sparacino-men-and-womenMen are reasonably decent creatures. Well… mostly. Manly men, funny men, factory men, corporate types, stout, athletic, short, tall and neither. Then we have women. Smart women, hardworking women. Steadfast ladies. Willowy, solid, heavy, medium-ish. Does that cover just about everybody?


OK, now for the kicker. After decades of observing how much men and women LIKE each other, I am also proud to describe in clear and accurate terms the fundamental differences between them. This is meant for all time and will therefore no doubt be cast in stone shortly. Make that granite, the really nice stuff they use for kitchen counters. Uba tuba, maybe.

There are exactly seven key areas of difference. No, not eight or nine or ninety. Just seven. And here they are. Let’s start with the easiest and go from there.

1. Sense of smell. Can there be any doubt that women have more finely tuned senses of smell than men do? The latest data from The Virginia College of Olfaction and Phrenology suggests that women are particularly noteworthy (noseworthy?) at detecting ominous or unpleasant odors such as mildew, propane leaks, dirty bathrooms, gasoline spills, grubby crab traps and men who have not bathed recently (who may own the traps). Men of course excel at smelling barbequed ribs, draft beer and really good cigars.

2. Shopping Chip. Without question, most men would rather spend an afternoon reading romance novels, avoiding pizza, squirming in their dentist’s chair, or doing their taxes by hand than go shopping. For them, the mere thought of a trip to a mall (unless there’s a Sears or other place to browse hardware) is so tiresome as to require an immediate nap. Women, on the other hand, love shopping. For anything, including things they already own aplenty like uncomfortable shoes, impractical handbags, or clunky jewelry. It’s the thrill of the hunt, the unbridled excitement of spotting a bargain from 50 yards, the heroic march back to the car (better yet, van or pickup truck) with mountains of new stuff. Better than hooking a sailfish on a perfect Caribbean day. Priceless.

3. Verbal ability. No contest here, females have the advantage from childhood to their senior years. Little girls begin the contest way ahead. They’re better motivated and more enthusiastic readers, writers and talkers. (Maybe not back-talkers.) Ask any grade school teacher who likes kids or even one who isn’t sure anymore. Or just sit down with a nice little girl and strike up a conversation. Notice the sparkle in her eyes as she explains all manner of things going on in her life, how she spends her time, her favorite things to do with her dog Mitsy. Now have a similar discussion with a nice little boy. He’d rather look away at that football or squirm or reach for the remote or grab a toy truck. Oh, sure, he can talk alright, but not right now. Got better things to do, places to go, stuff to look into. No, not writing about his summer vacation, either.

4. Handling other people’s children well. Can we just call this a landslide in favor of women? It’s no coincidence that women outperform in preschool, kindergarten and other settings cram-packed with other people’s kids (not all of whom are as well behaved, talented, charming and clean as our own). But hey, what about tending to dogs and cats; aren’t they a lot like children? According to Scientific American, in the U.S., women now make up 75% of recent veterinary school graduates. Of course all bets are off when it comes to uncles and especially grandfathers, who are just as skilled at teaching, guiding, and spoiling their nieces, nephews, and grandchildren as aunts and grandmothers. As long as there’s no shopping or sniff testing involved.

5. Leadership. OK, OK, this is sensitive. Historically, of course, men have had the overwhelming advantage. They’ve been (nearly all) the famous explorers, titans of industry, baseball managers, admirals, directors of scientific projects, deans of stuffy universities. That sort of thing. They’ve also led the world into horrible unnecessary wars, sunk companies, and marched down dead-end streets. Women, though, have always had the latent advantage. They can actually think with both sides of their brain and balance rational thought with the passion it takes to lead others where they might not otherwise go (like Cleveland). They often make superior politicians. And guess what, they can also manage a little league team or a college basketball team or a military unit. They make mistakes occasionally, but generally these are smaller and less deadly than those made by men. Sorry, guys.

6. Combat potential. Have to give the decided edge to men on this one, for now. Women can be great warriors but men have had that secret weapon called testosterone so they’re fast and strong. Of course they’ve also got more role models than women do and more opportunities to demonstrate their skills. In future wars, however, which are likely to be extremely high tech and fought remotely using advanced computers, guidance systems and weaponry, women may have a long term edge. Of course if women ran all countries with an economy greater than about a hundred grand counting goats, used clothing and old gas grills, would we have any wars in the first place?

7. Driving skill. Zero doubt here, folks, women are better drivers. And we’re not talking about driving a hard bargain or someone nuts. According to the wizards at AAA, men take more risks. Men as a whole display less cautious behavior than women: they’re more likely to drive at higher speeds and closer to other cars, to not wear seat belts, and drive while inebriated. One study showed that men are more than three times as likely to be ticketed for “aggressive driving” than women, and more than 25% as likely to be at fault in an accident.

Insurance companies, those bean counters with the AWFUL commercials (come on you guys, with your Aflac duck and Flo, knock it off!), agree that women are better drivers and they have data to back them up. “All the evidence points to young males having riskier driving habits than young females. Men between the ages of 16 and 25 are much more likely to be involved in accidents, or be cited for traffic violations,” explains VP, Sam Belden. “Insurance companies bear this kind of behavior in mind when quoting rates.” Hey Sammy, who’s the head driver in your family?
Back to AAA–According to the risk analysis performed by Carnegie Mellon for AAA recently, men display a 77% higher risk versus women of dying in an accident. And jeepers, in total fatalities between 1999 and 2005 it was men 175,094, women 82,371. Start your engines, men and then, uh, maybe stay in the driveway.

Well, there you have it. Women have it over men on #1-5 and 7 and could lead the fighting force of the future (6). At least men are happier, better at finding loose change in the couch and live longer. Well, not exactly longer but they sometimes LOOK happier, like when finding coins, and what on earth could be better than that.

Now, who’s got the uba tuba?


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