THE GENDER GAP

By Dave Barry

I believe that, in general, women are saner than men.

For example: If you see people who have paid good money to stand in an outdoor stadium on a freezing December day wearing nothing on the upper halves of their bodies except paint, those people will be male.

Without males, there would be no such sport as professional lawn mower racing.

Also, there would be a 100 percent decline in the annual number of deaths related to efforts to shoot beer cans off of heads.

There would be no such words as "wedgie" and "noogie."

Also, if women were in charge of all the world's nations there would be, (I sincerely believe this) virtually no military conflicts, and when there were a military conflict, everybody involved would feel just awful and there would soon be a high-level exchange of thoughtful notes written on greeting cards with flowers on the front, followed by a Peace Luncheon (which would be salads, with the dressing on the side).

So I sincerely believe that women are wiser than men, with the exception of one key area, and that area is: clothing sizes. In this particular area, women are insane.

When a man shops for clothes, his primary objective-follow me closely here-is to purchase clothes that fit on his particular body. A man will try on a pair of pants, and if those pants are too small, he'll try on a larger pair, and when he finds a pair that fits, he buys them. Most men do not spend a lot of time fretting about the size of their pants. Many men wear jeans with the size printed right on the back label, so that if you're standing behind a man in a supermarket line, you can read his waist and inseam size. A man could have, say, a 52-inch waist and a 30-inch inseam, and his label will proudly display this information, which is basically the same thing as having a sign that says: "Howdy! My butt is the size of a Federal Express truck!"

The situation is very different with women. When a woman shops for clothes, her primary objective is NOT to find clothes that fit her particular body. She would like for that to be the case, but her primary objective is to purchase clothes that are the size she wore when she was 19 years old. This will be some arbitrary number such as "8" or "10." Don't ask me "8" or "10" of what; that question has baffled scientists for centuries. All I know is that if a woman was a size 8 at age 19, she wants to be a size 8 now, and if a size 8 outfit does not fit her, she will not move on to a larger size: She can't! Her size is 8, dammit! So he will keep trying on size 8 items, and unless they start fitting her, she will become extremely unhappy. She may take this unhappiness out on her husband, who is waiting patiently in the mall, perhaps browsing in the Sharper Image store, trying to think of how he could justify purchasing a pair of night-vision binoculars.

"Hi!" he'll say, when his wife finds him. "You know how sometimes the electricity goes out at night and . . ."

"Am I fat?" she'll ask, cutting him off.

This is a very bad situation for the man, because if he answers "yes," she'll be angry because he's saying that she's fat, and if he answers "no," she'll be angry because HE'S OBVIOUSLY LYING BECAUSE NONE OF THE SIZE 8's FIT HER. There is no escape for the husband. I think a lot of unexplained disappearances occur because guys in malls see their wives unsuccessfully trying on outfits, and they realize their lives will be easier if, before their wives come out and demand to know whether they're fat, the guys just run off and join a UFO cult.

The other day my wife, Michelle, was in a terrific mood, and you know why? Because she had successfully put on a size 6 outfit. She said this made her feel wonderful. She said, and this is a direct quote: "I wouldn't care if these pants were this big (here she held her arms far apart) as long as they have a '6' on them."

Here's how you could get rich: Start a women's clothing store called "SIZE 2," in which all garments, including those that were originally intended to be restaurant awnings, had labels with the words "SIZE 2." I bet you'd sell clothes like crazy. You'd probably get rich, and you could retire, maybe take up some philanthropic activity to benefit humanity. I'm thinking here of professional lawn mower racing.

Copyright c 1997 The Miami Herald The following is actual text from a 1950's Home Economics textbook intended for High School girls, teaching how to prepare for married life.

  1. Have dinner ready: Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal - on time. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him, and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospects of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.

  2. Prepare yourself: Take 15 minutes to rest so you will be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift.

  3. Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives, gathering up school books, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too.

  4. Prepare the children: Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces if they are small, comb their hair, and if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.

  5. Minimize the noise: At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of washer, dryer, dishwasher, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and be glad to see him.

  6. Some DON'TS: Don't greet him with problems or complaints. Don't complain if he's late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day.

  7. Make him comfortable: Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax and unwind.

  8. Listen to him: You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first.

  9. Make the evening his: Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment; instead try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his need to be home and relax.

  10. 10. The Goal: Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can relax.

Now the updated version for the '90s woman.

  1. Have dinner ready: Make reservations ahead of time. If your day becomes too hectic just leave him a voice mail message regarding where you'd like to eat and at what time. This lets him know that your day has been crappy and gives him an opportunity to change your mood.

  2. Prepare yourself: A quick stop at the "LANCOME" counter on your way home will do wonders for your outlook and will keep you from becoming irritated every time he opens his mouth. (Don't forget to use his credit card!)

  3. Clear away the clutter: Call the housekeeper and tell her that any miscellaneous items left on the floor by the children can be placed in the Goodwill box in the garage.

  4. Prepare the children: Send the children to their rooms to watch television or play Nintendo.

  5. Minimize the noise: If you happen to be home when he arrives, be in the bathroom with the door locked.

  6. Some DON'TS: Don't greet him with problems and complaints. Let him speak first, and then your complaints will get more attention and remain fresh in his mind throughout dinner. Don't complain if he's late for dinner; simply remind him that the leftovers are in the refrigerator and you left the dishes for him to do.

  7. Make him comfortable: Tell him where he can find a blanket if he's cold. This will really show you care.

  8. Listen to him: But don't ever let him get the last word.

  9. Make the evening his: Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment; go with a friend or go shopping (use his credit card).

  10. The Goal: Try to keep things amicable without reminding him that he only thinks the world revolves around him.

Collection of short funny quotes...

You see a lot of smart guys with dumb women, but you hardly ever see a smart woman with a dumb guy.

- Erica Jong

I want to have children, but my friends scare me. One of my friends told me she was in labor for 36 hours. I don't even want to do anything that feels GOOD for 36 hours.

- Rita Rudner

I figure that if the children are alive when I get home, I've done my job.

- Roseanne

My husband and I are either going to buy a dog or have a child. We can't decide to ruin our carpet or ruin our lives.

- Rita Rudner

I was on a date recently, and the guy took me horseback riding. That was kind of fun, until we ran out of quarters.

- Susie Loucks

This guy says, "I'm perfect for you, 'cause I'm a cross between a macho and a sensitive man." I said, "Oh, a gay trucker?"

- Judy Tenuta

He tricked me into marrying him. He told me he was pregnant.

- Carol Leifer

I've been on so many blind dates, I should get a free dog.

- Wendy Liebman

Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth.

- Erma Bombeck

If high heels were so wonderful, men would be wearing them.

- Sue Grafton

I base my fashion taste on what doesn't itch.

- Gilda Radner

I'm not going to vacuum 'til Sears makes one you can ride on.

- Roseanne

I would love to speak a foreign language, but I can't. So I grew hair under my arms instead.

- Sue Kolinsky

I look just like the girls next door . . . if you happen to live next door to an amusement park.

- Dolly Parton

I'm not offended by all the dumb blond jokes because I know I'm not dumb...
and I also know that I'm not blond.

- Dolly Parton

I found out why cats drink out of the toilet. My mother told me it's because it's cold in there. And I'm like: How did my mother know THAT?

- Wendy Liebman

I think - therefore I'm single

- Lizz Winstead

Received from an English Professor:

You know that book Men are from Mars, Women from Venus? Well, here's a prime example of that. This assignment was actually turned in by two of my English students:

Rebecca - last name deleted and Gary - last name deleted
English 44A
SMU
Creative Writing
Prof. Miller

In-class Assignment for Wednesday
Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his or her immediate right. One of you will then write the first paragraph of a short story. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back and forth. Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached.

At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.

Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S. Harris to Geostation 17," he said into his transgalactic communicator. "Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far..." But before he could sign off a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit. He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. "Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel."

Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth -- when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. "Why must one lose one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully. Little did she know, but she has less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through Congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion which vaporized Laurie and 85 million other Americans. The President slammed his fist on the conference table. "We can't allow this! I'm going to veto that treaty! Let's blow 'em out of the sky!"

This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic, semi-literate adolescent.

Yeah? Well, you're a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium.

Asshole.

Bitch.

The average woman would rather have beauty than brains, because the average man can see better than he can think.

A man went to the doctor's. The doctor came in and said, "well, I've got some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that you have an inoperable brain tumor. The good news is our hospital has just been certified to do brain transplants and there has been an accident right out front and a young couple was killed and you can have whichever brain you'd like. The man's brain costs $100,000 and the woman's brain costs $30,000."

The patient could not help but ask, "Why such a large difference between the male and the female brain?"

The doctor replied, "The female brain is used."

WHAT WOMEN SAY & REALLY MEAN:

CAN'T WE JUST BE FRIENDS?
There is no way in hell I'm going to let any part of your body touch any part of mine, again.

I JUST NEED SOME SPACE.
... without you in it.

DO I LOOK FAT IN THIS DRESS?
We haven't had a fight in a while.

NO, PIZZA'S FINE.
... you cheap slob!

I JUST DON'T WANT A BOYFRIEND NOW.
I just don't want you as a boyfriend now.

I DON'T KNOW, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?
I can't believe you have nothing planned.

COME HERE.
My puppy does this, too.

I LIKE YOU, BUT...
I don't like you.

OF COURSE I LOVE YOU.
... just not in that way.

YOU NEVER LISTEN.
You never listen.

WE'RE MOVING TOO QUICKLY.
I'm not going to sleep with you until I find out if this guy at the gym has a girlfriend.

I'LL BE READY IN A MINUTE.
I'm ready, but I'm going to make you wait because I know you will.

OH, NO, I'LL PAY FOR MYSELF.
I'm just being nice; there's no way I'm going dutch.

OH YES!!! RIGHT THERE!!
Well, near there; I just want to get this over with.

I'M JUST GOING OUT WITH THE GIRLS.
We're gonna get sloppy and make fun of you and your friends.

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