Stephanie Smith: Want to know what a woman’s really thinking? Ask her to draw a diagram.

If you want to know what a woman is thinking, get her to draw a Sherlock-style mind map.
If you want to know what a woman is thinking, get her to draw a Sherlock-style mind map.
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Some say you can tell the state of a woman’s mind by looking in her handbag. No one’s looking in mine, but there is some truth in that. One husband in America, however, has decided to take a more strategic approach to the mystery of what lies within the female mind by asking his wife to create a diagram of it all.

The result – a scribbled sheet with around 30 little notes, queries, worries, observations and musings in bubbles and boxes – bemused him so much, he took a photo and posted it on social media. It’s nice he cares.

This thought diagram appeared on Reddit, posted by a man who asked his wife to describe what was on her mind.

This thought diagram appeared on Reddit, posted by a man who asked his wife to describe what was on her mind.

Examples of what the bubbles contain include: “Kids – lunches, toys, room, mess, health; Work - co-workers, students, parents; House is dirty; I like BBC TV; Lose weight, food is awesome; Did that person look @ me funny?; Where is that one thing I can’t find from two years ago?”

No mystery here, but it’s entertaining in a stream of consciousness, Mrs Dalloway sort of way, an insight into the mundane, flitting thought processes of another woman, similar to those of many other women, myself included.

I decided to have a go. It’s therapeutic, although I’m disappointed to find that I don’t naturally ponder the great philosophical questions as I idly scribble. Maybe on another day. Instead, I seem more concerned about over-spending on kitchen appliances and wondering when Poldark is back on (although who doesn’t?).

Inevitably, the wifely mind map has sparked a gender debate. Would a typical male thought diagram be very different from a typical female one? One man posted that his might read: “Tyre pressures need checking; Why are the children so careless?; Who is taking the cat to the vets? I wish we didn’t have a cat; Is it really time to renew car tax and insurance? Why’s my wife always on the phone?”

Fairly typical, too. Like the American wife’s diagram, it demonstrates, albeit unscientifically, how much of our time and thoughts we use up on the little practicalities of life. Boring, yes, but how lucky we are compared with others in the world, if all we have to worry about is car tax, messy bedrooms and what’s on TV. And, inevitably, even in the land of peace and plenty, there will be times when each of us will have bigger worries and sadness to drench all our thoughts.

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,” said John Lennon. We might as well enjoy our plans and musings, no matter how small and dull. Love living life to the min. And this Valentine’s Day, show your partner you care by asking them to scribble you a thought diagram. Even if it’s boring, these are the thoughts that count.

Emily Turner, an outreach worker with the Basis Sex Work Project, who support sex workers in the managed zone in Holbeck. Picture Tony Johnson.

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