by Bill Monson

The guy who wrote that book ''Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus'' got it at least half wrong. Women aren't from Venus; they're from much farther out -- past Uranus and Pluto, past any place in the solar system where NASA could do a fly-by.

Call it Planet Weird.

Some of the things women do are unexplainable -- beyond hormones, psychology, and human behavior entirely. Science is helpless, confounded. It's like trying to figure out what God had in mind when He created the duck-billed platypus.

I offer in evidence my wife.

No, she's not a duck-billed platypus. She looks positively normal and usually she acts that way. But there are times -- !

After decades of marriage, I've come to accept she considers our home her nest. When company comes, she wants her nest neat as a pin. Fine by me. I pick up my books, toss all the old newspapers in the recycle bin, and vacuum the rugs for her. Perfectly normal, right?

But then, when we leave on a trip -- even for just a couple days -- she does the same thing. Not just clean counters, fresh linen on the bed, everything dusted. The sinks in kitchen and bathroom must be scrubbed, the toilets sparkling, and everything put away like we were going to show the house for sale. (Did I say I was expected to vacuum, too?) If I ask why all the fuss for so little time away, she responds she wants to come home to a clean nest.

More like coming home to a hotel suite where we're both the occupants and the housemaids.

Now as a ''man from Mars,'' I find this behavior troubling.

When we lived in a three-bedroom, three-bath house I found it wearying. It wore us both to a nub even before we started out to face freeway traffic or airport check-in counters.

This behavior was one of the reasons I agreed to give away half my library and live in a double wide mobile home when I retired. Less to clean and care for.

Now I can hear some of my fellow ''Martians'' growling I should've put my foot down and insisted on some rules about this.


Better I should move to Planet Mercury and get some heat to thaw the frost that would descend on me if I ''insisted on rules.'' There are no rules regarding a woman's nest except the ones she makes -- which are liable to change from week to week without prior warning.

Men, there's no choice if you want tranquility in your old age but to accommodate. That's how marriage survives. Despite some propaganda to the contrary, Mars is ruled by Venus (or Planet Weird, as the case might be.)

As you read this, the Missus and I are on a big trip. In preparation, mi esposa really went into irregular orbit. Not only did she buy new clothes and shoes, but she came home with new sheets and blankets for our bed, new bath-mats for my bathroom (we have Hers and His) and two new toilet seats.

Now there's nothing really terribly wrong with our current seats, but Planet Weird wanted to come home to a nest with refurbished thrones.

Well, when I stopped laughing, I suggested after seven weeks on strange toilets in six countries, Colorado, Illinois, and various forms of transportation like planes, buses, EuroRail, and a river boat, it might be better to come home to familiar fixtures for our fannies. At least for a while. (I readily agreed to all the rest, including the usual clean-up routine.)

This time, compromise was reached; Mars and Weird are once more in harmonious conjunction -- but the new toilet trappings await our return, and I wonder how many weeks it will be before our little solar system sits on new seats.

Uploaded to The Zephyr website October 1, 2002

Back to The Zephyr home page at: