I hate to bring up the battle of the sexes, but a recent harmonic convergence seems to me a sign that it is time to once again visit the subject.
The convergence was the near-simultaneous arrival of two e-mails one eloquently expressing the female viewpoint on maledom, and the other profoundly expounding on those universal female quirks guys find so endearing.
Normally e-mail humor is off-limits. It feels too much like a crutch and it's usually impossible to give credit to the original author.
But the real story here is not the individual e-mails themselves, but the areas in which they address the same topic from two very different viewpoints. That and a couple other things I'll get to later.
But first, an explanation of the two formats used in the e-mails.
The guy viewpoint is expressed in a list of 27 rules for women, all numbered "1" to give them equal emphasis. A few of my favorites:
1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.
1. All men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.
1. Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.
The female viewpoint is expressed in a list of adult classes for men. My favorites include:
Topic 1 - How to fill up the ice cube trays. Step-by-step with slide presentation.
Topic 2 - The toilet paper roll: Do they grow on holders? Round table discussion.
Topic 11 - Learning to live: Basic differences between mother and wife. Online class and role playing.
And here, together for the first time anywhere, are the male and female viewpoints on four common topics of concern:
Asking for directions
1. Christopher Columbus did not need directions, and neither do we.
Topic 9 - Real men ask for directions when lost. Real life testimonials.
And a related course:
Topic 7 - Learning how to find things, starting with looking in the right place instead of turning the house upside down while screaming. Open forum.
1. Shopping is NOT a sport, and no, we are never going to think of it that way.
Topic 12 - How to be the ideal shopping companion. Relaxation exercises, meditation, and breathing techniques.
The toilet seat
1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down.
Topic 3 - Is it possible to urinate using the technique of lifting the seat up and avoiding the floor, walls and nearby bathtub? Group practice.
Remembering important dates
1. We don't remember dates. Mark birthdays and anniversaries on a calendar. Remind us frequently beforehand.
And a related item:
1. Birthdays, Valentine's Day and anniversaries are not quests to see if we can find the perfect present yet again.
Topic 13 - How to fight cerebral atrophy: Remembering birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates and calling when you're going to be late. Cerebral shock therapy sessions and full lobotomies offered.
But I told you there were a couple of other things about these two lists that I would be addressing:
First, I find it interesting that the female list is couched in a learning format, suggesting that men are perhaps trainable. The male list, on the other hand, simply makes requests and demands.
Doesn't this fact alone provide insights into the male and female psyches?
Second, the female list was e-mailed by a friend, Marla, to both men and women. The male list was e-mailed by my brother, Randy, to guys only. This would suggest that guys are scared to death to actually make these requests or demands of women. We just talk a good game when they aren't listening.
To confirm this theory, I called my brother.
"You didn't send this to any women," I said.
"That's right," he replied. "Do you think I'm stupid?"
Which tells me that ultimately men lose every battle fought between the sexes. Men truly are just like dogs: a lot of bluster and bluff, but just watch us take off with our tails between our legs if we get called on it.
I just have one thing to say to women:
1. The relationship is never going to be like it was the first two months we were going out. Get over it.