The title is maybe a bit misleading. I am not a sexist, bastard, I promise. The reason giving directions to a woman is hard is because I’m a man. As it turns out, men and women think differently. I’ll pause to let that sink in. Men, apart from not asking for directions, tend to be more technical in their navigation. Directions, distances, and street names are pretty much all I need to get from one place to another. Women tend to think more about landmarks.
Research indicates that not only do men and women navigate differently, they also use GPS systems differently. Women, for example, generally don’t make use of the traffic features. If I had one, I would use this feature all the time — traffic is something my route planning generally tries to avoid. I’d much rather take a longer route if it means I can just drive instead of sitting in traffic.
When I was a little kid, I used to look at the maps in the phone book all the time. I knew my way around pretty well. Maps are just something I do, I try to learn my way around a city, even if I’m only going there once. On the other hand, my wife doesn’t know some of the roads in the town we’ve lived in for almost a decade. She can find her way around, but she might not be able to tell you what road she’s actually on.
The reason this comes to mind is because classes started two weeks ago. In the past two weeks, I’ve had to give directions to a lot of random people, many of whom have maps. It seems most of the people in need of direction are women. I’ve found it very hard to tell them how to get where they need to go, because there are no roads on campus, and I can’t use the other buildings as reference. I just have to hope that I can stumble through directions well enough to get them to their destination successfully. I also have to hope that I never run into anyone as bad with navigation as this humorous blogger.