It is said, the difference between men and boys is the cost of their toys. This is fairly accurate; just as it would be accurate to say the same about women, girls, and the cost of their clothes (and shoes!). Still, what is it with men and their cars, boats, ATV, guns, and so on? We knew a woman who cried, “He loves his bass boat more than he loves me. ” (Based on the money and time spent on both she may have been right.)
Males are drawn to mechanical things more than females are. You see even in babies; while boys and girls will both play with cars and dolls, given a choice boys gravitate towards cars while girls go for the dolls. This is both because of the male attraction to mechanical things, and because of the female attraction to faces. The difference is apparent by one year of age – girls spend more time looking at faces while boys will stare at a mechanical mobile.
In mechanical aptitude tests males as a group rank more highly than women do. Again, this is seen at all ages. Some have suggested this is a matter of training, but aptitudes are set early in life, long before kids start school. One researcher has suggested women score lower on mechanical aptitude because they are not interested in the subject. This does not solve the nurture vs. nature argument, but it does suggest men and women may be following gender-based differences in interest.
Whatever the reason, your husband is more into mechanical things than you are, and the reasons for this is rooted in his being a man. If he takes it too far, you should say something; but do not judge “too far” by female standards. If he is not making it difficult to pay the bills, and you and the kids get time with him, his time with his “toys” may be a healthy and necessary outlet.
Taking an interest in his toys could do great things for your relationship. I am not suggesting you have to go all in, but learning a bit about his toys of choice shows you care about him. It also gives you something to talk about with him. (And, his buddies will be impressed you can use terms like 30-Ought Six and .22 caliber correctly!)
~ Paul – I’m XY, and my toys are techie.