Women do not adore men – women are amused by men (by Garrison Keillor)

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Guys are in trouble these days. Years ago, manhood was an opportunity for achievement and now it is a problem to be overcome, claims Garrison Keillor

Guys who once might have painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or composed Don Giovanni are now just trying to be Mr. O.K. All-Rite, the man who can bake a cherry pie, converse easily about intimate things, cry, be vulnerable, be passionate in a skillful way, and yet also be the guy who lifts them bales and totes that barge.

Guys are meant to be lovers and artists and adventurers, meant to be noble and free-ranging, bold, prosperous, good-humored, audacious.

It is time for guys to free themselves from women, let women deal with their own lives, and stop feeling guilty. It’s time for women to take over the world so that guys can do this. But we keep coming back to women.

Back when our gender was running on all eight cylinders, women died for the love of us – those days are over. Now women watch us and monitor our conversation for signs of bad attitude, they grade us daily, and, boys, we are in the wrong class. Men can never be feminists. Millions have tried and nobody did better than C+.

Here’s what they don’t tell you in class:

Women do not adore men?

Women know about life and social life and how to get along with others, and they are sensitive to beauty, and at the same time they can yell louder. They know all about guys, having been exposed to guy life and guy b.s. since forever, and guys know nothing about girls except that they want one desperately. Which gender is better equipped to manipulate the other?

Men adore women. Our mothers taught us to. Women do not adore men; women are amused by men, we are a source of chuckles. That’s because women are the makers of life, and we aren’t. We will never be able to carry life within our bodies, never breast-feed. We get more than our share of loot and we are, for some reason, incredibly brave and funny and inventive, and yet our role in procreation basically is to get crazy and howl and spray our seed in all directions.

Guys are fundamentally unfaithful?

So we carry adolescence around in our bodies all our lives. We get through the car crash age alive and cruise through our early twenties as cool dudes, wily, dashing, winsome, wearing white socks and black loafers, saying incredibly witty things, shooting baskets, the breeze, the moon, and then we try to become caring men, good husbands, great fathers, good citizens, despite the fact that guys are fundamentally unfaithful.

A monogamous man is like a bear riding a bicycle: he can be trained to do it but he would rather be in the woods, doing what bears do.
Nevertheless, we learn to ride that bicycle for the sake of women, and we ride it darned well, considering, and we live a pleasant, if sometimes cloying, life shopping at the Food Shoppe and Wine ‘N Stuff and taking the kids to the Wienery-Beanery, attending planning meetings, writing thoughtful letters to the editor, eating bran flakes, supporting the right things, and we accept restrictions and limits, no smoking, jackets required, No Left Turn 4-6, and then, with no warning, we wake up one morning stricken with middle age, full of loneliness, dumb, in pain.

Our work is useless, our vocation is lost, and nobody cares about us at all. This is not bearable. In dispair, we go do something spectacularly dumb, like run away with Amber the cocktail waitress, and suddenly all the women in our life look at us with unmitigated disgust.

A guy can’t win
I ain’t no misogynist or chauvanist but I got to say, women are getting awfully impossible to please these days. I’ve been busting my butt for years trying to keep women happy, and they’re madder at me now than they were before I started trying so hard. I quit playing softball and deer hunting and took up painting delicate watercolors, still-lifes mostly, and tossing salads, and learned how to discuss issues and feelings and concerns and not make jokes about them, and they’re still angry at me. A guy can’t win. Boys, let me tell you this for your own good and it’ll save you a lot of time later in life: most women down deep believe that everything wrong is men’s fault and nothing you can ever do will change that. So don’t worry about it. Live your life.

Are we selling out our manhood?
Something doesn’t add up here. We’re selling out our manhood, bit by bit, trying to buy a little peace and quiet, and you know something? It won’t work. Self-betrayal never works. I say, nuts to sensitivity.


From ‘The book of guys’ by Garrison Keillor

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