stop calling me shirley


I’m trying not to be sexist, I’m really not – and we’re about to welcome a brand new boy into our family, so I’ve got to be on my best behavior – but what is it with guys? We are the saddest, hamhock-handed sacks of flesh on God’s green earth, and I’m not sure if any of us are remotely fine-tuned for the 21st century.

Let’s see…

Cons of being a guy:

– unprovoked bursts of rage

– no innate understanding of affection; must be taught love

– quick, meaningless orgasms followed by occasional idiopathic guilt

– constant unwanted erections from age 12 to 19 (or, really, 39)

– would rather close our own face in a hot waffle iron than admit fault

– can be brought 90% of the way through intimacy, but can only close the deal through objectification

– don’t want to talk about it, seriously, just shut the fuck up already

– violent roughhousing as toddlers melding into faggot jokes as teens

– constantly picking fights on the freeway

– incessant interruptions, usually leading to unflagging repetition of the same anecdote

– dime-store philosophy sold at 85 decibels as incontestable epiphany

– smelly

– persistent yet erroneous belief that she doesn’t know our true intentions

– biological relevancy ends at age 27

– grows fat, sickeningly hirsute, obtuse, bald-pated and sedentary over time

– while doing so, tends to choose female partners inversely reciprocal in age and physical desirability

– started, fought and finished almost every war in human history

– invented the nuclear bomb, leaded gasoline, fundamental religion and worldwide terror

– dies, on average, five years before women

Pros of being a guy:

– upper body strength

It’s amazing that we’re still in charge of anything. Sure, we have a certain rugged appeal to heterosexual women who may like the pheromonal smell, or the way we hold them on winter nights, but you get the feeling we’re all yesterday’s model. The only parts of myself that I really love – and the qualities I love about my brothers and my guy friends – could all be considered vaguely female. Sean and Jordana’s baby boy will be awesome, mostly because they will teach him how to transcend his manhood.

Self-loathing on my part? Sure. But sometimes you just have to hand it to the other gender when you know they’ve got you licked.

0 thoughts on “stop calling me shirley

  1. Chris M

    I will grant you that women smell a lot better than men. Indeed women make elevators bearable.
    But guys are better at killing household vermin and that’s not an insignificant trait.

  2. Joanna

    Oh, don’t listen to this. I remember when my son was born, my OB told me little boys always have a hug for their mama. She sure was right. I read a study recently that baby girls make eye contact with their mom’s 20 times more than boys and after having our daughter I believe it. But boys are the sweet snugglers. Ours is 4 and he now proudly proclaims, “I give GREAT hugs!” I think “no innate understanding of affection” is purely cultural. Italian men walk hand in hand, greet eachother with kisses and openly embrace.

  3. Just Andrew

    Hey you other guys reading Ian’s blog – give me a call so we can talk about today’s entry behind his back.

  4. GFWD

    Dude, kjf nailed it already with respect to some of the missing PROS of being a guy:
    We can write our names in the snow.
    We don’t get periods.
    We don’t have to pass something the size of a football out of our naughty bits in order to bring a child into the world.
    We’re generally taller.
    We work a remote control faster and more efficiently.
    So go grab a Scotch, sit on the couch, scratch, fart (and laugh about it) and rest that upper body. You never know when vermin may rear their ugly head causing you to have to spring into action.
    BTW, women are equal to the task when it comes to road rage. At least in the ATL. But they do smell better than us and they’re softer.

  5. scruggs

    Chris M:
    “But guys are better at killing household vermin and that’s not an insignificant trait.”
    Funny how you mention that because THIS VERY MINUTE we have the Rid-a-critter guy in our attic to address the squirrel up there b/c my husband can’t do it himself!

  6. Josie

    My son is a BIG personality but when compared to my daughter at the same age, he is an intellectual and physical neanderthal.
    I was talking to a child development expert about the differences between boys and girls and was given a true physiological reason for the gap.
    No notes on the science-speak, but there is a part of the brain that develops much earlier in girls than in boys, allowing the girls to process information with both sides of their brain at a very early age.
    No recollection about when the boys’ brains catch up, but from my empirical evidence, it’s probably sometime after age 45.

  7. Anne

    Aw, don’t sell yourself (-selves) short, Ian. We love you in spite of your foibles. I may find myself having better conversations and mutual support with women friends in my late-middle age, but I would never want to live in a world without men… potbellies and all. You guys are da sex. :-)
    Also: I think we’ve gotten past the need to label all traits male or female, eh?

  8. The other Lee

    I completely disagree with almost everything Ian wrote in this article. It sounds like you’ve been watching too many awful sitcoms like “Everybody Loves Raymond” “the King of Queens” and “The World According to Jim” where all men are fat, stupid, responsibility shirking sloths that exist only as comic foils to their young, attractive, intelligent, organized, go getter wives. Really Ian, I expected better of you than to derive any of your worldview from a hopefully dying TV genre that was derived on a completely false premise in the first place.
    For every bad thing that men have done we’ve done 100 positive things in Medecine, Science, Art, Literature and dozens of other worthwhile puruits.
    Forgive me for seeming a little bitter about it, but I’m just tired of the false stereotype of men as knuckle dragging troglodytes who have never contributed anything positive to the world.
    Et Tu Ian?

  9. Deb

    Of COURSE this post isn’t gospel. It’s mostly FUNNY. But *why*, pray tell, is it funny? Because it has its roots in truth. Even those offended by the generalizations have to admit that….they wouldn’t be offended if it didn’t ring true just a little.
    I’m very much pro-men (I think they get the unfounded short end of the stick in many arenas, such as child custody), and usually *hate* the kind of Mars/Venus e-mail forwards my mom sends me, precisely because they perpetuate stereotype. I’ve also got a little guy in my belly due out in 10 weeks, as well as a husband and four male cats, so I’m even more protective of the gender.
    That said….I’m so sorry, but there are a couple of things that, despite my best intentions to not generalize, are generally true about guys. Namely: They’re really bad at being sick. And they are missing the gene that allows one to find things. Having lived with a father, a brother, and a husband has given me the data I feel is necessary to make such informed assertions.

  10. Bob

    My wife likes to point out that both her father and I have an amazing capability to focus on one thing until something else comes into view at which point we retrain our focus on that thing and … what was that other thing we were supposed to be doing … oh bother.

  11. Piglet

    It sounds like you’ve been watching too many awful sitcoms like “Everybody Loves Raymond” “the King of Queens” and “The World According to Jim” where all men are fat, stupid, responsibility shirking sloths that exist only as comic foils to their young, attractive, intelligent, organized, go getter wives.
    Actually, any TV show with commercial interruptions will do. “Oh Herman, you doofus, you bought the bargain brand of bathroom tissue…”
    Ian, you need to read the Jacques LeClerq translation of Rabelais, for a refresher in the joys of being male. Either that, or go on one of those paint-your-face-and-go-Booga-Booga-in-the-forest walkabouts….

  12. xuxE

    the dime store philosophy at 85 decibels and constant interruptions were my favorites. reminds me of this song i wrote with my old band about my friend’s boyfriend, called “verbal diarrhea”…
    i think it’s funny and i do agree it’s stereotyping in the same way people stereotype gay men as effeminate hairdressers and not lumberjacks, pro-football players and longshoremen. but i’ve got 2 boys and you quickly find out that the stereotypes really aren’t true -unless you are actually living out and modeling rigid gender identities for your kid, you don’t have to worry, they really don’t come wired with these traits.
    i only have one note of caution – beware the old school feminist idea that it is only the men who get the sex-drive, and that whole *objectification of women* vs. cult of virginity thing they stirred up.
    someday your girls will all hit puberty.
    and you will be in for a rude awakening…:)

  13. ken

    What if you don’t KILL the vermin and simply let them outside to live another day? When our animals discovered a mouse and used at as a plaything, my wife wigged. I got it away from them, trapped it and let it outside, slightly dazed but alive. Being an animal lover, I can’t kill any animal (I don’t even like fishing because of this). Of course, gimme a prime rib any day of the week so long as I don’t have to kill it myself.
    Of course no good deed goes unpunished, after humanely letting the mouse outside and going to dinner, we returned to find that our cats and dog were playing with a mouse again, likely the same critter I freed hours before. The second time he didn’t fare so well.

  14. Piglet

    “What if you don’t KILL the vermin and simply let them outside to live another day?”
    You mean, just transport them and give them a stern lecture on the consequences of crossing your border without the proper Green card documentation?

  15. Alan

    Pro: innate pride in the unprofitable and off-putting whether it is smelliness or railroad memorabilia collecting or the shed out back. A man is only fit for life to the degree he daydreams of that slightly smelly, really worn arm chair out in the shed where he can waste a sunny afternoon having a beer or two watching the line of a shadow move slowly across the floor as an AM radio plays a baseball game.

  16. tregen

    I am assuming this is on of your “spoof” posts. If not, you need to spend some time getting your balls back. Good grief, based on your blog your wife does not seem like the ball crushing, demascualting type so I am going to assume you are doing this to yourself. Snap out of it boy. We rule the world and the house because we can and because everyone wants us to, women and men alike. Of course we share decisions and rely on each other but in the end it is your duty in life to provide and protect. Pull it together.

  17. michelle

    Oh, tregen. Oh, really, now. If men actually did provide and protect, then perhaps you’d have a point. I can say, with clear head and heart, that you, men, do not rule my world nor my house, and if somewhere deep down in me I “want” you to, well, I’d really have to see proof positive that you are up to the job. I am no man-hater; indeed, I adore all of you- I adore your brawny, hairy, muscley, silly, stubborn, hilarious selves- but I do not trust you to come through. If you ever do, perhaps I will gladly hand you the scepter to my world and house, but until that time…
    And this is not just about men. People let other people down all the time, more often than folks like to admit, so it’s hard to share decisions and rely on each other. Men and women alike so easily betray, back out, or just forget stuff. But I think men have a slightly worse track record.

  18. cullen

    You know what they say about guys; self-deprecation becomes them, but thanks anyway for the mirror Ian. Like most males, I know I’d be hopeless without my ain true love. Season’s Greetings all.


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