Women are like spaghetti

I recently heard it suggested that “Women are like spaghetti, men are like…. lasagne”, meaning that a woman’s emotional connections go everywhere, everything related to every other part of her world. Men on the other hand are more sectioned-off, compartmentalised, less emotionally-enmeshed. Like all generalisations (which are true of much, but never all, of the population), this one seems to have a ring of truth, and I would like to reflect on it briefly.

Now, of course, observable male/female generalisations are just that: generalisations. Regardless of the vast majority who display a certain trait, there are always plenty of men who demonstrate the stereotypical “female” trait, and vice-verse.

I have heard this generalisation in other forms, such as: “Women are like handbags (everything touches everything else), men are like a chest of drawers (everything is in distinct departments)”. It would also fit well with the old one: “Women are like an iron (takes a long time to get them warmed up), men are like a light bulb (you can turn them on in an instant).”

Such differences seem to reflect traditional male-hunter, female-gatherer views. They would fit with the female as nurturer, male as protector well too. More significantly, to me such a difference aligns itself with the Biblical teaching of the husband’s headship in marriage. Being emotionally-less-enmeshed might make the assumption of rational, clear-headed responsibility easier. It would appear to be a strength (as well as a  weakness) in man’s tendency to be less emotionally encumbered.

I do not think that a man’s lasagne-like-ness need imply that he is cold or emotionally disconnected from others. Though being emotionally cold might be perceived as more masculine, even heroic and leader-like, it would be a mistake to approve of poor relating in the name of “important” things like leadership, strength and manliness.

In the end, whatever the degree of (“male”) compartmentalisation or (“female”) entanglement, there is always the sauce which binds the pasta, adding coherence, clarity and softness to the whole.


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