This column was originally published on Sept. 26, 1999.
So I was at this party, and I wound up at a table where three attractive single women were complaining about - Surprise! - men. Specifically, they were complaining about the pickup lines that had been used on them in a bar a few nights earlier.
One woman said: "This guy comes up to me and says, 'Are you a teacher?' I mean, is that supposed to be romantic?"
All three women rolled all six of their eyes.
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Another one of them said: "This guy says to me, 'I've been looking at you all night!' So I go, 'Hel-LO, we just GOT here.' "
At this point, all three women - and I want to stress that these are intelligent, nice women - were laughing. Not me. I was feeling bad for the guys.
I realize that there are certain hardships that only females must endure, such as childbirth, waiting in lines for public-restroom stalls, and a crippling, psychotic obsession with shoe color. Also, females tend to reach emotional maturity very quickly, so that by age 7 they are no longer capable of seeing the humor in loud inadvertent public blasts of flatulence, whereas males can continue to derive vast enjoyment from this well into their 80s.
So I grant that it is not easy being a female. But I contend that nature has given males the heaviest burden of all: the burden of always having to Make the First Move, and thereby risk getting Shot Down. I don't know WHY males get stuck with this burden, but it's true throughout the animal kingdom. If you watch the nature shows on the Discovery Channel, you'll note that whatever species they are talking about - birds, crabs, spiders, clams - it is ALWAYS the male who has to take the initiative. It's always the male bird who does the courting dance, making a total moron of himself, while the female bird just stands there, looking aloof, thinking about what she's going to tell her girlfriends. ("And then he hopped around on one foot! Like I'm supposed to be impressed by THAT!").
Male insects have it the worst. The Discovery Channel announcer is always saying things like: "After the mating, the female mantis bites off the male mantis' head, and then she and her girlfriend mantises use it to play a game that looks a lot like Skee Ball."
Because I live in Florida, my patio is basically a giant singles bar for lizards. On any given day during mating season, I'll see dozens of male lizards out there making their most suave lizard move, which consists of inflating and deflating a red pouch under their chins. They seem to think that female lizards really go for a guy with a big chin pouch, but I have never once, in 14 years of close observation, seen a female respond. They just squat there looking bored, while all around them males are blinking on and off like defective warning lights.
Every now and then you'll see an offbeat TV news story about some animal, usually a moose, that has for some reason fallen in love with, and decided to relentlessly court, something totally inappropriate, such as a lawn tractor. This animal is ALWAYS a male. On the TV, they show it hanging around the lawn tractor with a big, sad, moony look, totally smitten, while the lawn tractor cruelly ignores it.
My point here is that, in matters of the heart, males have the brains of a walnut. No, wait! That is not my point. My point is that perhaps you women could cut us males a little bit of slack in the move-making process, because we are under a lot of stress. I vividly remember when I was in 10th grade, and I wanted to call a girl named Patty and ask her to a dance, and before I picked up the phone, I spent maybe 28 hours rehearsing exactly what I was going to say. So when I actually made the call, I was pretty smooth.
"Hello, Dance?" I said. "This is Patty. Do you want to go to the Dave with me?"
Fortunately Patty grasped the basic thrust of my gist and agreed to go to the dance. This was a good thing, because if she had shot me down, I would have been so humiliated that I would have never have been able to go back to school. I would have dropped out of 10th grade and lied about my age and joined the U.S. armed forces, and as a direct result the Russians would have won the Cold War.
That is the awesome power that you women have over us men. I hope you understand this, and the next time a guy walks up and uses some incredibly lame, boneheaded line on you, I hope that, instead of laughing at him, you will remember that he is under the intense pressure of wanting to impress you enough so that you might want to get to know him better and maybe eventually, perhaps within the next 15 minutes, mate with him, thereby enabling the survival of the human race, which believe me is the only thing that we males are truly concerned about.
In conclusion, let me just say to all females everywhere, on behalf of all males everywhere, that you are very beautiful and your eyes are like two shining stars, unless you're a female fly, in which case your eyes are more like 2,038 shining stars. So please give us a chance. And if you're not interested, could you introduce us to your lawn tractor?
(c) Dave Barry
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