Gender Bias

Men and women simply disagree on a few essential points.

Here we are, nearly four weeks into the New Millennium, and we still haven't straightened out everything that's wrong with our society? What are we waiting for? We need to stop stagulating and get on with it.

For your information, the new word "stagulating" is the product of a collaborative effort by my friend Stew and myself. It's one of those Jabberwocky-type words that just sounds right. It means "to drag one's heels so as to avoid one's clear responsibility" or "to unnecessarily add clutter so as to prevent the completion of that which needs to be done." Stew originally coined the word as "skagulating," but I pointed out that people from Southern California would take it to mean "quit looking like either an unattractive female or that little fin at the bottom of a surfboard," so we agreed on "stagulating."

We submitted it to Webster's to see if they would add it to their new edition of the American Dictionary. So far, no luck. Those Webster people have been so enamored with dot-com nonsense over the past few years they don't have time for useful stuff. This year, I sent them a note that read, "Quit stagulating over 'stagulating.'" I figured with dictionary people, that would pass for humor and perhaps even irony. I'll keep you posted.

In life--as in math--the key to solving any problem lies in the clear and proper identification thereof. Some of the things that many people consider insurmountable problems are merely quirks, natural divergences of opinion or taste. There are some things, for example, that men and women simply disagree on. Those don't necessarily need to be fixed; they should be accepted, even embraced.

As the French say: "Vive la différence." (Of course, the French also eat snails and bathe only in months that end in "y," except for July, when they're all out celebrating their "independence," which was marked by severed heads and a prison riot.)

I asked 27 guys who play in the same basketball league as I to cite examples of things on which men and women will never agree. Twenty-four of the responses could never be printed, even among the ads we run in the back. Two others might be reworked and submitted as an idea for an upcoming issue of Oprah magazine. And the last guy said something that, while it didn't add to the discussion in any way, certainly explained why he likes to hand-check so much on defense.

Anyway, here are some of the things we came up with, things on which men and women will never agree (and I'm not just talking easy stuff, like The Three Stooges; we're talking things that are almost important):

Blue eye shadow. Well, on men, we all agree. That stuff went out with Culture Club's "Church of the Poison Mind." But on women, it has never worked. Why do they even make it? Hookers don't even wear blue eye shadow. Have you even known one guy who liked the way that looked on a woman?

Maybe there is something to the claim that some women make that they don't dress or use makeup just to attract men.

Toilet paper. Actually, I'm pretty sure we all agree on toilet paper. The problem is that men don't understand why it actually has to be put on that dispenser thing. The roll fits perfectly well if you stand it on the roller and lean it against the wall. Besides, it's all going to get used up and then you'll just have to take the cardboard roll off the rack and dispose of it, anyway.

Men are just being efficient and thoughtful. We don't want anybody getting hurt popping that roller out of its brackets. And Lord knows we're not going to do it.

Barbecue sauce. Condiment or fashion accessory? This one splits cleanly along gender lines.

The Longest Yard. Women just don't seem to understand that this is one of the great movies of all time. It's got guys in prison, sex in prison with a woman (remember the Bernadette Peters cameo?), lots of football, and gunfire. The fact that this thing didn't make the American Film Institute Top 100 Films of All Time list only proves that the AFI has been taken over by radical feminists and/or people who like Joan Crawford movies.

Sinatra. Frank Sinatra was without a doubt the coolest person of the 20th century. Not Elvis, not James Brown, not even Soupy Sales. He did what he wanted when he wanted and he had sufficient talent, testicular capacity and Mob connections to tell anybody who didn't like it what they could do. He hung out with black people when it could have been a career-killer for anybody else. He married and divorced Ava Gardner. And he played a significant part in The Making of the President 1960.

But his singing is the deal. His voice had swagger. Oddly enough, while he first rose to fame amid the screams of teenage girls, as his career progressed over the decades, he became strictly a guy thing. The scene in What Women Want where Mel Gibson dances to a Sinatra tune, all the guys who got dragged to the theater just smile and nod appreciatively. (Of course, all the women who are watching Gibson dance are smiling and nodding appreciatively, as well, but for different reasons.)

There's another great movie scene involving Frank. In the Barry Levinson film Liberty Heights, an angry father is giving a ride home to a boy he found in his daughter's room. The two teenagers had only been listening to records, but the dad was pissed, nonetheless. They rode, without speaking, listening to the radio. As they pull up to the kid's house, the man says, "Get out."

But the kid, focused on the radio, says, "But that's Frank Sinatra." The two sit in silence, sharing the moment. Only after Sinatra squeezes every drop out of the last note does the kid exit the car. And every guy understands.