Thursday, May 21, 2009

Instruction Guys

There are two types of guys in the world: those who read instructions and those who don’t.

I’m the former. If something comes with an instruction book, be it a new camera or a new car, I’m compelled to read the thing cover to cover. I want to know what my stuff does and how to make it do it. I like to squirrel myself away into a quiet corner of the house, crack open the book and read and tinker until I’ve hit the back cover. Every once in a while I usually call out to WonderWife™, “Do you know that [gadget] does [incredibly cool thing]?” And she calls back, “I don’t care!”

There are a lot of guys on the other side of the fence. Guys who don’t bother with instructions—either because they like to figure things out for themselves or they just don’t care enough about the bells and whistles to spend the time.

Kids don’t come with instructions, but there is a plethora of parenting books. Since I am an instruction guy, I have read my share. A few of my friends also went the book route. But there are some, not instruction guys, who went into this parenting thing blind. My experience with dads is that we don’t sit around swapping parenting tips. We will boast about our offspring and share battle stories, but advice between dads seems to be few and far between.

It’s easy to be an instruction guy. But how do non-instruction guys learn about this stuff?

--DGB

16 comments:

SciFi Dad said...

Strangely enough, I am an instruction guy, yet I have never read a parenting book. I don't know why... oh wait, yes I do.

Scandalous Housewife said...

My husband is a no instruction bastard, I mean, guy. Which means I have to read it or make his ass pay for someone to figure it out.
Ok, I'm in a pissy mood at my husband today, sorry for venting...

ZenMom said...

Heh. My husband is a tweener. He will read instructions when it's absolutely necessary. (Think Ikea furniture) But only then. And he would not read a parenting book to save his life.

BUT - he will occasionally surprise me by quoting back to me some "rule" of parenting from one of MY books. So, I guess he was listening after all when I was babbling on about first foods and language acquisition and brain development and all that.

So, to (finally) answer your question: Where do they learn it? From their instruction-reading wives, perhaps? And, of course, from their own dads. Who also taught them not to read instructions. ;P

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Wait... you mean some guys DO read instructions? Does that mean you TAKE instructions well? Like when your wife sends you to run some errands do you REMEMBER her instructions? Or is it just with gadgets and stuff? lol...

I'm still in awe that you read the instruction manual... oh how life would be so much simpler that way!

TentCamper said...

I'll start with answering your question at the bottom....MacGuyver!

I don't typically read instructions. I love to figure shit out on my own. If I bought a new home beer brewing kit...you bet I'd read the instructions. But for things like cell phones, cameras, IKEA, computers, sex toys, kids (parenting books)... I think I do pretty well in figuring it out.

And when the side falls off the new entertainment center...you know I have extra screws from the original packaging...I just plop it back together.

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

Because their wives tell them what to do :)

I read parenting books because my kids scare me with the stuff they come up with. Instructions of other stuff, nah. Not till it breaks anyway.

I think reading the manuals is a guy thing. For some they just have to know how everything works. (which can be mighty helpful when the car flashes that little light and you have no idea what it means)

dadshouse said...

I'm a tweener - I usually start reading the manual, but rarely finish. My dad reads cover to cover.

As for raising kids - I have not read many parenting books. I've read a ton of books to recover from my divorce - books on spirituality, philosophy, and relationships. But I just wing it when it comes to my kids.

Anjeny said...

Love the post for today and thanks for the comment on my yesterday's post.

My hubby is an instruction guy too. I thought it was pretty neat at first but now I've figured out that since he's such a tightwad, he read instructions so he can do everything around the house without having to pay someone else to do it.

As for your questions...sometimes guys learned those stuff from watching their dads growing up and of course, their wives are good teachers too.

Like Shelle, I'm curious too...do guys who read instructions TAKE them too? My hubby in all of his reading instructions cannot take instruction well..lol..if I send him on an errand, I have to either stay on the phone with him or write it down or it doesn't carry through.

Homer and Queen said...

Homer does not read instructions and the parenting...books or not is a crap shoot. We call Homer the Disneyland Dad, he likes me to be the bad guy (He qrew up with no Mom in the house) he is much more nuturing than I...I do the electronics, but puts together stuff...with extra parts!

T said...

ManOfTheHouse claims that the instruction booklets are just printed to avoid lawsuits... don't think he's EVER read one! Of course, they are all neatly filed away in the cabinet just in case...

Guess who that leaves to do most of the assembly?

Not a soccer mom said...

Dont have a man in my life and I am an engineer... I MAKE instructions.
but you have to watch this!

http://www.kontraband.com/videos/14173/The-Ikea-Circle-Of-Hell/

T said...

Wow, how refreshing to read about a man who wants to learn more.

That's a total turn on for me. I wish more men would.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

To answer your question...yes, I do take instructions. At least, if I can remember them.

LiteralDan said...

I'm with dadshouse, I like to start instructions, and I often don't finish them. Speaking as someone who used to write instruction manuals for a living, that counts as a deep, dark secret.

As for learning how to parent kids, I know everyone else is just blindly feeling their way through it, too, so I don't waste time with advice books.

I just learn like a cat learns not to pee on the furniture-- whenever I do something wrong, my wife sprays me in the face with a squirtgun.

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