This isn’t the first time I’ve tackled the differences between men and women as the subject for a humor column. It’s always tricky, because no one rule or size fits all.
I once received a letter from an angry woman reader in response to a column I’d written about fishing. I’d gone on about how only a man would spend untold fortunes on the latest in scientific fish-finders, baits, lures and pontoons (no self-respecting North Country fisherman could claim the title of expert angler without a pontoon), only to spend an entire day in said inflatable boat batting away mosquitoes, drinking his lunch, and not caring, really, if he caught a fish.
Catching a fish, to a man, is not the point of fishing. This does not make sense to a woman, especially when she can’t park her car in the garage because of his pontoon.
And, to me, “jigging for crappies” or “twitching a Swedish pimple” just felt inherently masculine. Fishing guy stuff.
Despite all of man’s savvy and high-tech goodies that he’ll use to catch the big one, he often won’t. Then, along comes a woman who’ll reel in a whale with a doughball and a bent hair pin in two minutes, then ask “Is this a good one?” Ack!
My lady reader took great exception to this, lambasting me for suggesting that women can’t, won’t or don’t know how to fish. I never posited this; I was only trying to say that somewhere beyond our anatomical differences, out where the crappie meets the jig and the pimple twitches, men and women are not the same.
Show me any woman, for instance, who would ever see the logic of showering with your clothes on. I tried to defend this practice once to a female when I lived alone in a third-floor walkup with no washer & drier. Lather up, wash the clothes, rinse, undress, lather, rinse, repeat, towel-off and hang the wet stuff on the shower rod.
Laundry done. Body bathed. All in one chore. Simple.
“That’s crazy,” she said, and not long afterward she stopped taking my phone calls.
I’ve lived alone since last year when my dear wife Judy passed on, and I’m here to defend a few tips (already preparing for my reader mail) on how to best accomplish living alone as a man.
The “performance” level of any task radically changed when I found myself only having to do for myself. I now prop up and repair broken things with a different sense of aesthetics and funky functions. Okay, I do have a washer and drier and I have since taken a shower or two in my skivvies, but that was due to sleep deprivation, not logic.
In the kitchen, Judy was a gourmet cook, and I’ve been left to fend for my food and cooking alone. I’ve slowly adapted, but let’s just say I lack culinary finesse for some things. I never knew, for example, that an egg cooked in a microwave would cause it to explode when you stick it with a fork, but I also learned that a wire brush duct-taped to the blunt end of a broomstick will get dried egg off the ceiling.
Food shopping for one is a whole new adventure. If I don’t bring home enough, I need a slide rule to reconfigure recipes. Too much, and the leftover casseroles turn into fuzzy green science projects. Rotating tires works, but rotating moldy macaroni doesn’t.
I do find that I talk to myself out loud occasionally, and will often agree with me after listening closely. Sometimes I take exception to my side of the story, but I’ve learned that I can be easily persuaded. I don’t suggest doing this in public, but it will thin out the line at the post office as people make way for you and yourself.
For some reason, with half the humanity here, I also thought there’d be less need for cleaning & vacuuming in the house. Another myth debunked, but I’m not worried. If it weren’t for dust bunnies, I’d have no pets at all.
Except for maybe a big fish story or two.
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Senior Wire News Service syndicated humor columnist B. Elwin Sherman writes from Bethlehem, NH. Copyright 2013 by B. Elwin Sherman. All rights reserved. Used here with permission.