Sunday, March 28, 2004

Girls and Technology...

A couple of weeks back, my sister told me she and her husband got a new digital camcorder. As a techie I of course had to ask her for the lowdown on the specs.
"What brand is it?" I asked.
"It's a Sony, I think," she said.
"Which model? Is it a MiniDV camcorder? How much did you get it for?" I flooded her with more questions.
"I have no idea, "she sounded somewhat flustered and unsure.

That exchange of futility totally reminded me of that time in Serra when Mike and I went to check out Rita's bad ass computer system, which included a sweet 17" LCD (this was before LCDs were as common as they are now) and those Altec Lansing speakers with the really cool design.
"Wow, that's a pretty big subwoofer, " Mike exclaimed.
"Is that what it is?" Rita sounded confused.
Apparently, she didn't know what the big, black box under her desk was even though she had had her computer system for a few months already.

Now, my sister and Rita are two of the smartest people I know. Rita can kick my ass at CS problem sets and got into Harvard Law (I will savor for all eternity the smug look on my face when I say, "According to my friend, who went to Harvard Law...") while my sister attended the School of Pharmacy at the University of Michigan. But they, like most of the women I know, probably have absolutely no interest in the nitty, gritty details of electronics and gadgets. It's just really baffling to me because women obviously enjoy their iPods and digicams as much as us guys, and yet most of them don't really care much about the specs that distinguish the truly awesome, must-have toys from the soon-to-be paperweights. I have asked girls who OWN and USE their digicams such simple questions as "What's the resolution?" And I have seen the glazed look in their eyes.

On the other hand, I went to a flea market with Caroline yesterday and she spent a good 15 minutes at the cosmetics table picking out tubes, flasks, and glasses of "stuff." I took one glance at all the labels on the table and gave up trying to understand the purpose of each "thing." I mean, what the hell is a foundation? Or an eye liner? How and why does one "line" one's eyes? Do our pores really get that clogged up and need to be cleansed that often? Don't even get me started on the SPF indices on lipsticks! I was having nightmarish flashbacks of the time I got completely lost in Sephora while trying to buy some cosmetics as presents for my mom's friends in China (longggg story). The bewildered expression on my face probably resembled that of a caveman who was just shot out of a wormhole into the 21st century.

"Excuse me, I need help selecting some skin lotion for my mom's friend, " I asked the saleswoman.
"Ok, how old is she? What is her complexion like? Does she have any kind of allergies...." She peppered me with a stream of questions.
"[Gulp]," I replied.

However, my cluelessness stems from the fact that I never had to use any of this cosmetic stuff. I am a man and most of us men get soap from Safeway, not cucumber melon moisturizing body wash from Crabtree and Evelyn. I never even thought of getting scented candles for my place before Caroline suggested it. After all, I associated candles with power outages.

Since girls derive as much benefit as us guys out of all these electronic gadgets, why then aren't they as interested in the details as us? Of course, I'm making a huge generalization, but I think there is still an obvious difference between men and women. What gives?