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OK, fine. I know it's a bad idea to claim that certain behaviors are gender-based. BUT STILL. Sometimes it's hard not to.

For example, how would you respond in this situation?

Say you're waiting at an intersection in your car. The light turns green, which in America means you can go. However! Someone is still in the crosswalk directly in front of you — a woman pushing a baby stroller, for instance, or an older man or a teenager committed to the idea of just taking her sweet time.

So naturally you wait. Which makes the person in the car behind you CRAZY, because the person in the car behind you can't see what you see. So the person in the car behind you just flat out lays on the horn.

Honk! Honk! Honkity-honk!

This makes you mad. Well, of course it does! Unfair honking makes everybody mad. So how do you react?

Do you feel like getting out of your car, walking over to the idiot behind you and EXPLAINING (possibly with a little back story) why you didn't go when the light turned green, just so he'll get it?

Or do you feel like getting out of your car, walking over to the idiot behind you and punching him straight in the face, just so he'll get it?

I could be wrong here. I often am. But I'm guessing that men are more likely to choose the second option, whereas women are more inclined to vote for the first.

Unless you're me.

In which case you want to both explain yourself AND punch the guy who honked at you.

For years I've speculated about the reasons men and women behave the way they do. Is our behavior strictly a matter of cultural indoctrination? Or are we just wired differently? Is that the real reason men's buttons are always on the right side of a shirt, while women's buttons are on the left — to accommodate our essential otherness? And what would happen if shirt factories everywhere accidentally sewed all our buttons on the wrong sides? What then, America? Could we cope?

I know. It's sobering to think about these things.

But here I am, thinking about the subject of gender difference again now that spring has sprung. Here's why. When our family garden starts coming back to life, my impulse is to cheer it along.

"Hey, nice work there, wisteria!" I say. "I love the way you're taking over the entire backyard like the world's best-smelling anaconda!"

My husband has the exact opposite response. He sees that wisteria snake insidiously slithering across the fence and up the flowering pear tree, and his trigger finger gets super itchy. Next thing I know, he fires up the Hedgehog and starts "cutting back" everything in sight.

I mentioned this to a friend who said the same thing happens at her house. When it comes to vines — ivy, Virginia creeper, myrtle, honeysuckle — her normally pacifist husband goes all "Call of Duty" on them. "Absolutely nothing is safe from him," she lamented.

So now I'm wondering if these are just isolated incidents. Or does male-plant-aggression happen widely elsewhere? Chez vous, for instance? And if it does, how do you deal with it?

Please discuss among yourselves and then get back to me. Meanwhile, I'll be outside where I plan to stay until the snow flies next year.

Ah! Spring!

Ann Cannon can be reached at or