"Well, first off, don't interview a guy if a woman is available. Guys don't notice anything. I probably asked twenty of DiMaggio's teammates about the party after the 1947 World Series at the Waldorf-Astoria. And they'd say, 'Aw it was great! There was a band and everything was first-class. Joe was real happy that night!'
Then I'd ask one of their wives to describe the party. And she'd say, 'Yes, it was a wonderful party. But the flowers were dreadful. And the food was late. And Phil Risutto's mother came in wearing the oddest hat...'
They know everything. Guys are hopeless."
--from the chapter on Richard Ben Cramer
in The New New Journalism
, in which top-notch nonfiction writers are interviewed about their work habits. I bought it last week for $6 on the discount shelf at Dog Eared Books
, and it's been a pretty good read! It's kind of like Coders at Work
I've definitely found there are differences in what men and women tend to remember, but I wouldn't say that one gender is better to interview than the other-- the information you get is just different. I've been exasperated at my husband many a time when trying to get details on something emotional or interpersonal ("They broke up? What happened? Well, what did he say
? You didn't ask
?") but he's amazing at remembering, say, how many miles per gallon his car could get in high school.
It's not surprising that women would have the dirt on what a party was really
like-- but I bet every one of those men interviewed could remember the final scores of all seven games of that year's World Series, and lots of them could still give a pretty mean play-by-play.