The Great Gender Divide Packing to Go on Vacation

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When Mariah
Carey arrived at Heathrow last June she found herself seriously
upstaged – by her luggage. The paparazzi seemed more interested
in her 20 suitcases than in the singer herself. In contrast, husband
Nick Cannon’s tiny holdall didn’t warrant a single picture. Can
the marriage last?

But it isn’t
just celebrity couples who are accoutrementally mismatched. Men
and women generally have totally different approaches to packing.
Furthermore, what they pack (or forget to) and how could have implications
far beyond her bursting suitcase.

Yes, that’s
right, her suitcase. Shipping company P&O confirms that women
really do pack too much. Last year, it conducted a survey which
revealed that most female passengers lugged aboard twice the amount
of clothes they needed.

Financier Donna
Cable, 27, is a case in point. "I need my clothes like I need
air. If I leave behind just one dress then, inevitably, that’s the
one I’ll want to wear. Everything else I try on will look like rubbish.
It’s so aggravating to be 1,000 miles away and realise, ‘Damn, I
so need that one thing.’ So it’s safer to pack too much than too

According to
psychology professor Cary Cooper, Cable is typical. "Women
are planners and look at every eventuality. Traditionally they’re
the ‘chief executives’ of the home,” he says. ”While in many cases
men prefer not to take responsibility, women suffer from ‘perfectionism’
and so are more likely to think ‘better safe than sorry’."

Men, in contrast,
incline towards being sorry. Emboldened by travel literature, they
believe that the essentials for a three-month Amazon trek will fit
easily into an overnight bag, provided you make space by stuffing
your socks into your shoes.

Maybe. But
in their haste (90 per cent pack at the last minute, whereas women
begin around a week before departure), 70 per cent forget something
vital, such as replacement underwear. Even an expensive pair of
Calvin Kleins can soon become a lethal biohazard, particularly in
tropical environments.

the rest of the article

5, 2009

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