Battle of the Sexes

The subject of equality between men and women has been debated and challenged in virtually every forum available. From court rooms to talk radio, from newspapers to television specials, this topic, almost more than any other, is guaranteed to spark an opinion. Or an argument.

What’s funny about this is that most people already agree on the subject. Talk to everybody you know, and most of them will acknowledge that in today’s society, men and women do not share equality in all things. Don’t ask any further questions though, because that’s about where the agreement ends.

As I see it, there are two primary reasons for this.

  1. Men do not know exactly what women want; and
  2. Women do not know exactly what women want.

Oh sure, they’ll tell you exactly what they want… and change their mind moments later. This puts the males of our society at a distinct disadvantage. We have no way of knowing if following directions is actually what we are supposed to do. It makes it impossible to even anticipate the correct course of action.

All that aside, I do have some concerns about finally reaching this Nirvana of equality. First of all, what are we as men and women going to argue about anymore? There’ll be no more basis for the statement "You just don’t understand me! I don’t always want to solve a problem… sometimes I just want to talk about it." For days.

"I’m going out for a drink with the boys" becomes null and void. I’m going out for a drink with the boys and girls???? The innkeepers of this country may go out of business. I shudder to think what that would do to the unemployment figures.

Two other questions come to mind, and these are perhaps the most telling. Does equality mean that men will have to start using the buddy system to go to the bathroom? And will there be urinals or only stools in all of the “equality approved” public restrooms?

© j. michael raymond. All Rights Reserved. Originally published in 2000

Bucket Seats

Hello Americans, this is Paul Hardley. Stand by for nudes! uh… I mean news.

“Today, this blessed nation of ours is facing a crisis of gargantuan proportions. We are on the verge of destroying ourselves, our children and their future. I want to take a few moments of your time, if I may, and share with you what I feel is the greatest danger we have ever faced as a nation.

Page… Two!

“I’m not going to talk about the decline in quality education. There have been volumes of work written on this subject (though the audience to peruse them is dwindling every year). I’m not going to talk about rampant, runaway, violent crime, the statistics of which are mind boggling. And I’m not going to talk (today) about over-legislated, unenforceable, political correctness. Oh boy, isn’t that a term that just turns your stomach?

“No, today, I want to talk with you about something that is even more potentially dangerous to the very fabric of our society. A tumor, a cancerous growth that is destroying us from the inside. Just what is this threat to the American dream? What is it that is so extremely devastating to our existence?

“As I’m sure you are aware, divorce now claims roughly two-thirds of all marriages in this country. And it is getting worse. Marriages are becoming less and less ’till death do us part’, and more akin to racing sprints to the finish line. Today, I would like to share with you, my thoughts as to why that is. Two words:

“Bucket Seats.”

Page… Three!

“Oh oh. I think Mr. Hardley has gone off his proverbial rocker and banged his head.”

“But follow my reasoning for a moment if you will. Thirty years ago, when a couple got married, what type of vehicle did they own? A large, gas guzzling monster with a huge engine and a mile wide bench seat. This allowed for the wife (or the husband if it happened to be her car) to slide over and sit next to their spouse. They not only could hold hands, but sit shoulder touching shoulder, thigh touching thigh. There was a closeness, a companionship and a communion. After a few years, what happened? Well, after making a little bit of money and driving the old beast 100,000 miles or so, it was time to buy a new automobile, a second car.

“Usually this car was purchased for the husband to have reliable transportation back and forth to work. (Remember we’re talking thirty years ago.) It was smaller. It was probably just a little bit sporty. And it
had bucket seats! No more bench seat for the happily married couple to sit side by side. No more casual touching as they drove down the road. Now it required a conscious effort to reach over and take their partners hand. Which usually meant that the wife had to do the reaching. In this new car, she also had to do some contending for attention, because her husband’s hand was wrapped tightly around the manual shift lever, as it used to be wrapped around her hand. After other, newer cars, and ever increasing dimensions to center consoles, the rift originally caused by the first bucket seats becomes wider and wider, leading eventually to separation and then finally to divorce.”

Page… Four!

“Now, it is almost impossible to buy a car that doesn’t have bucket seats. The time required to cause the rift is greatly reduced and the time to divorce is shortened, thus destroying the American family institution and giving rise to all of the problems we mentioned earlier. America is on a dangerous course to extinction. I am afraid, unless we change our automotive buying habits that we may not survive.

“Thank you for tuning in today, and as always, I’ll be here if you will, next time. This is Paul Hardley…

Good day!”