Venus and Mars get down to earth

Bruce Christopher separated the men and women into two groups. As each side listed complaints about the opposite sex, groans and laughs filled the room.

The men accused women of talking too much, starting meaningless fights and doing everything in groups. The women quipped back that men had poor hygiene, were sexually selfish and never said what they were thinking.

“As we all can see, the Battle of the Sexes is alive and well in this room,” said Christopher as laughter echoed in the hall

Christopher, a psychologist and comedian, conducted the seminar in the Marshall Center Ballroom on Tuesday night to help men and women learn to communicate with each other better. He noted the basic differences in the way men and women think and view problems.

“Believe it or not, we make a lot of mistakes about the opposite sex,” he said.

Men focus on one thing at a time, while women balance multiple things at once, he said. Christopher likened the difference to juggling. While men would juggle one ball at a time, a woman juggles 12.

“When a wife interrupts her husband while he’s working on the car to have him grab a gallon of milk at the store, he won’t remember because he is in the car compartment of his mind,” Christopher said.

He explained that, to women, everything is connected. Something that happened three years ago is relevant to a current event in a woman’s mind.

Christopher told the audience that men speak by getting to the point as quickly as possible, while women are concerned with details. Instead, men should elaborate more and women should shorten their stories, he said.

Men maintain eye contact for only three seconds, and try to keep at least four feet between them at all times, Christopher said. But women directly face each four times longer.

He demonstrated this by interacting with a woman from the audience. Christopher stared into her eyes and patted her shoulder, pretending to be just one of the girls. The woman couldn’t keep from laughing.

Christopher closed by describing how men and women solve problems: Men try to reach a decision quickly without deliberation. Women, on the other hand, tend to consider everyone’s opinion before making a decision.

When asked which process is better, the audience all spoke in the women’s favor.

“Not necessarily,” Christopher said. “Would you want to have a staff meeting about what to do when a building is on fire? Or when you are performing surgery?”

A tall man dressed entirely in black, Christopher cut an imposing figure, but used humor to connect with his audience.

“I want you to laugh – it’s just how I teach,” he said.