Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

July 21, 2013


Filed under: Neal Murphy — Freddie Keel @ 6:41 am



According to countless frustrated spouses, men seem to suffer from an irrational resistance to stopping to ask directions when lost in strange territory.  That this trait is shared by most if not all men, and has proven so resistant to the attempted behavior modifications and downright nagging of so many women suggests a genetic predisposition.  I have discovered that the reason is that men just don’t feel they are lost.

Another reason that I have discovered is that the action of stopping and asking directions is fruitless and a waste of time.  The last few times that I have stopped at the nearest convenience store to ask directions I was met with:

  1. The clerk just arrived from outer Mongolia and could not speak English well enough to assist, or
  2. The manager had only been there for one week and knew nothing about the city, or
  3. The person did not know where he was himself, so how could he help?

Apparently schools do not teach students how to give directions any longer.  I recall being specifically taught how to do that in school.

According to the scientists who have studied things like this, this behavior in men goes way back to the “hunter/gatherer” days.  In pre-historic days, the men were the hunters of food, the women and children were the gatherers of what the man produced.  The hunter, of necessity, would travel a long distance, perhaps in unchartered territory, in search of where the deer and antelope played.

The hunters needed a greater spatial understanding of their surroundings.  Since the behaviors of their prey were heavily influenced by the terrain, the stalking hunter needs to know not only his own location and the location of the prey, but also the nature of the area in which the prey will be found.  Stopping and asking directions would be a meaningless exercise for hunters.  Hunting tends to be an undertaking where only the first hunters on the scene have any opportunity.  After the first hunters do their thing, the game is either dead or long gone.  So by definition, if there is someone available of whom directions can be asked, it’s no longer worth doing.  Success as a hunter required being able to find your own way.

It is worthy to note here that down through most of humanity’s past, women have selected as fathers of their children those men who appeared to possess the best skills as a hunter, men who were genetically adapted to not asking questions.

In the past travelers wandering lost in the wilderness were considered intrepid explorers and lauded as heroes.  How could there have been an age of discovery if men asked directions and accurately navigated to only those known locations they intended to visit?  Only by accidently making enough wrong turns and doggedly proceeding with great conviction far enough in the wrong direction can one discover that which is by definition unknown.

It has been said that men created maps so they wouldn’t have to ask directions.  The great voyages of discovery were launched specifically to plot the world and fill in the gaps in the maps.  We all know that most women cannot read maps correctly, so they would be of no help.

So before denigrating men for possessing a trait that seems out of place in our modern partly civilized world, remember that this world that makes men seem out of place is largely a direct result of that very trait.  Remember also that we are poised on the brink of becoming a space faring species.  There aren’t any convenient gas stations out there in space at which to stop and ask directions.  In space we will once again need those men who can find their own way, even if they often don’t end up where they thought they were headed.

One last thought – I have discovered that when a man is giving you directions and he says turn left, but his hand simultaneously points right, always follow the way the hand moved and you won’t get lost.






PO BOX 511



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