I'm about to make someone mad.
I want to know why men can't follow directions. And don't give me that bit about how it's not nice to stereotype. Case in point: this morning's 5th annual Christmas Card Lane Fun Run.
I used to direct this run, and I designed the 5-mile course. This is the fifth time at least half the field has done it, though only the second from this particular start and finish point. Everyone is supposed to look in advance at the course map and carry a copy if they need.
This also was the first time I was a course marshal with my husband. When I gave him his simple marching orders ("Make sure they turn right at the corner where you're standing."), he looked at me incredulously. "You mean these people can't follow a map or go right when I tell them to go right?"
Then he called me at my post after the first two runners - men - came through. "They just crossed the street for no reason after they passed me; I have no idea where they're heading," my husband said. About 10 minutes later, I watched a huge pack jaywalking along a thin median on a semi-busy street, trying to cross at the wrong point. That group was led by men too and would go the wrong way at the one and only intersection on the way back.
Meanwhile, every group or duo led by a woman knew where to go. Granted, they usually had someone ahead, but when that rabbit veered off course, they stayed true to the map and the marshals' directions.
Afterward, a kindhearted veteran of the program (a man) pulled me aside and said we needed more course marshals. Some somehow shortcut the S-shaped Christmas Card Lane and others went beyond the final turning point, even though I said clearly to every runner, "Take the first road on the right." He said it was because the street sign was obscured. I just nodded politely, rather than ask how they also missed the wide opening they call a road.
I am not angry in the least. I had a wonderful time reuniting with the old gang. And I've been known to miss a turn on a new course too when I'm not paying attention. I also realize frontrunners in races sometimes go off-course. And frontrunners typically are men. So I don't mean to question an entire gender. But, do tell, is it just me that wonders how some people ever make it through life if they can't follow simple instructions?