Sunday, April 24, 2011
Having spent most of my adult life married, I have had the good fortune of spending time with not only my guy friends but my wife's friends as well. And after years of observing, there were glaring differences I began to notice in the dynamics of our relationships with each other. I am not here to say which is better or which is worse, but that these differences, when thrown together, can be like throwing football fans in a room of polo fans. It's not that they won't necessarily get along but there will be that odd feeling in the room that one group just doesn't get the other. And I believe these differences between men and women has nothing to do with who handles relationships better, but it can be traced back to our early ancestors.
There was a comedian I heard years ago that did an interesting bit about the differences of men and women and how it can be. The languages of the sexes do not cross over.
Suppose you are at a party with six women, he suggests, and the chip bowl is getting low. All six women rise together, most likely hand in hand, and make their way to the kitchen. Once there, they refill the bowl together. One woman offers to make some dip while another washes the dishes from earlier. Two of the women fill the wine glasses and they all join each other out and the sun drenched patio as birds chirp hello from the blossoming Crape Myrtles.
There are no birds at the men's party. The same situation elicits another response.
"Hey man, the chip bowl's getting low."
No one moves.
"I bought the chips."
"It's my bowl."
"I ate the chips."
"What did you do?"
"I … I watched TV."
And that man refills the chips. The process is a negotiation. TV man lost the negotiation; he understands that it is his role to refill the bowl. "No one cares that an hour just went by and no one had chips."
The problem comes when the party is mixed company. Someone points out that the chip bowl is getting low. One man says, "I bought the chips." Women stare in disgust. Expletives abound.
"No one wants to negotiate?" asks the man. "I must have missed the meeting."
It isn't so much that the humor is particularly original. The accepted stereotype is that women like to shop and men will gladly wear the dirty T-shirt straight from the hamper. The originality, rather, is in the explanation of how this gender gap arose. The behavioral differences between men and women, the comedian claims, is the result of evolutionary processes stemming from the days of the caveman. Today, men and women are simply the modern-day versions of hunters and gatherers.
Women, as they shop, gather clothes with no end goal in mind. They take their time, taking in all of the sights and sounds around them. Reminiscent of the days when they had to store for the winter months ahead, women "fill their basket" and never stop at just one shirt. They are gatherers.
Men, on the other hand, just need a T-shirt. They hunt one down, and the first one they find that meets their needs, they kill. Then, "me go watch TV."
While I know this will not gain scholarly acclaim among anthropologists, you have to agree there is some truth. In fact, as soon as my wife gets back home from shopping and as soon as the Mavericks game is over, I will get her opinion and I am sure she'll agree.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Have you ever noticed that back in the day, and I mean way back in the black and white days, we looked the same. I'm not talking about our facial features or how fat or thin we are. I'm talking about a time when men walked around in suits and hats regardless of where they were. Ever see an old baseball game? Even in the stadium, men wore hats and suits. And women were dressed more like June Cleaver. But what happened since then? We have become individuals who want to define who we are by how we dress, or what car we drive or...you get my point. And since this evolution of odd behavior, I have run across too many individuals I have had to mark off my list of friends. For reasons listed below, I can no longer hang out with them.
Indi Music Guy
This is the guy that only likes the music you've never heard of. He proudly recites lyrics to unknown songs and any time you mention a popular group or singer you like he beats you down with phrases such as, "that's so gay", or "Are you kidding? Those guys suck!" And once his favorite group makes into mainstream, he dumps them like the high school girlfriend he caught cheating on him.
Believe me, I am just as concerned about the planet as the next guy but the guys who throw it in my face have got to go. If I have to hear about the size of your carbon footprint one more time I'm gonna stick my carbon foot up your ass. And the little electric car you drive is annoying. If you tell me one more time how many gallons a fuel my SUV is gobbling up compared to your Matchbox toy, I'm going to go Monster Truck on you and flatten the thing in about 5.3 seconds.
This is the guy who, bless his heart, rescued a puppy from the pound. While I applaud your valiant deed, please don't flaunt it. That is something you do out of the goodness of your heart, not to get laid. If I hear you say, "She's a rescue" one more time, I'm taking your dog and giving it to the little girl who won't use it like a new Rolex watch she just purchased. And did you really "rescue" the dog? I mean, they were giving it away and you took it. Back when I was in college, I rescued an old couch from my neighbors curb. But whenever friends came over and plopped down to watch a game, I never told them, "It's a rescue."
Monday Morning Political Guy
This is the guy that watched every political show on the TV the previous night and cannot wait to vomit every bit of it out the next day to whoever will listen. Their evenings are spent taking down talking points and memorizing facts that can be used the next day. Generally these guys don't form their own opinions, rather they hear something they think they should believe (after all, if that person represents my political party, I better agree with him!)and try to get information that may back their belief. If I want that, I'll watch Glenn Beck, Bill Maher or any other late night talking head. At least that way I can turn them off when I get tired of listening.
My Wife's My Best Friend Guy
No she's not. She's your wife and nothing more. In fact, she shouldn't even be in your top five. We all love our wives but have you ever had sex with your best friend? No! So while I understand that the two of you love each other and enjoy each others company, best friends are reserved for guys, not your wife, so stop telling us that. Especially when our wives are around because you make us look like idiots and we don't want to hear about how our relationships need to be more like yours.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Wow. Eight weeks and I've kept my workout commitment which has got to be a first for me. I know they say habits are formed in about twenty one days but in my case, it took a little longer. I'm not sure if that's a reflection of my previous eating habits but it took over a month to comfortably say I can go through the day eating "clean". Having traveled the past week I didn't weigh in or get measurements but I did this week and I'm happy to say I have lost thirteen pounds and over two inches in the belly. Now, of course I've added some muscle but I didn't measure body fat when I started this and have no idea of how much. Another thing I learned, and this was a big lesson, is that the dramatic results you see in the pictures generally don't start appearing until near the end of the twelve weeks (at least that's what the forums are telling me). And love handles are the last to go which keeps me pushing on. There have been some discouraging days when I've looked at myself and thought I can't see a bit of difference from the last two weeks but I kept at it with faith that twelve weeks will produce a new man.
Another thing I learned is that the testimony's on almost every one of the workout miracles that are out there are designed to suck you in and that results may DEFINITELY vary. I was hoping everything I read about having unlimited amounts of energy and six pack abs in the first three weeks would be true. They are not, at least for me. True, I do have a little more energy at times but it has taken a while. And that's OK. It just hasn't happened overnight. But, results are starting to show more now that I am embarking on week nine and it has pushed me harder to finish these last four weeks. At that time I am going to post the before and after. I had started doing it each week but decided to wait until the end.
Now, about the writing. I have really fallen behind but plan to get back on the horse this week. For whatever excuse I can come up with, I just haven't been as committed but I happen to come across a book this weekend by Russell Simmons (The Def Row Record, Def Jam, etc guru) and it has inspired me to get back at it and not to stop. And off topic a little, it has me thinking about yoga. I have been hearing so many people talk about the miracles of yoga I'm beginning to believe it so I am heading to my gym this evening for my first class. Mr. Simmons book talks a lot about finding inner peace and focus and that seems to be something I've been wanting more of in my life. And so I turn to the great yogi (or the aerobics instructor at my gym who teaches yoga) and I search for whatever it is I may be looking for.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Week six is officially behind me and I must say, it was a tough. But it is another week in the books and after a good morning run I am down twelve pounds and over 32,000 words into the novel.
Two things about this week. First, and I don't know how many other writers experience this, as I was writing I started to question where the whole story was going and wondering if I'd wasted so much time on a story that would turn out to be crap. But I stuck with it because of the commitment I made to myself and ended up changing a couple story lines and backgrounds and things are now turning around. The funny thing is, that has happened in the past and I just tossed the writing away, starting something new. And taking that route has led to absolutely nothing being completed. But not this time! I am going to see this project through to the end and if it turns out to be somewhat of a disappointment, at the very least I will have learned a ton and that's exactly what I want this year to be. A year of trying, a year of learning and a year of accomplishment. And the only way I'm going to accomplish is to try and know there are things I will fail at. Knowing this has allowed me to keep going and make it a point to try new things along the way.
The second thing I learned this week was that we spend way too much money on our cars. Our status symbols. I especially see this as some men my age approach mid life and treat a new car as though it were a way to show off the size of their manhood if you know what I mean. Cars have become our social business cards. They announce where we believe we stand in the world and allows some to look up to us. And I say this having driven very nice cars! That's right, guilty. I loved pulling up in a car that had payments more appropriate for a nice apartment. I liked it because people looked at it and at me. I mean, there's a reason Toyota developed the Lexus and that's because people wouldn't spend $65,000 on a Toyota. But give it another name and a high price tag and you have a $65,000 Toyota.
Now, I know there are some that will say it has to do with comfort and the ride they offer. I'm not buying it. Why are high school kids, especially in this area, asking for BMW's and Mercedes. Because of the nice quiet ride they'll experience as they treat their car stereos like a live Hannah Montana concert? No, it's because they'll look cool and people will look up to them. And unfortunately that mentality has never left us, despite our age. We want to be the cool kids.
I realized this as I drove my wife's ten year old mini van down to Houston this past weekend. The ride was nice, I had enough room to bring a small college basketball team if I so desired and I got great gas mileage. So then why the hell am I driving something twice that expensive? Because I feel cool in it and there's no way in hell I'm driving a mini van around town. And that's sad because in those ten hours of just me and the mini van, I grew to respect it. But what hit me the most is that this is not a commentary on the perception of mini vans but an obvious reality of an insecurity I have. But one I can also work on!