I like that one too. It’s so true!

  6. July 3, 2008 4:45 pm

    “Details and Headlines” I’m going to remember that! Thanks!

  7. July 3, 2008 10:44 pm

    Why sure, here’s the link:

    I saw a presentation on it where the husband and wife were illustrating a conversation at their house. She jumped from one topic to the next (everything had a reason for the jump in my mind) and then the husband semed to listen but just went back to his original question. They said it was like him pouring syrup on her spaghetti and when she didn’t respond to his conversational style it was like pouring marinara sauce on his waffles.

    Basically–Men: Everything fits into neat compartments.
    Women: Everything is inter-related.

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