There are many things in life that I will never fully understand:|
The origin of Man. The meaning of life. The appeal of Tom Cruise. Basic algebra. Rugby. Nickelback. How to flip an egg without breaking the yolk. The ending to "Donnie Darko." The ending to "Lost." The middle part of "Lost."
And more than anything, I will never fully understand women. How their minds work, what they prioritize, how best to interact with them, why they like what they like and why they hate what they hate. Lord knows I've tried -- I've actually made it through ENTIRE episodes of "Sex and the City" with little more than a puzzled look on my face.
I spend 40 hours a week working in a room full of women. This experience has opened me up to an exciting world of girldom, and I've gained insightful knowledge over the years about everything from childbirth to gynecologists to basket parties. I'm pretty sure I could be declared an honorary female at this point. Still, by and large, I don't get you estrogenny people.
However, I now can rest assured in the knowledge that women apparently have NO clue about men, either.
I consider myself one of the world's leading authorities on wasting time, and there's no better timewaster on Earth than the Internet. Every night, I'll log on to do a quick email check or scan news headlines. Next thing I know, I'll come up for air and realize I've spent 45 minutes watching videos of dancing cats or confirming the current whereabouts of Lindsay Lohan. I am a master Web surfer.
During one of these epic surf-a-thons the other night, I took a really wrong turn. I was browsing some news, saw a link to an article that looked entertaining and clicked away. Little did I know that it would transport me to a world that men dare not enter. A world that answers SO many questions while introducing a million more. A world that makes "Sex and the City" look like an after-school special. I had entered the world of ... Cosmopolitan.com.
When I was in college, I had ONE friend who never held back when it came to raunchy storytelling. If there was a sexual conquest to be had, he quested it, more often than not conquered it, and more always than not re-enacted it for everyone in our fraternity to enjoy, complete with hyper-graphic play-by-play detail, visual aids, hand gestures and occasional souvenirs. I'm pretty sure this is what women think ALL men do.
But even my friend's WORST stories couldn't hold a candle to the content of Cosmopolitan.com.
Cosmo is an international magazine for women. It first was published in the U.S. in 1886, has 64 international editions, is printed in 35 languages and boasts a current U.S. circulation of 3,032,211. Oh, yes, and I almost forgot: It is filthy, naughty, smutty smut smut for ladies. Fellow men of Earth, you now can read Playboy without shame or guilt. Read away, because the articles on Cosmo's website are, by and large, raunchier than anything I've ever seen in that fine upstanding men's magazine.
I'd give you examples, but I'm pretty sure I'd get fired or run out of town on a rail by the morality police were I to reproduce some of the juicier tidbits currently residing on the Cosmo site. Worse yet, a good portion of the articles attempt to inform or instruct women on what guys want when it comes to love, dating and assorted boudoir-related activities. After perusing a good chunk of this cutting-edge journalism, I'm now convinced that either 1) I am a very weird representation of the modern man (admittedly a distinct possibility), or 2) Cosmo has it ALL wrong.
One of the pieces on the website is tastefully titled "Naughty Role Play Ideas You've Never Tried Before." Know WHY you haven't tried them before? Because they're RIDICULOUS, that's why. Every guy knows that there's a time and place for role-playing, and that time is eighth grade when you are holding 20-sided dice in your hand. We didn't want girls playing "Dungeons & Dragons" with us THEN, and we don't want them playing it now in our bedroom.
OK, maybe some guys are into that kinda thing. (I wouldn't know. Why? Because WE DON'T TALK ABOUT THAT KINDA STUFF.) The article goes on to say that one of the recommended techniques is to pretend that you and your mate are "a lion and lioness out in the savanna." Really? Well, let's just add that to my OKCupid profile and see how many bachelorettes line up, shall we? Maybe I'm weird, but I'm pretty sure that if a girl ROARS at me, I'm either outta there or I'm busting up laughing, and I don't think that's what the editors of Cosmo had in mind.
Yet 3,032,211 U.S. readers of Cosmo probably take this stuff to heart. Let's see, there are roughly 150,000,000 women in the United States. That means one out of every 49 women that I pass on the street might be going home and roaring like a lion because a magazine told them to. And now, of course, every time I pass a woman on the street, I can't help but wonder if she's the lucky lioness.
But it doesn't stop there. Another headline reads, "Makeup Men Freaking Love!" Ladies, I'm pretty sure there's only one man on the planet who "freaking loves" makeup, and his name is David Bowie. I've never been out with the guys and heard one of us say, "Yo, check out that girl's ... rouge."
Cosmo wants to take relationships and turn them into some epic struggle of mind-games, one-upmanship and constant maintenance. I take a simpler approach: If I like somebody, I like her. If she likes me back, all the better. No one needs to roar like a lion or apply face paint. If Cosmo REALLY wants to know what men like, it should just ask us. By and large, the answers are: large televisions, ESPN, "Halo 4," fast cars and corn dogs.
We're the EASY ones to understand.
Shane Brown is a columnist for The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his blog at http://shanebrown.blogspot.com.
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