I like men.
Don’t get me wrong, they’re strange creatures. Furry and often foul smelling, they squat on a branch of the evolutionary tree in such a way that they can reach food, fondle themselves and poop off the branch with a minimum of effort, but with great hilarity over the splat it makes when it hits the ground. Women live in a condo four or five branches above the men. With walk-in closets. And plugs for our hair straighteners.
Most of the men I know are good-humoured, hard-working, and while it might be a stretch to say they are consistently thoughtful and polite toward women, they certainly enjoy female company, and even at their most feral, they make me smile.
I especially like watching men when they are all together in a group, being social, interacting with one another. It’s kind of like going to the zoo.
There are several things that men do when they are in groups, with women present, which I think must be common to all groupings of men. Obviously, I have no idea how they interact when it’s just the guys. I expect I will die happy, not knowing.
“I have a penis.”
Men want women to know this, and they want other men to know that women know this, and they want to make sure that in sharing this fact, their penis is assumed to be not only the biggest in the room, but also the most active, most skilled, happiest penis known to man. Known to woman. Whatever.
Sometimes the penis reference is stated directly, with no room for misinterpretation:
“I’ve been thinking with my penis since I was twelve. It’s often led me astray, but I still believe it has my best interests at heart.”
Other times, the presence of the penis and its sublime majesty is more subtle:
“I drank twenty-eight beer and a quart of whiskey and came home with this tattoo and a weird bruise on my chin.”
Either way, you know he’s a man.
Some men like to brag about their sexual prowess in bold, self-deprecating ways designed to amuse, or alarm, or intimidate the other penises in the room. Comments about their technique, their speed, frequency of use, and of course, size, are commonplace when men hang out together.
Women don’t do this. I have never heard a woman imply, with pride, that she did it in under seven minutes, or that her vagina is bigger or more impressive than that of her friend.
This obsession with all things penile extends to their love of words as well. Most men, whether twelve, or fifty-five, will chuckle when a woman says any of the following:
“Pour me a stiff one.”
“Come help me lift this? I can’t get it up by myself.”
“If you slide it in here, I think it will work.”
Even the innocent comment of “I’m coming”, or “Are you coming?”, or “Come with me”, elicits a fleeting look of barely restrained bliss to cross their faces.
I think it must be really fun to be a man, with such an endless source of entertainment available at hand.
At hand… get it…?
“My wife has the menopause.”
In my demographic, menopause is a reality. For the women, and oddly enough, for the men as well. Men suffer the torments of menopause, and their story of woe brings a tear to the eye.
“She’s got the menopause, so it’s hot flash: sheets off… hot flash over: sheets on. Sheets off…sheets on. I didn’t sleep a wink.”
It must be truly awful, being a man.
(Many of them feel gravely oppressed by the abuses of menstruation as well, but one wonders how they would cope if their penis bled for five days.)
Yet, there seems to be a kind of rugged pride expressed in their hardiness at surviving these horomonal inconveniencies. If a man can survive the leaking, sweating, weeping, mood swinging melt-downs of his wife or partner, he earns the commiserating nods of his brethren. They shake their heads in sympathy, they smile. They hand him another beer.
I’m sure it’s been said before, but men are an integral part of so many of women’s issues. Menstruation, menopause, mental health, manic depression. We are demanding, we start arguments, we act demented. No wonder men love women. We are two parts of a hole. Oops, sorry… whole. I meant whole!
“Arr, arr, arr, arrrr.”
Male friendships are beautiful to behold. Men can say things to each other, and remain friends, where similar comments between women would end in cat fights. (Which some men would pay money to watch.) I would never suggest to my female friend that her breasts are too small, or that she smells like a pig farm, or that there is a distinct possibility that her mother had intercourse with her uncle which has resulted in her own deficient mental capacities. These are not things women say to each other. Men do, though. And no one gets mad.
Greg can call Bill’s girlfriend by Bill’s ex-wife’s name, and Bill’s reaction is, “Yeah, I almost did that last night, too.” The men all guffaw. The girlfriend raises an eyebrow. Greg blushes. Someone passes him a beer. Crisis averted.
Women’s friendships are more volatile, less likely to recover from perceived slights, and don’t usually involve dead animals. Male friendships blossom over the carcass of a recent kill. It’s probably a penis thing.
I’m reading a book right now telling me that our young men are becoming ineffectual losers because they are addicted to video games and on-line porn. (The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It, by Philip G. Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan) The idea is that men are going to be incapable of creating and sustaining successful relationships with women because of issues ranging from lack of male role models, to the power trip of controlling virtual worlds, to an abiding fascination with lingerie.
Wait a minute. Haven’t men always had an abiding fascination with lingerie?
There are compelling statistics that indicate that we are facing dire consequences of unemployment, impotence, and addictions, and that as the male population gradually weakens, women will begin to rule the world. What a dull place that would be!
I fear for the future of both genders, since we will continue to choose each other, with all of our various flaws and quirks and idiosyncracies. Since before the dawn of time some women have been bitches and some men have been jerks, but with over seven billion people on the planet, I think we must be getting something right. I hope my daughters will have the opportunity to hang out at the zoo with men who scratch themselves, and spit, and make off-color jokes about everything from clams to camel toes. Because they’re really funny.
Oh, my man is calling me, gotta go.
“Hang on honey, I’m coming!”
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