We've read a lot lately about how women are working more; and even though they make less money than male colleagues at work, they often earn more than their spouses; yet they still run the household and take care of the kids. Women need a man as much as . . . what's the old saying, like a fish needs a bicycle?
A new PBS special Makers: Women Who Make America chronicles the women's movement starting in the 1960s, up through the Anita Hill fiasco in the early 1990s. And a recent book The End of Men by Hanna Rosin argues that women are no longer gaining on men, they have pulled decisively ahead -- they do better in school, they get more graduate degrees, they earn more money, they live longer than men. In short, women are taking over the world.
Well, I've been around the block a few times and know something about gender. And I'm here to say: Not so fast!
Men are still better than women in many important categories and endeavors of life. Let me count the ways:
1) Men can reach the top shelf. And not just in the kitchen. They can reach up there in the garage, the basement, even in your clothes closet.
2) Men can unscrew a new jar of jelly or olives or any other jar from the grocery store that is screwed down so tight it takes a real -- shall I say it? -- man to open the damn thing.
3) Men offer a lot of advice -- all for free.
4) Men know how to gamble. I'm not saying they know how to win, just that they know how to gamble.
5) Men have incredible focus and an unbelievable attention span. I mean, have you ever tried to watch a baseball game, or a golf match, all the way through? They can play a violent video game for 6 or 8 hours, without stopping.
6) Men have an understated but always-appreciated social skill involving -- as my friend Joe the golfer likes to say -- the ability to "grace you with the gift of their absence," especially on a Saturday or Sunday during golf season.
7) Men can fix things. Well, some men can fix things. Other men try to fix things, then after they break them, they know how to call in the expert. Either way, they care of the mechanical things in your life.
8) As politicians prove over and over again, men can yell louder than women, they can interrupt more often, and they have the ability to completely ignore what that the other person is saying.
9) Men do yard work . . . at least, as long as they can use some kind of heavy machinery.
10) Men have a sense of humor. Seriously, in a study of 1,200 cases of public speaking, neither males nor females laughed as much with female speakers as they did with male speakers, explaining, said the study, the paucity of female comedians. Another study of personal ads showed that men offered "sense of humor" as a dating virtue, while women requested laughter more than twice as often as they offered it. Women couldn't care less whether their ideal mate laughs or not -- they want a male who makes them laugh.
And if you're not laughing by now, I guess that explains why I couldn't get a date in high school!