Good life or rough gig?

two men argue the merits of manhood

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Women have two basic advantages over men. One is greater control over their sexuality. The other is the river of male stereotypes where common sense drowned long ago.

Being a guy is easy? Turn on the TV and see how easy it is. The men are dumb, shallow and driven squarely by their genitalia. While the chauvinist Al Bundy and the womanizing Jack Tripper speak for themselves, others are just as bad. Even the intellectual and sophisticated Fraser Crane fails in his schemes because of his vanity and his misguided sex drive. If women get painted as sex objects, then men get painted as idiots. At least sexuality can be used to an advantage. Stupidity can't.

This double standard goes a long way. If a woman puts her hands down a man's pants, it's alright. Men are also animals. It's an oft quoted statistic that they think about sex every seven seconds. If a man does the same, it's sexual harassment.

Consider a slap in the face. A man will take it--it's an accepted form of female rejection. But if a man hits a woman, it's assault. It's the patriarchy rearing its ugly head once more and no one says hitting or putting people in uncomfortable sexual situations is wrong regardless of gender. Unfortunately, some things are only wrong when the victim is female.

Ask a teenager how easy it is to be male. He'll tell you fitting in is really hard when the biggest criteria for doing so is how far along in puberty you are. Fighting off bullies is tough too. Life isn't a picnic when you're expected to be a man and take care of things with your fists.

It gets no better as you get older. Women had the liberation movement which blamed a lot of female problems on men. The movement was completely justified--women lashed out against millennia of history. However, the aftermath left males with a duality of expectations. Women are equal, house chores are shared and the glass ceiling is slowly being eliminated. Guess what? Men are still expected to be perfect gentlemen, provide for the family and represent stability in an unstable world. The clich├ęd modern man and his traditional counterpart are somehow expected to coexist.

Each criteria is applied when it's most convenient. The mid-life crisis is ignored because traditionally, men aren't supposed to talk about their emotions. The fact that an individual feels horribly about himself is insignificant because he's male. It's absolutely comical that a man would lose his hair and overcompensate by buying a sports car. After all, nothing is funnier than someone going through depression.

Men are the silent majority. If they speak up, society shuns them. If they do not, the world just assumes things are OK and no "real" man would argue.