'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
BATTLE OF THE SEXES IS UNFAIR
A few weeks ago we discussed the fact that certain things in life are simply unfair. In the category of “Unfair, but what can you do about it?” is childbirth. Women have to do all the hard work regarding procreation, while men just sit back and wait to find out if it’s a boy or a girl, and hope the “blessed moment” does not occur during a crucial third-and-ten-at-the-26-yard-line situation on the hospital TV.
In the category of “Unfair, and it’s our own fault” is the difference between men’s and women’s fashions. Women have been conditioned to agonize over every last detail of clothing, shoes, makeup, hair, nails, and jewelry—just to get ready to drive the dog to the vet—or else they are considered frumpy. While men can get away with throwing on just about any garments lying in a heap on the bedroom floor and still be considered properly dressed. The only exception is if men are about to take part in a formal event, such as deliver the eulogy at a state funeral, in which case they can still throw on the garments from the floor, but they also must grab a tie.
After that column appeared in the newspaper, I received some email messages pointing out that childbirth and fashions are just the tip of the iceberg of gross unfairness between the sexes. One message said: “Women also do all the cooking and cleaning and child-rearing, while men just sit on the couch watching sports on TV.” (Actually, that particular note was not emailed to me; it was hand-written and then slid across the dinner table to me.)
One email note lamented the unfairness of public restrooms. Good point. We’ve all seen that same sad sight at various restaurants, hotels, churches, theaters, or other public buildings: the men’s room is just kind of sitting there quietly, with the occasional guy going in or out; and then a few feet away is the ladies’ room, with a line of anxious women stretching down the hall, out the door, into the parking lot, and halfway around the block.
Many of the women in line are visibly shaking, partly because they’re afraid their bladders are about to burst, and partly because they’re afraid the bladder of a woman nearby is about to burst, an occurrence that, although rare, usually leaves permanent stains on the clothing of everyone within a 25-foot radius. Also, it usually sets off the building’s fire alarm.
Once in a while the women standing in line cannot tolerate the rank unfairness of the situation any longer, and they rise up in revolt, defiantly storming the nearby men’s room with the intention of using the guys’ toilets. However, these impromptu revolutions are never successful because of the point made by another email note I received, one which declared that the worst, most unfair difference of all between men and women is the fact that men have no sense of smell.
Well, more specifically, men certainly can smell things, it’s just that they are rarely offended by what they smell—especially themselves. Women, on the other hand, are constantly offended, often to the point of gagging, by a myriad of aromas: stale beer, cigars, three-day-old Chinese food, moldy sweat socks, old sneakers, WD-40, Slim Jims, favorite baseball hats with seven years of overlapping sweat stains, the morning after an All-You-Can-Eat Chili Night at the VFW hall, and of course, the men’s rooms in public buildings.
It’s so unfair, I feel embarrassed. Maybe we men can help the situation by remembering to purchase cans of lemon-scented WD-40.
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