Can you imagine a world without men?  No crime and lots of happy fat women.  ~Sylvia, by cartoonist Nicole Hollander

After perusing the news today, I think it’s fair to say that most men waltz through life having their cake and eating it too. Women merely lick the frosting and then go retch in the bathroom.

Powerful men like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dominique Strauss-Kahn have both been accused of ‘boorish’ behavior towards women for decades. I love that word choice. As if raping, impregnating, harassing, or tieing up someone else for your sexual gratification is somehow just ‘uncouth’ or ‘ill-mannered’ of you. With both of these men, their ‘lapses of judgement’ have been documented more than enough times to establish a pattern. Even so, headlines still scream, “Could DSK Have Been Set-Up?” Um…no. Wise up, people! At long last these two men are having to come clean and step on the scales of justice.

Of course most men don’t have quite as much power as these two men had. Or as much money. And I don’t believe for a second that most men treat women in any sort of criminal fashion. But most men do have the basic luxury of simply being men. They are the bread-winners, the movers-and-shakers, the Lotharios, the ‘deciders’  of this world, as one such inexplicably powerful man once famously said. While women, women are supposed to bake the cake, serve it up, then shy away from eating a piece. We all know it stays on the hips forever.

In almost every circumstance, unless you are a man who is a governor, movie-star, lives in two different places, with two entirely different sets of ‘staff’, and two completely separate families as well, women’s lives are more hectic than their male counter-parts. Arnold really does skew the statistics here! In general, however, women are expected to do more, with much less money, than their male counterparts, each and every day. And this leads to worry.   

Men worry on occasion – about particulars – while women just worry, period. Men only fret about their car running out of gas if it is happening at that very moment. Men do not hesitate to screech across three lanes of freeway traffic in order to catch an off-ramp. Men do not tense up if they are driving during a particularly fierce rainstorm, nor do they necessarily even slow down.

Women slow down even when it isn’t raining. Women slow down because they worry about everyone’s safety. They slow down because they are trying to remember all the things they have to do. They slow down to look in the mirror to see how they look while they are worried about doing all the things they have to do. They slow down to check on their wallet and their kids and the other cars zooming by, and to read the road signs so that they know where they are going, so they can look good while they worry about paying for everything they need to do.

Men operate differently. When a man has a child who is crying, he thinks, “the child is crying”. When a woman has a child who is crying, she thinks, “What did I feed her for lunch? Is that rash on her legs flaring up? Has she had a nap yet? What time did she wake up this morning? Do I have all the poisons put away, or did I leave ant spray on the counter? Goodness, her face looks puffy! Should I take her to the doctor or call poison control? Has she had a BM today? Maybe she just needs to sit on the potty! Where is a potty?”

This vast difference in worry levels is the same no matter where you’re at in the day. Take grooming. Men get out of bed, shower and shave, then leave. Rarely do they even speak unless they need to find something. Women fret and turn in circles all along the way. 

“Which yellow? Mustard or butter? With the polka-dots?

She tied it on the teddy bear. Right there on the shelf.

She wanted you to take it to work, that’s why. Remember?

That’s just sand. From the beach.

Last weekend. Remember?

I’ll put it on my list.

Don’t run through here right now, girls.

I told you, it’s wet and sandy and the iron’s set up.

Young man, I said clean underwear!

Turn away, then.

If you don’t want to see me naked, don’t come in here while I’m trying to get dressed.

Yes, other people iron naked, too. I guarantee it.

Can you let me finish brushing my teeth before you do that in here, please?

I need to sign it right now? Where is it?

How do I sign it then?

Five dollars? Look in my wallet.

Stop crying. He’ll take Mr. Teddy tomorrow.

What is that? Right there?

Don’t step on it!

No, that’s not sand. Now where is the damn dog?

The whole time you’re doing all of that, you’re trying to find shoes that atrophy your feet, mascara that clumps your eyelashes together and makes them fall out, concealer to cover up the worry lines all over your face, and a bra that will hoist your little ladies up and make it seem like you never had all these damned kids in the first place.

While your man walks on out the door, leaving you there, screaming and half-naked, worrying about it all. Don’t even get me started on child-birth or pregnancy or society’s primordial focus on beauty at the expense of all else. I’m already strung out for the day. I contend that if Albert Einstein had been a woman, she would have had some serious plucking to do on those eyebrows before anyone would have focused any of their attention on her theory of relativity!

Of course, we do need men in the world. Who else would turn off the fire-alarm when it beeps in the middle of the night? Who would install World of Warcraft III on the computer, or figure out how to explain ‘mental telepathy’ to a four-year-old? Who else would tell your teenage son how to access the family bank account while Mom’s off in the back room having a nervous breakdown? 

Truth be told, women silently think none of those things are all that important to begin with. A world without men, with no crime and lots of happy fat women sounds pretty darn good sometimes! Almost as good as a piece of cake. Or one of your kids bringing you a cup of tea and saying, “Mom, tell me – why did Mr. Rochester keep his wife hidden in the attic away from Jane Eyre?”

Yes, it’s great to be a man. Until justice crashes your party. If only justice weren’t so chronically late.

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