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Monday, October 24, 2011

3 Guy Secrets

As a general rule, men are extraordinarily simple creatures.  We wear our appetites, attitudes and aptitudes on our sleeves so plainly, it’s a wonder we ever fool anyone about anything.  There hasn’t been this much depth attributed to something so plainly shallow since The Dark Side of The Moon (or for the younger generation, since the Jonas Brother’s lyrics).  If you don’t believe me, just sit down and read Maxim and then Cosmopolitan.  One is a glossy appeal to the basest of instincts - an ode to beer, breasts and booze (and how to get more of each), and the other is an intricate web of subtle psychological marketing, advice and abject domestic fantasy which is as confounding as it is charming.  As I have frequently argued before, there are two kinds of women in this world: those who have figured men out, and those who refuse to admit it because they’re disappointed with what they found.  But despite this nearly universal disclosure of what’s going on inside our heads, we have managed to keep a few secrets; a precious few nuggets that we can hold on to in the face of our overwhelmingly enigmatic sisters.  And in the interests of disclosing these last few, for no better reason than to get you to read on, here are 3 of the last great guy secrets:

1. Groomsmen.  The hardest look for any man to pull off is the one that looks like we just don’t care.  Now don’t misunderstand me, I’m not talking about the “I haven’t showered” look, or the “I haven’t purchased new clothes since college look” either.  No, I mean grooming so subtle that you really don’t notice.  And the secret behind that look is that it takes a ton of work.  We are forced to do the vast majority of this grooming privately so as to maintain the illusion that we can still get ready to go out in ten minutes, and all of our down time is spent watching sports, playing video games or surfing the web for bad videos and worse jokes.  Amongst these secret elements are the following:  A haircut that costs more than thirty bucks.  No one notices a great haircut, but nothing stands out more than a bad one.  No matter how “simple” you think your guy’s hair is, trust me, if it looks good, he didn’t get it at SuperCuts, Fantastic Sam’s or anyplace that advertises with a sandwich board.  A hair removal regimen that involves at least two or three different tools, and more than one dedicated shower.  You have no idea all the horrible places that hair grows on a man’s body, and you shouldn’t have to.  We’ve got trimmers for our ears, nose, eyebrows and armpits, not to mention the delicate work that takes place in the “crotchal region.”  A pedicure.  Look, I know the idea of us sitting in one of those chairs and being chatted up by a Vietnamese girl isn’t the kind of thing that gets you all hot, but having dirty, calloused and otherwise busted feet is definitely the kind of thing that can prevent it.  If your guy has feet that look like they’ve been professionally taken care of - no matter what he says - they have.  An outfit which he spent a couple hundred bucks on.  It’s not how it looks but how it fits that makes it pricey.  That t-shirt that looks like he’s had it for years, and fits in all the right spots?  It’s not old, and it wasn’t cheap.  Those “casual” jeans - yeah, they weren’t so “casually” priced.  And the hip, but not too hip, shoes, belt, jewelry, etc.?  You don’t even want to know.  

2. The Only Thing We Have to Fear.    Guys get a lot of mileage out of being the more fearless sex.  Sure, it’s long ago been established that we don’t have the higher pain threshold (i.e. childbirth, menstruation, having to put up with us), but when it comes to bravery (i.e. killing bugs, heading downstairs with a bat if there’s a noise, a hand to hold during scary movies), that’s one of the last bastions of male usefulness (here’s hoping they never start making pickle jars easy to open).  But there are some things, no matter how big and bad we might be, that men are afraid of.  Now before you ladies go shouting out the answer like that one annoyingly smart kid in math class, turn down the volume on The View and let me let you in on a big secret that you’ve got all wrong: we’re not afraid of commitment.  We’re afraid of what comes after commitment.  Guys love commitment.  We’ve probably been committed to the same sports teams since we were kids, we’re committed to the movies we grew up with (you can tell by how many lines we’ve memorized) and we’re committed to the same music we loved in high school (really, does AC/DC ever get old?).  But these things largely remain constant as time goes on, and there’s a realistic chance that you won’t.  And I’m not talking about aging.  I’m talking about losing-half-it’s-value-as-soon-as-you-drive-it-off-the-lot-like-a-new-car kind of not constant.  For every happy marriage that you’re hearing about from your friends, we’re listening to some guy tell us about how his wife’s sex drive dropped like 2008 housing prices before the ink had even dried on the marriage certificate.  For every cute baby picture you show us, we have a buddy complaining about how his wife is carrying her “baby weight” when she’s sending that same "baby" off to school for the first time.  Trust me, the reason we want to meet your mom is not so that she can cast disapproving glances at us, or demonstrate our excitement at joining your family.  We’re trying to get a preview, mentally and physically, of what your future looks like - and whether we want to sign up for it.  Look, take Kirstie Alley, who’s 60 and bears a striking resemblance, even facially, to Jabba the Hut - and used to be smokin‘ hot - then take someone like Stockard Channing, who is 62 and could steal your boyfriend from you just by walking into a bar, and who also used to be smokin‘ hot.  Back in the 80’s we would have counted ourselves lucky to tie the knot with either of them - and if we were still married to them today, only one of them would not want to make us kill ourselves rather than seem them naked.  Now that’s something to be afraid of.    

3. Not So Secret.  This might be the biggest secret of all, so brace yourselves, ladies.  We know a lot of your secrets.  I know, I know.  It doesn’t often seem like we have any idea.  But amongst the many other things we learned from you, we also figured out the power of “playing dumb” sometimes.  I mean, let’s be honest, you’re not really that good at keeping secrets.  Gossip is like your fifth food group - without it, you’d probably die.  And we can’t help but overhear, right?  We know about the amazing ability of black stretch pants to hide otherwise less-than-spectacular booties.  We know what you’re really talking about in the bathroom with your friends.  We know how to tell when you’re faking.  We know you don’t like hearing about our ex, but talking nicely about her is one of the few ways we can get back at you without you being able to get mad at us.  We know you poop.  We know you don’t really want a salad for dinner.  We know you told your friends everything - no matter what you said you did.  We know ours isn’t the biggest you’ve ever seen - but it’s still nice to hear.  We know how you look in the morning, so relax and soak in some bed-head every once in a while.  We know how much time you put into hair removal, and we’re still not willing to oblige in-kind (but we’re still very grateful).  We know those shoes aren’t comfortable, but we’re still glad you wear them and we know that sometimes it’s just the bra.  We know that half the time it takes you to “get ready” is devoted to outfit selection, and believe me, it totally pays off.  But we also know that you probably know that we know all of this.  Try figuring that one out.

* * *

In the end, a little mystery is good for the soul.  After all, it is that glorious and frustrating mystery of the opposite sex which makes relationships so damned fun anyways.  If I ever really figure out what’s going on in the mind of women, I’ll probably just spend my days sleeping out of sheer boredom.  Perhaps the greatest mystery of all, is why women have such a hard time figuring us out, anyways.  Diagramming the male mind seems like the kind of exercise that would only be mildly challenging for the average junior high school student, and even then wouldn’t produce anything overly surprising or impressive (and likely best rendered in crayon).  But perhaps it takes that kind of deep-seated confusion to really love us.  After all, once you know all of our secrets, we’re really not that lovable after all.  And maybe that’s a secret worth keeping.


Jen and Tonic said...

So much to say, where to start?

(1) I'm so happy you talked about guys grooming because I honestly think we as women believe men have it so easy. At least we get to talk about how much work we put in to ourselves.

(2) I completely agree with everything you said about men not being scared of commitment, but being scared of post-commitment shenanigans. With so many women taking their exes to the cleaners no wonder men aren't jumping at the opportunity to strap a little handcuff on to their finger. Oh, and if I look half as good as Ellen Barkin does at hr age I'll be a very happy girl.

(3) Wait, you know we drop deuces?

GREAT article. Thanks for the preview :D

Kristina said...

Love this one. :)

SavageLettuce said...

I suspected #1, if only b/c from personal experience I know it takes time and skill to pull off the whole devil-may-care look (fun fact! There is an actual term for this that I learned in my costume history class in college: "studied negligence"). And I agree completely about fear of what happens after commitment. I think if more women considered the realities of what happens next instead of what they hope will, most wouldn't be in such a rush.

Excellent, as usual!!!

Anonymous said...

Love this…Ok. I knew guys took just as long to get ready as we did!
As far as commitment, I also believe that men do want a relationship. They like it as much as we do. But those horror stories even us women hear can make us cringe to commitment too.
And yes, most men have women figured out – almost. We do try to keep a few of them hidden.

Anonymous said...

Insightful, charming, always a pleasure. Wit and pizzaz a perfect melange. I'm waiting for the books...and your talk show.

uwhawkman said...

The plaque for the alternates is down in the ladies room.

Anonymous said...

You ticked me off when you brought up The View. ;) Ugh, they are wretched.. Enjoyed #3.......Jessie

Anonymous said...

#1- Um, unfortunately, there really are men who don't care- and have no idea that they should be doing these things. THAT is scary!

#2- I agree- the post-commitment is scary- women forget that they don't have to buy the whole pig just to get a little sausage! (the things our mothers taught us... seriously).

#3- I know- we both know more about one another than we care to let on- but yes, lets hope we still have some secrets... half the fun is the mystery!

Funny post- still love your sense of humor!

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