On Moving Day, Men Are Definitely From Mars
A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend and I moved from a two-bedroom apartment in West Hollywood to a loft in Venice, California. While we were equally euphoric about the move, I learned how differently men think of moving than women do, or at least how this one man (my boyfriend, who will be called C. for the rest of this article) thought of moving compared to how I did. Granted, we were not moving in together for the first time. And neither of us was new to moving—C. hails from London, and I, a San Francisco native, went back East for college before moving to Los Angeles. But it was the first time the two of us had packed up and moved from one place to another together. And so the neurosis, packing rituals, and priorities of both parties were revealed for the first time. This is what I learned.
Full disclosure: Our loft needed a lot more TLC than just a new suite of furniture. It also needed new floors, stairs, and a kitchen. Just minor work, I know. But before we could finalize the budget or even pick out a dining table, C. insisted on figuring out the best surround-sound system possible. We literally had speakers picked out before we had chairs to sit on. In the end, we made a deal. He could have the sound system of his dreams so long as I could have my white kitchen.
For C. and, in my experience, most other men, when it comes to moving, time management is easy. It’s a simple one-two-three-done scenario. You pick your new digs, move your stuff, and start living. Scheduling the dozens of appointments that go into a big move—e.g., taking out insurance, setting up the alarm, installing your washing machines, or hiring a painter (who undoubtedly costs a lot more than you thought), etc.—did not factor into the tight time frame C. had allotted for the transition. Once I created our monumental to-do list, C. was more than happy to tackle as many things as possible. But did he realize how much time would be required just to organize the logistics of this move? Not so much.
We moved on a Saturday morning at 8 a.m. At 9 p.m. on the Friday before moving day, our house looked like we would be living in West Hollywood for at least another few months—at least it looked like C. would be. Clothes filled the dressers, pots and pans filled the cupboards, and random knickknacks filled every corner of the apartment. After a couple of hours of folding, banging dishes, and piling up books, C. looked up from his computer puzzled and asked, “Why are you packing if the movers are coming in the morning?” Now this is not as ridiculous a question as it may appear, as I did hire a moving company to come pack and move us. But this is very much like the scenario where you clean for the cleaner. My man did not understand the amount of prep work involved even if you hire a full-service moving company.
All 20 or so boxes arrived at our new home, and we were both totally exhausted. So we found the one thing that was easiest to unpack—our bed—and hit the pillows hard. Note: I had kept a clean set of sheets and our favorite pillows in the back of my car so they wouldn’t get lost or dusty throughout the day (C. never needs to know this). Magical dreams of our new life floated through our minds as we drifted off into a deep sleep. When Sunday morning arrived, I jumped out of bed with the excitement I mostly reserve for Christmas morning to start tearing into our boxes and organizing our new life. C. was less enthused, to say the least. One day of moving and dealing with boxes per weekend was enough for him. He wanted to let the boxes lie and go explore our new neighborhood.
With boxes half unpacked and a staircase that still needs a lot of attention, C. and I are now in decorating talks. While I see our space as wonderful interior design puzzle that will unfold slowly over time as we (I) find the right pieces, C. sees the immediate need for furniture. He believes his list of items (a couch, chairs, a desk, a coffee table, nightstands, etc.) can be determined, purchased, and delivered in a day.
According to C., nothing, and I repeat nothing, was to enter our new abode without having a specific purpose. Me, being the old-school paper lover that I am, intended to bring my files of article clippings, my stacks of Vogue and Architectural Digest, and all of the lovely cards that I’d received during our three years in West Hollywood. C. had other ideas. Our paper compromise: I’ll ditch the clippings if he acknowledges that putting a bowl in the sink is not quite the same as putting it in the dishwasher.
“Honey, we don’t have any soap,” said C. on one of our first blissful mornings in Venice. No, we did not yet have dish soap. But C. thought that was the oddest thing. He didn’t realize that the only reason we had paper towels, toilet paper, and shower supplies was because I purchased them before the move. Ahh, to be blissfully unaware of domestic needs!
In the two weeks since we’ve moved in, I’ve visited our local Whole Foods about a handful of times. What can I say? I love having a full fridge with milk, coffee, and lots of fresh produce. Finding a good grocery store and nearby pharmacy were two of the first things I looked for in our new neighborhood. C., on the other hand, kept his focus on finding a boxing studio and the best place to surf.
So what have I learned since moving with C. as opposed to moving alone? We may have completely different priorities, but it’s a lot more fun doing it together. Sure, I may do the first few rounds of grocery trips, but would I know about the best breakfast burrito place by the ocean or the most gorgeous walk to take at sunset without him? Definitely not.