THAT'S LIFE: Man with a plan

It occurred to me the other day that some people just aren’t fans of ‘‘man plans’’. They tend to associate them with disaster management.

This thunderbolt struck while attempting to organise a reunion with an old mate and his family.

It was left up to the boys to sort out, and the lack of faith from some quarters shocked me. The fact that man plans were deemed somehow ‘‘bad’’ in the first place seemed borderline sexist.

Everyone knows you don’t have to be a man to plan like one, or vice versa. It’s an outcomes-based concept.

But as Kamahl says, people can be so unkind.

Woman plans, if you believe the hype, are detailed, 190per cent right EVERY time and roll out with military precision. Man plans, on the other hand, are inevitably vague, confused recipes for disaster.

These characterisations, of course, lack any objectivity whatsoever, coming usually from woman planners. But that’s OK, because to control freaks, I mean woman planners, objectivity and subjectivity are the same thing. But let’s not get personal.

Man planners, by and large, are more ‘‘laid-back’’, verging on loose. Their ideas, if given a chance, unfold like self-inflating mattresses – ungainly at first, but comfortable enough eventually, if woman planners don’t intervene, which is rare.

So let’s get to the reunion.

We boys had a chemistry stretching back many years based largely on mental telepathy. We’d always known which pub to go to without saying, and this had served us well through the salad days.

We eventually got married and had kids, and that had complicated organising social gatherings in much the same way 9/11 complicated air travel.

But you don’t sweat the small stuff right? It all works out, right?

Wrong. Nothing works out for woman planners unless it is spelt out. Woman planners sweat the small stuff profusely.

Hence, before I’d called my mate, I was casually drilled on venue, menu and damn you if I didn’t lock those items in. But when I heard my mate down the line, I reverted to dudeness.

Dudes don’t dictate. They ‘‘put it out there’’. This is often mistaken for indecision but is actually the birth process for a man plan. And it went a bit like this:

MATE: So, our place? Your place? Meet halfway?

ME: Sure. Your place, in town, our place? Whatever suits.

MATE: OK. How about early late arvo round dusk after lunch?

ME: Sounds good. We’ve got food covered, bring nibblies.

MATE: Righto, we’ll get salads, meat, grog and furniture.

ME: Can’t wait.

I was chuffed when I got off the phone. I’d touched base with my mate, he was keen to catch up and now due to our exquisite man planning, it was going to happen, somehow.

Strangely enough, the woman planner of the house didn’t share the warm fuzziness. I sensed this because she was laying face down on the bed bashing it with her fists.

What seemed to really irk was the lack of detail about venue and menu, damn you! Those details soon arrived after another casual discussion. And to think the kids thought we were shouting at each other.

The event duly took place in what I’d argue was the great tradition of man planning. One person came up with a gem of an idea. Another came in and polished it.

Looking back, my mango cheesecake – the pièce de résistance of the feast – captured the essence of the day.

Inspired with the best of intentions, it failed to set.

When released from the bonds of the spring tin, well, talk about going with the flow.

Kind of summed up man planning perfectly.

Sure tasted good, though ... through a straw.

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