A Guy Thing

June 13, 2003

Some time ago I took an Internet quiz that was supposed to tell me what my gender was. Now, all I have to do is look down and I know right away that I have a Y chromosome, but this quiz was sort of the Internet’s version of the guess-your-weight booths at the county fair, so I thought I’d let it tell me what I am. And it told me I was a woman.

Although I think such judgments are highly subjective, supposedly 60% of my answers were the sort a woman would give. So that Y chromosome is only 40% of me, right? Sure. It doesn’t matter. I still feel incredibly uncomfortable in the women’s underwear department of the mall. I guess most guys do, and yet, those of us who dutifully accompany our wives, girlfriends, or partners on shopping trips will have to, at some point or other, be stuck waiting in the underwear department while she – whoever she may be – goes to the changing rooms.

In the old days there were chairs where a guy could sit down, but even then they didn’t give you a magazine or a newspaper. Now they’ve even gotten rid of the chairs – except for the one chair that faces the door leading to the changing rooms, and, let’s face it, when we already feel like perverts for being in the women’s underwear department in the first place, having to avoid eye contact with every woman coming out of the changing rooms isn’t easy. The best we can do is hover around the rack of shampoos that come in day-glow colors and are made with hemp. When did hemp shampoo become something women buy with their underwear? For that matter, who was it that discovered that a tough, fibrous plant was good for washing hair, and what was that person smoking?

But I digress. The hardest thing about hanging out in the women’s underwear department, aside from trying to avoid eye contact with the women coming out of the changing rooms, or trying to avoid eye contact with the models in the oversized underwear ads, is avoiding the hawklike women who prowl around the department sneering at weak and idiotic men who weren’t smart enough to say, "Dear, I’ll be in the sporting goods shop at the other end of the mall," before our significant other disappeared into the vast depths of the changing room. Admittedly these women probably understand what we’re going through, which is why they don’t ask The Question: "May I help you?" A guy would have to start trying stuff on or drinking the hemp shampoo before they’d ask him that. Still, I dread The Question. For some strange reason I feel like an idiot when I say, "No, thank you, I’m just waiting for someone." I feel like I have a big flashing neon sign over my head that says, "Pervert." I always think, "May I help you?" is just their way of saying, "I just wanted to get a closer look at you before I went to check the catalogue of sex offenders I have next to the register." After only a few minutes my nerves are so frazzled that if I did get The Question I’d probably do something really stupid, like scream, "I’M JUST WAITING FOR SOMEONE, OKAY? I FORGOT TO ASK IF I COULD MEET HER SOMEWHERE ELSE LATER ON, IS THAT ALL RIGHT YOU UGLY OLD PRUNE?" At that point Mrs. Prune would probably say, "Well, I was going to show you to our Sensitive Men’s Waiting Room, complete with pool tables, pinball machines, a bar, and chairs where your wife, girlfriend, or partner could page you when she’s done, but clearly you’re not sensitive enough to appreciate such a place." Then there really would be a big flashing sign above my head, and it would say, "Idiot."

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


You know "that look" women get when they want sex? Me neither." Steve Martin

"Having sex is like playing bridge. If you don’t have a good partner, you’d better have a good hand." Woody Allen

"There are a number of mechanical devices which increase sexual arousal, particularly in women. Chief among these is the Mercedes-Benz 380SL." Lynn Lavner

"Sex at age 90 is like trying to shoot pool with a rope." Camille Paglia

"Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation. The other eight are unimportant." George Burns

"Women might be able to fake orgasms. But men can fake whole relationships." Sharon Stone

"My mother never saw the irony in calling me a son-of-a-bitch." Jack Nicholson

"Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place." Billy Crystal

"According to a new survey, women say they feel more comfortable undressing in front of men than they do undressing in front of other women. They say that women are too judgmental, where, of course, men are just grateful." Robert De Niro

"There’s a new medical crisis. Doctors are reporting that many men are having allergic reactions to latex condoms. They say they cause severe swelling. So what’s the problem?" Dustin Hoffman

"There’s very little advice in men’s magazines, because men think, I know what I’m doing. Just show me somebody naked." Jerry Seinfeld

"Instead of getting married again, I’m going to find a woman I don’t like and just give her a house." Rod Stewart

"See, the problem is that God gives men a brain and a penis, and only enough blood to run one at a time." Robin Williams

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