Confessions of an Actual Man

Very Sincere Too

October 25, 2011

Like a wolverine digging at a rabbit's hole, this column seeks truth, wherever it lies. (Of course, if truth lies, how can you trust it? These are deep waters.) To this end, I have been reading feminists about what slugs men are, and bandits, and slaves of vanity, and cause loose fillings and sunspots and roach infestations. In the past I dismissed these tiresome viragos as mere creatures of bile and ill-breeding. This time, I thought, maybe I should listen to them. After all, ugly short-haired unmarried women are people too. Pretty close anyway.

AsI pondered, I was overcome by the consciousness of sin. Yes, I thought, it is true. We men are the slaves of vanity. I wanted to deny it, but I could not. The facts cannot be evaded: We, sorry male malfeasors all, are hopelessly vain.

Confess it, fellows: Men spend millions on boob jobs, on moisteurining lipstick that gives us the freshness of the roses of morn, on perky push-up bras that divide and lift at the same time. Yes, we do. Television groans under ads for new, new shampoos that make our thinning hair swirl like corn silk in gentle zephyrs. Whole generations of Africans have died in the diamond mines of Kimberly so that we men could have gauds and baubles and dingly-dangles to put in our ears. Oh, the shame of it.

Women, far more sensible, are happy with scuba gear, a big-bore Kaw, and two-for-one Coors. Maybe a Ruger Redhawk.

It is not just vanity that corrupts men and makes us a burden on a suffering world. No. There is worse. We do not play well with others. No one can doubt it.

I have often read that women cooperate, quietly working together to get the job done, while men are aggressive and need to butt heads, trying to be the alpha male. This must be true, I reflected. Sociologists say so. There can be no greater fountain of truth than pigeon-chested academic worms in psuedo-universities. That's what I think, anyway.

Sure enough, the evidence is there. If you peer into the sordid sprawl of history, you find that you can hardly swing a pool cue without hitting a civilization founded by cooperating women. Sumeria, Rome, the Tang Dynasty, the Raj—all built by women working quietly and maturely together, while men fussed and fumed and did their nails. The NFL, the space program, Microsoft and Google, all products of cooperating women.

There is yet more. Men need to bear up, be brave and mature, and face truth: Women are more practical than men. Someone said that men are romantics pretending to be realists, and women, realists pretending to be romantic. Yes. Honesty compels us to grant it. Men are like little boys, always wanting to go higher and faster, to explore jungles and invent exotic aircraft. Always childlike, we love to race alone across the late-afternoon deserts of Arizona on a Harley, with the air furnace-hot and sunset burning out from incandescent reds to rolling waves of orange on celestial beaches, the night rising from behind distant mountains. Women want granite counter-tops. These last, and are easy to clean.

This practicality of the distaff wing of our race of nuclear-armed primates is pervasive, profound, and probably of remote evolutionary origin. For example, women are attracted to money, than which there is nothing more practical. In fact, money is the only aphrodisiac that gets the job done. Ask any sailor who has spent shore leave in the Philippines.

It works like a charm blessed by the Seventh Orisha. I am an ugly man of sixty-five years with thick glasses that make me look like a poorly-designed frog. But give me a Ferrari Testarossa, a flashy suit with an Italian name like Giovani or Armani, and a roll of hundred-dollar bills to tip for beers at pricey restautrants. Gorgeous groupies of twenty-five will crawl in their hundreds through my windows. Practical, they are. Very.

Men are ever impractical. In countries where I have lived, such as Vietnam, Mexico, and Thailand, the difference is unmistakable. If an American man encounters a Thai lass who is cute, smart, kind, funny, and a hell of a lot of fun, he will marry her, support her without the least resentment, and think he has prospered mightily. He is a man, and thus a romantic. No practicality. If an American woman has ever married a Thai below her social class in the expectation of maintaning him, this has not been recorded. It just isn't a paying proposition.

An evil misogynist or anyone rational would call this racism. It would be terribly unfair. I'm just not sure why.

The sexes approach problems differently. A friend once worked at a computer help-desk for a large association of realtors, who apparently are not any brighter than they need to be. She said that about twelve people, evenly divided between men and women, worked in this pit of reparative cybernicity. She further said that she had noticed that the women worked from a list of possible answers. Is it plugged in? Is the power on? And so on. Some of the questions were technical, and the women were not stupid, but they worked from a list and, if nothing applied, they threw up their hands. The guys by contrast regarded computers as really neat puzzles, controllable complexity of the sort that fascinates men, and liked to solve crazy new problems.

This difference is why a female bureaucrat will just say, “Nope, can't do it. Sez so here,” while a man will think, “How can we get around this sumbitch rule?” It's much more practical and efficient just to say, “Nope. No can do.”

Male immaturity. Always fiddleing with high-by-pass turbofans or III-V semiconductors instead of working quietly from lists.

Like a six-year-old, a man has to know how everything works. This defect of the male psyche is close to universal. A woman wants her refrigerator to cool her yogurt, her stereo to play the BeeGees, her car to run and not make funny noises. Ever practical, she isn't interested in thingy-whichies, in the compression-cooling-expansion cycle, or source-gate-drain of transistors, or what a valve train is. It isn't that she couldn't learn these things easily enough, but that she has no practical reason for learning them.

I reckon women are just more complicated than men can understand. It could drive us to drink, if we needed driving. There is a subtlty that we men, with our blunt-trauma minds, can't get our fingers around. Women want to get married, but they don't want to get married, and they are furious at men but want to be loved, which presents technical problems. It's too many for us. The Iraqis say “Women want roasted ice.” Maybe we underestimate Moslem civilizations.

Now, from experience, I know that feminists will be madder than wet hornets, this being their only condition, because I have spread this repast of understanding on the tablecloth of the internet. If I weren't so charitable, I might suggest that they dish it out much better than they take it, that they feel entitled in perpetuity to distemper—but I am the soul of charity, and won't even hint at it, though it's God's truth.

Philip Francis Stanley and Grotesque Ophthalmological Malpractice