We have all been there.  The sat nav is on the blink and we need to read a map or ask for directions to get where we are going.  As the children in the back start asking every few minutes “are we nearly there yet?” the tensions up the front mount.  “Why don’t you just ask that chap at the bus stop for directions?” you might ask quite reasonably. But as the man in your life puts his foot down you’re given the reply “I don’t need to ask anyone, I can find it!” Why won’t our men ask for directions?

What is it that turns an otherwise perfectly reasonable man into such a pig-headed pain in the backside when it comes to asking directions?  Why would he rather spend half an hour circling a gyratory system or traversing roads where only farm vehicles dare to go than simply ASK? 

In denial

There is an old joke that goes “Why does it take millions of sperm to achieve fertilisation of an egg?”  The answer is that they won’t ask for directions!

Some time ago Chris Moss writing for the Telegraph revealed that only six per cent of men surveyed said that they would look at a map or ask for directions if they were lost.  The same paper revealed that men drive an additional 276 miles each year because they’re lost.

Typically they will blame the maps, the road, the signage or even their women for the fact that they are lost, but never, ever themselves!  In the same survey, he found out that men, in their lifetimes, will travel the equivalent of the distance from Lands End to John O’Groats because they will not ask the way! 

Women are less stubborn

While it seems that it is a matter of pride for men to get where they are going without asking, women are more focused on getting there in the shortest time and by the shortest route.

So what is behind this peculiar affliction that affects men but not women drivers?  Some of the men who would not ask for directions blamed their poor sense of direction for the fact that they would add 20 minutes to their journey just because they would not ask the way!  While men doggedly stick to their ‘inner compass’ sure it will guide them, eventually, to where they need to be, women will just ask. 

Women are better than men at giving directions.

When asked for directions women make a better job of it than men.  Chris Moss probably summed it up well when he said of his own navigational prowess – “Like most men, I think of myself as an eel or a sea-run salmon, knowing instinctively where to go.”

This is clearly a case of pride coming before a fall or at least a 30-mile detour.  A lot of men won’t rely on the sat nav, even if it is working, preferring to show their skills at navigating.  So this is clearly a ‘male thing.’ 

Women are happy enough to rely on the sat nav to get where they are going and won’t think they know better than their electronic friend.   And if things do go wrong and they find themselves up the proverbial creek without a clue they are more than happy to wind the window down and ask for directions. 

If you are planning some road trips this summer with your partner, it may be worth taking a map reading course so that you can gently guide your explorer partner when things go awry.  We know that our OWO readers are up to the task of even the most complex navigation and, if they can hear it, above the sound of the kids in the back, are quite happy to have the input of the sat nav.  There is clearly no joy in spending extra time on the road when you could be enjoying yourself on holiday!

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