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Wait problems
A survey says the average British man spends a year of his life waiting around for his better half. But that's only half the story.

PHILIP JACKMAN
Globe and Mail
July 27, 2007

The average British bloke spends more than one year of his life waiting around for his wife or partner, according to a survey published this week.

That includes the equivalent of 20 weeks hanging about while his better half gets ready for an evening out, 22 weeks sitting in stores while his partner tries on clothes and one week waiting for her to turn up for a lunch or dinner date.

Sixty-one per cent of the guys say this drives them nuts.

The poll, conducted for the website missbutterfly.co.uk, questioned 2,000 males aged 18 to 60 and discovered that 38 per cent of them said the amount of time they spend waiting around often caused arguments with their partners. One man in 10 said they had broken off a relationship because of the problem.

When it comes to men twiddling their thumbs while their partners try on clothes in a store - an aspect of the survey that, unsurprisingly, receives a great deal of attention as missbutterfly.co.uk sells women's clothes online - one-third of men claim to sit patiently while 45 per cent say they simply get bored. A third say they feel embarrassed hanging around outside changing rooms.

But do men have a legitimate gripe here, or is this just one side of the story?

Deborah Mecklinger, who runs a marriage and divorce therapy practice called Walk the Talk Coaching in Toronto, thinks it's more an issue of intolerance and expectation between the sexes.

Taking the traditional, stereotypical view, she says, "We hear about women waiting for men to come home from work or waiting for men to come home from the golf course. There's usually the ETA [estimated time of arrival]. When most men say they'll be back in three hours, that's the ETA."

Ms. Mecklinger points out that when a couple goes shopping and the man is looking for clothes, the woman is probably more involved in the process with him - "flipping through the racks and looking for the XL" - so she doesn't feel that she's waiting. On the other hand, "when she's looking for something, he's sitting on a sofa either hoping he can fall asleep or hoping they have a newspaper."

As for getting ready to go out for the evening, "It may very well be that it takes a heck of a lot longer to blow-dry a woman's head of hair than a man's head of hair. ... So if they both come home from work and have to be out of the house in 15 minutes, likely he's waiting."

However, if they're both going out and the man isn't ready, she says, "I think it's much more common that the woman would busy herself with something else while he's getting ready, whereas he would stand there holding the car keys."

In general, she says, "I do believe that women are more prepared to wait."

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