“Do we really have to decide now?” | Nico Martimez/Martinez Studio


As a person who can’t quite decide if he likes a survey or not, I was intrigued to find out the other day that in a persons average lifespan they will spend 2 years dithering over what, or what not to do. Personally, I’m not sure of that figure at all, but do confess to be less than decisive on occasions. It appears that among the most common of dilemmas are what to order in a restaurant and what to wear when you are going out.

This is nonsense, because every single chap that I know orders exactly the same meal he always has since puberty. I will give you an example - we go out on a regular basis with a couple of friends on a Friday night for a couple of drinks and a reasonable priced dinner. The pretty young waitress at our usual establishment doesn’t even bother to ask myself and my pal what we want to order, because it is the same every single week.

So much so, that when my mate actually dodged-the-column and meekly asked for something different the other week, the girl didn’t even listen to him and served him what he always asks for and that was that! I think that so as to avoid deciding upon almost anything, and the trauma that can bring with it, most of us become creatures of habit and wear that certainty like a warm yet slightly care-worn cardigan.

I remember a handsome young fellow many years ago who I worked with actually ordering something different every time we dined out, or more likely ate a pub lunch. I ordered steak & ale pie, chips & peas once a week for 15 years and it didn’t do me any harm I can tell you. Feller-my-lad thought otherwise, always going to the exotic end of the menu and quizzing staff about freshness and the like.

I would ask him what if he didn’t like what he had ordered and he would arch an eyebrow, lean back, and say something like “nothing ventured nothing gained,” and then I would hate him even more for being assured and urbane as well as a complete git. No chance of that with me and my mate in the eateries of this part of the island - nobody is under any illusion as what we will be ordering of an evening as everyone already knows.

Nevertheless, deciding upon almost anything without going through due process can be tricky at the best of times and on occasions disastrous. Is there a man actually living out there who really enjoys buying a birthday or christmas present for his wife, partner, or significant other? I think not.

Perfume can work, but as your average bloke doesn’t know Dior from WD-40 he will go by the price. Not too expensive, but nothing that will make your eyes water that’s the best bet, then ask that girl behind the counter wearing way-too-much make-up what she thinks and you’re away with the pin-out - the trouble is the subject of all this gift buying will hate it, they always do.

For many of us, we will firmly be told “Please don’t buy me any clothes love - I don’t want to look like a bag-lady,” so you might be tempted into purchasing saucy underwear - under no circumstance are you to do this ever! With your options fast running out many men go for the ‘practical’ present.

Oh dear, really? You would think that a top-of-the-range food mixer would be a popular purchase wouldn’t you - not if you do not want it shoved where the sun don’t shine you don’t; so always go for the boring but safe option and give them the money, as that’s what they wanted in the first place. If they say, “I would have loved you to have bought me something personal,” they are lying.

I guess that the dilemma for most people when they are in a bit of a dither over something, is whether to go ahead and damn the consequences, or to die and dozen deaths trying to decide what to do. When you think about it, most people have to make all-sorts of decisions on a daily basis, it really would be pointless agonising over every single one. What to watch on the television tonight - Where to go on holiday - What to cook for dinner - Can I afford to divorce him?

One of my favourite words in the English language is - Procrastinate - a wonderful word that invokes images of delay, deferral, postponement and general protraction; most of us do it at some time or other, some of us make a career out of it as no decision should be rushed and long grass was made for the sole purpose of kicking tricky problems into it without embarrassment.

I believe that most of us are capable of a swift decision making process, given the proper facts are at hand, and you are being threatened with physical violence by an irritable partner who made her mind up about this subject six months ago. Nevertheless, the “Do we really have to decide now?” caveat can be rolled out effectively on occasions, particularly when large sums of your money are being verbally bandied-about by others who have nothing to lose by a sudden nod of the head from you and maybe something to gain.

It’s always a good idea to ask yourself that question I find. However, what this survey did find out about dithering was the fact that mostly this indecisiveness is brought about by “Too much choice” rather than the lack of it, and by dint of this, some important life choices are reduced to the childlike ‘eanie-meanie-minnie-mo’ method of choosing the right thing to do; but there again, I am not really sure about that either.