Battle of the sexes lopsided

By Bob Huber: CNJ Columnist

Here at the Institute for Intellectual Stuff (our motto is, “We Research Thorny Problems Such as Poverty and Baldness”), we’ve recently spent time delving into another timeless issue: Are men and women really different?

Of course they are, dummy. Anyone can see that. Proof can be found in arguments between the sexes. Women always win. There’s no middle ground, no compromise, no armistice. If the battle’s ever in doubt, they starch your shorts.

Men, on the other hand, gain a temporary upper hand only if they’ve done something wrong. They’re embarrassed to admit it, so they get hostile. That makes folks back off. When he’s wrong, a man will start World War III to keep from admitting it.

But let’s get down to specifics. Remember when your wife said, “You’ve got to stop threatening the grandkids”?

You put down your cigar and said, “Well, someone has to police the little … uh … people. No one else does.”

And she said, “That’s not your job.”

That’s when a man points to his chin and says, “Well, when it gets up to here, I’m going to say SOMETHING!”

“No, you’re not,” she says. “You embarrass everyone when you tell the grandkids you’ll rip off their faces like cabbage leaves if they don’t straighten up. That’s evidence of child abuse.”

At that point, a man is at a crossroad. He could react as men always do when they’re wrong — with anger. He knows his wife is right, because she’s smarter than he is.

See the dilemma? When you’re right, you’re wrong, and often the opposite. You can’t walk away, because you might be wrong, but you can’t fight because you could be right. Clear?  

But enough analyzing. What we’re after today are solutions. In my own case, I always remove my hearing aids. That way I don’t have to worry about being right or wrong, because I can’t hear the argument. Folks think the blank look on my face indicates I’m too shallow to grasp the meaning of life, but I don’t bother to explain. 

Without my hearing aids, I’m never wrong, so I’m never hostile. I sometimes startle friends with obscure statements in the middle of a conversation, because I misunderstood what someone said. Such as: “Well, I cure my gas problems with soda crackers.” But I’m never wrong.

One time when I had my hearing aids off, my wife, Marilyn, said, “I’m happy to see you’re not grousing the grandkids anymore.”

I nodded. “Yes, I do get sappy around grouse season.”

“What happened to your hearing aids?”

“WHO has AIDS?”

“You can’t hear a word I’m saying, can you?”

“No, I’ve never played Fu Manchu.”

“This is ridiculous.”

“Yes, I suppose a kiss can be supercilious, but it’s better than a stick in the eye.”

(For those of you without a hearing loss, I offer a set of hand-carved dummy aids, $5.95, no COD orders please. Just stick them in your ears and cock your head, and you’ll be ready to avoid any harmful conflict. Just be wary when you put on fresh shorts.)

Bob Huber is a retired journalist living in Portales. Some of his stories are mostly true. He can be contacted at 356-3674 or by e-mail:

mlh@zianet.com