Why Do Men Spit? (and women don’t)

Why do men spit? (And women don’t.) I mean, is it physiological? Do males produce a larger amount of saliva?

Even so, why the need to spit it out? Why not just swallow it? Would that remind them of swallowing semen? Which is female, effeminate, gay? (I’ll ignore for the moment the assumption that all, or even most, women swallow semen.)

But no, that can’t be right: it seems too…reasoned. Spitting seems to be more of a reflex, a habit, a that’s-the-way-I-was-raised sort of thing, a cultural thing, a subcultural thing: to spit is to be manly. Little boys spit to appear grown up. Grown up men. So what’s the connection between spitting and masculinity?

Consider the way men spit. Read the rest of this entry »

Christmas Elves

Generally speaking, I don’t do Christmas. At all. But when I see an ad in the classifieds for “Three female elves to work in a mall during the Christmas season”, well, I have to say something.

And the first thing I have to say is, I don’t think they’re going to find any – male or female. They may find three women to play the part, but I doubt they’ll find three elves.

Which brings me to the second thing I have to say: why do they have to be female? What must a Santa’s elf do that a man can’t do?

One, Santa’s elves are industrious; they’re notorious for being hard workers. Well, men are hard workers. No, seriously, some are!

Two, elves are pretty handy in the workshop, making all those toys. Again, I think men can meet this requirement. (Some men are even quite good with their tools, given a little instruction.)

But in the mall, Read the rest of this entry »

Short Men

I recently watched, with horrified amusement, a tv program about short men who choose to undergo excruciatingly painful surgical procedures (which basically involve breaking their legs and then keeping the bones slightly apart while they mend) in order to become a few inches taller.

Asked why they would choose to undergo such a drastic, and excruciatingly painful, procedure, they said things like “Do you have any idea what it’s like to go through life as a short person? To sit in a chair and only your toes reach the floor, you can’t put your feet flat on the floor? To not be able to reach stuff on the upper shelves in grocery stores? To be unable to drive trucks because you can’t reach the pedals properly? To have people always looking down at you? Do you know what that’s like?”

Well, yes, actually I do. I’m a woman. And in case you haven’t noticed, we’re almost all shorter than almost all of you.

Which suggests that the real problem is that these poor guys can’t take their rightful place over women. As one man, 5’6” before the surgery, said, “I’ll be a better father and husband and son.” Yup. Sure you will.

An End to War

At one time, bank tellers and secretaries had a certain prestige – the time when such positions were held by men. Schoolteachers used to be schoolmasters – before women entered the classroom. People who boast that many doctors in Russia are women fail to mention that doctoring in Russia, well, someone’s gotta do it.

The thing is this: whenever women enter an occupation, it becomes devalued. It loses glory. It loses funding. It loses media coverage. It becomes unpopular, even invisible. So if we were serious, really serious, about ending war, we’d fill the military ranks with women. When becoming a soldier has about as much appeal as becoming a waitress (another archetype of the service sector industry) – Read the rest of this entry »


Well, it’s autumn. That time of year when the breeze gets brisk, the leaves start to fall, and good men from all walks of life wear something besides blue, brown, grey, and black: they wear orange. Hunter orange. Yes this is the time of year when good men from all walks of life go into the forest to perform that masculine bloodwinner ritual involving beer, bullets, and Bubba. I don’t understand hunting. I don’t understand the desire to kill.

‘Oh no,’ the hunters say, ‘it’s not that, it’s the excitement, it’s the thrill of stalking an animal that’s big and wild, and can tear you apart!’ Yeah right. Like Bambi’s cousin is going to tear you apart.

‘And it’s the challenge! Deer are smart, you know!’ I’d say the average deer has an IQ of what, four? So I have to ask, smart compared to who? Read the rest of this entry »

Sex and Salespeople

Given that the people who use washers, dryers, ovens, dishwashers, and the like are usually female, I find it puzzling that the people who sell these items are usually male. Especially because it’s inconsistent with the rest of the sales world, in which men tend to sell things men use, such as hardware and men’s clothing, and women tend to sell things women use, such as cosmetics and women’s clothing.

Hypothesis #1 – The current sexist state of affairs is just a carry-over from the days when all salespeople were male. Gee, I don’t think men ever sold cosmetics or women’s clothing. (And even if this were so, why is the field of kitchen appliances the last to evolve?)

Hypothesis #2 – These are big heavy items and so the superior strength of men is needed. Well, the salespeople don’t have to move ’em, they just have to sell ’em. (And even if they did have to move them, your average appliance salesman is not exactly Arnold Schwarzenegger.) (And anyway, ever hear of a lever? A cart? And, hang onto your hats, a forklift?) Read the rest of this entry »

Against the Rape Shield

Sexual assault, like many other crimes, usually occurs when no one’s watching.  Given the absence of a third party witness, how are we to decide guilt/innocence?

Circumstantial evidence is often not helpful because consent, that which differentiates between legal and illegal sex among adults, is essentially a mental event, and of this there can be no evidence: a brain scan won’t show us whether or not a person consented.

Considering consent as a behavioural event, a gesture or a word expressive of consent, is not much better: evidence is possible, but unlikely-even if an audio or video tape of the event exists, one must establish the absence of coercion for any consensual gestures and words.

In a way, things were better when force and resistance differentiated between legal and illegal sex: evidence of this is easily available-torn clothing, bruised body parts, etc.  However, we recognize that force and resistance, and perhaps more often torn clothing and bruised body parts, may be part of consensual sex; we also recognize that force may not be physical and resistance may not be wise. Read the rest of this entry »

A Man Shaken by a Bomb

I picked up a sci-fi novel the other day at a used bookstore. The jacket said it was set after a nuclear war and written by someone who’d rubbed shoulders with a lot of military people. Well, I figured it’d be interesting to see what they imagined life’d be like after a nuclear war. (The pages weren’t blank.)

What can I say, it was slow reading. For example, the author said, “A man who’s been shaken by a bomb knows what it feels like.” So I had to stop and wonder why a woman wouldn’t know. Is he saying women never get shaken by bombs because they’re never in bombed areas? Or they are, but for some reason, they don’t get shaken by them? Or they do, but they nevertheless don’t know what it feels like?

And that was just the preface. Read the rest of this entry »

First (and last) Contact

Women have a long tradition of being diplomats. “Historically, … marriage has been the major alliance mechanism of every society, and little girls are trained for roles as intervillage family diplomats…, the married woman straddles two kin networks, two villages, sometimes two cultures” (The Underside of History, Elise Boulding, p.53-54).

Many women have decades of experience, settling a dozen disputes a day. To whom do the kids go crying “It’s not fair!”? Mom. She’s the mediator, the negotiator extraordinaire.

Girls develop language skills before boys, and their level of proficiency continues throughout their lives to be superior. Women in languages and linguistics degree programs outnumber men. Translators? Women. Writers? Women. In short, women are better at communication.

(And) (So) We talk a lot. (Well, when we’re not interrupted by men.) Although ‘gossip’ can be superficial and mean, much talk among women is unjustly dismissed with that term—when women talk, they’re doing social cohesion work.

But of course communication doesn’t involve just words. Read the rest of this entry »

Macho Music for the Mensa Crowd

Music and men has always been an iffy combination. If it involves banging on things and making a lot of noise, well, that’s definitely male, on both counts, so being a drummer is okay. And if it involves plugging something in—that ultimate test which separates the men from, well, from the women—that’s good, so playing the guitar, lead or bass, is okay. Especially since holding your hand at cock level is involved.

But what if your tastes are a little more classical? What if you’re a little more intellectually-inclined? Fear no more! Electronic music is here!

To begin, like all good little boys, electronic composers are obsessed with how. Their program notes are paeans to process: “The harmonic matrix for this construction was established with a dominant to non-dominant ratio of 7:5 and intra-note relationships determined according to a chance-randomized method…”

And yet, it sounds like shit. Read the rest of this entry »