Gender Differences in Hunting/Gathering Practices of Modern North American Office Dwellers
(an anecdotal study)
by S A Rudy
In the time I have spent among the Office Dwellers of Bridgewater, I have become accepted among them, almost as one of them. They have given me the role and status of "secretary", and assigned to me one of their small dwellings (which they call "cubes", after the general shape). This role is differentiated from others partially by the shape of the "cube" in which I stay (see Analysis of Status Among Modern North American Office Dwellers as Determined by Dwelling Placement, Shape, Self-Closure, and View, by S A Rudy) for one "wall" (sides of the dwellings favored by the locals do not generally extend more than halfway to the ceiling) is even shorter than the others, and has a platform. Upon observing others with this same structural peculiarity, I noted that it was customary to put out small dishes of offerings (usually hard candies or chocolates) to appease those with taller cubes. In order to fit in among these "secretaries", I, too, placed out a small dish, in which I put an assortment of whatever candies I had available.
I then laid in wait to observe. The natives displayed several unique hunting/gathering patterns, most notably separated along gender lines.
Techniques most often observed in males were:
- "Ambush": This technique involves waiting until the owner of the cube leaves on some errand or another, then rushing in and taking a handful of booty, leaving as few witnesses as possible. (This technique is also seen among some females.)
- "Grab and Run": Males using this technique will walk past the dish, and without pausing, surreptitiously grab something and keep walking along as if they had not done anything at all.
Techniques most often observed in females were:
- "Admiring": This technique is unusual in that the hunter/gatherer actually does not take anything. The native will simply approach the dish and examine it and its contents closely, often commenting or critiquing at length.
- "Pick and Sort": This technique closely resembles the "Admiring" technique,
except the native will actually physically sort through the contents as well as commenting and will often take one item.
- "Raiding": A hunter/gatherer from another sub-tribe will approach and wistfully inquire whether an outsider might partake of the home tribe's wealth. Upon receiving an affirmative reply (the reply is traditionally always affirmative), the outsider will take one item and quickly retreat.