Why Is He So Messy?

The stereotype is that men are messy and women are neat. This is true for my wife and me, but not for my son and daughter. Still, I suspect the stereotype holds true for more marriages than not.

Why Is He So Messy?

There may be a real gender difference on this, as explained by psychologist Gloria Moss in her book Why Men Like Straight Lines and Women Like Polka Dots. Moss suggests that because of brain difference men and women see things differently, and prioritise what we see differently. This could mean men literally don’t see messes – or a least they don’t register with the conscious mind.

I know, that sounds impossible to you. Let me support that with my personal experience. I’ve always been messy, and it never bothered me. Then Lori and I moved into an RV and I started to notice messes. And not notice them, I was bothered by them. Somehow the small space focused my attention. Part of it is a practical issue. In a big kitchen, I could ignore a mess because there was enough space for me to still do what I want to do. In a small kitchen if things are out of place I don’t have enough room to cook. I now put up all the washed dishes every morning before I make breakfast. I never did that before because I wasn’t even aware they were there. Now I can’t miss them because I’d run into them trying to make breakfast.

My computer area is still not as neat as Lori might like, but it’s far better than before. The small area I have is less messy than the larger sized area I had before, and I clean it up more often than I did the larger, messier space. The same is true in every area of the house, including the compartment area where I keep my tools. My tools are better organised and more accessible now than when I had a nice workbench with drawers and a large pegboard.

I’m afraid I don’t know how to apply this to your reality. However, if it really is a matter of seeing it differently that clue might help you. If his socks on the floor literally don’t reach the level of conscious thought, that’s different than he sees them and doesn’t care. It would also mean dealing with it as if he doesn’t care isn’t helpful.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I’m starting to see messes!

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One Comment on “Why Is He So Messy?

  1. Oh this makes me smile :) The first time I visited my future in-laws his mom was trying to chide him into cleaning his room. His method, I learned, was to toss it all in the closet.
    Thirty years married, he cleans up a bit better. I never nag or even suggest he pick up. If it bothers me I clean it up for my own peace of mind. If it bothers him he cleans it up. Sometimes he grumbles, I politely ignore the grumbles. But the surprising thing, even to me, is that I look forwarded to picking up his socks. I love looking after my husband!

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