As a woman, I live on the Peninsula of Estrogen. Most recently, I went backpacking to the Mountains of Masculinity. While the terrain was wild and rugged, I found the inhabitants were advanced in many ways. I also realized my people could benefit from the data I collected. My findings were as follows:
1. The War Channel Rocks- "Big Battles" and shows like it can be torture for women. My dad was addicted, because what dude doesn't love sailing ships, flying planes and big toys that make noise? Often, there would be a coup in the TV room because my mother, sister and I would mutiny in favor of a chick flick. However, I learned to look at history as a story. Not only was it fascinating to see how wars were won, but how these events impact the world today. Now my dad and I watch The War Channel together, much to the chagrin of my mother and sister.
2. Sports Rule- Growing up, I was forced to go to all my brother's football games, home or away, rain or shine. The jock culture coupled by the fleshy cheerleaders added to my awkward adolescent distain. However, once I learned what was happening on the field, I was hooked. I also saw how much work it took, not just for my brother to stay in shape, but for athletes of all sports and both genders. I began to see athletics as something that bettered people as a whole, and cheerleaders as the sexy little sisters of any sporting organization.
3. Cars, Cars, and More Cars- The summer before I went to college, I used to walk by a car lot and made friends with the mechanics. As the world's worst driver, my friendship with them was ironic. They would sit around and rate people's driving. Their well-trained ears could tell who was driving with two feet, who was way too hard on the gas and who's brakes needed tuned, simply by the sound of the car. I learned to appreciate Mike the Mechanic, his comrades and the engineering behind it. Much love to the muscle cars.
4. Broke Up? Go Party- After a breakup, the stereotypical woman weeps, eats ice cream and cherishes the memories even if the dude was Ron Jeremy without the equipment. Dudes go out, party and hook up with some hottie. My man friends always do this, and I can tell you from experience it works. Sometimes you need to have a good time to forget a bad one and to know that life goes on.
5. Get Over It- When women have a disagreement with each other, it is the first of a four part mini-series on the conflict. Guys fight it out and have a beer. Heck, my brother met some of his boyhood best friends after getting into a fistfight with them. When I disagree with my dude friends, we can usually patch it up in a day. Sometimes we both want to be right at the same time, but after a cooling off period we realize our friendship is more important. Girlfriends, not so much...
6. See The Big Picture- Women are wired to focus on minor details. However, just as the devil is in the details, it haunts us. There have been many occasions when I have been fixated on something and losing my mind. My male friends pointed out the silver lining in the situation. Most of the time this extra pair of ears was not only kind and helping, but a sanity-saver.
7. It's Not That Serious- When women gather to talk about their problems, the risk is that it turns into a sewing circle. I know this has happened on more than one occasion with my female friends. My guy friends, on the other hand, always have some witty, thoughtless remark. At first it seems insensitive, but then I realize that the situation is funny. Perhaps what I needed to do all along was laugh.
8. Be Low-Maintenance- Sometimes, going out with women friends is a three-part adventure: Getting Ready, 20 More Minutes and One Last Thing. My male friends throw on something and go. We have a good time without hearing too much whining about the hair.
9. Bros Before Hos- So many women I know have sacrificed friendships over a man -- and not just acquaintances, but besties. Guys know that while a woman fulfills some needs, his best pal always has his back. He knows that a friend will be hell to replace, and it will be worse knowing that someone who should have been replaced tore them apart.
10. Hot Out Fits Are Yum Yum- As a young female critical thinker, the idea that men would be attracted to my body and not my brain appalled me. I read Emily Dickinson, there would be no skin showing here. However, once I started hitting the gym, I wanted to wear those outfits. Not only are they fun to strut in, but on a hot summer day everyone feels validated. Men whistle and I enjoy it.
Basically, my findings from my time in the Mountains of Masculinity indicate men can be simple, straightforward creatures. That's not a bad thing because life can be simple; it's people that complicate it. Sometimes, ladies, you need to take a trip outside The Peninsula of Estrogen, watch a guy-friendly program and hang with the bros. It will be a humorous and insightful adventure. Most importantly, let a guy be a guy. What he knows and what you know together could bring the world to a whole new level.