Faster Than Light: A Cautionary Tale

posted 9/01/02

They always leave the seat up. They don't clean up after themselves. They enjoy barbaric sporting events and never do what you ask them to. Their brains often seem pickled in testosterone. They fart. But, ask women what they'd most like to change about men and a more frequent answer is, "Make them, you know, like, last longer".
They refer, of course, to the most common shortcoming exhibited by male humans while in the cat-scaring position[1]. Straight men, simply put, treat it like a race, and are usually finishing up and looking for a ciggy just when you're starting to enjoy yourself. She asks, "are you in?", just as he asks, "that was good, yeah?" It's usually the second thing a woman discovers about sex. "Ohmigod, it feels good, but it's over so bloody quickly!"
Thankfully, men are starting to come with warning labels.
I do not regularly stroll into the underwear departments of stores, but did, recently, for the first time in, well, rather a while. And I noticed an amazing thing. The esteemed manufacturer of cotton goods, Fruit of the Loom, has at some point fairly recently changed the decoration of their briefs' (and possibly other underwear as well) waistbands. I recall that they used to meekly print their full, spelt-out name about the waistband, but now you just get the initials of their name, perhaps in a cost-cutting measure to save dye. FTL.
Faster Than Light, I wondered? I saw this and laughed, of course, pleased that men can now, in ignorance, advertise their failings to their would-be conquests. This got me to thinking, though, that men need to come with more warning signs to help sharp-eyed women pick and choose. And then, it hit me, they already do.
Some designs and logos on clothing are giveaways to serious character flaws in their wearers. Consider, for instance:
U.S. Confederate flags,
NASCAR logos,
Alcoholic beverage manufacturer logos,
Professional wrestling logos,
and dozens, if not hundreds of others. You'll be unlikely to get dinner at a classy restaurant from a guy wearing starfleet insignia. Nor are you likely to see witty conversation from someone wearing a Dale Earnhardt shirt (or, worse yet, the matching shirt-pants-jacket ensamble!). Footwear can be a good personality indicator. What is it, for example, about guys who wear Teva (-style) sandals everywhere? Do they think the "my foot is in traction" look is attractive? And why do they never trim their toenails or wear clean socks without holes?
The sad thing, though, is that some companies DO actually produce clothes with "warning labels". There's a fairly popular t-shirt, available at any number of outlets, which reads "Wife Beater". Even sadder, though, is that men both buy and wear these! Yes, Goddess knows, there are an untold number of scumbags on this planet who should be forced to wear these every day for the rest of their lives, but I suspect the vast majority of men who wear these shirts view them as a joke. Not only does this further desensitize people to a very severe problem, but it suggests that spousal abuse is nothing to be ashamed of. If it's all about (pig headed) old-fashioned machismo, a suggestion that "I (the wearer of the shirt) know how to control my woman", why do no companies seem to produce shirts reading "rapist", or "polygamist"? Surely being "man enough" to have several "women" is something to be more proud (?) of than beating one? Surely this is worth more respect at the pool hall than claiming you beat your wife? The answer, I suspect, is that a large part of the population sees nothing wrong with a little judiciously applied violence in a relationship. Are any of these men, who wear "wife beater" shirts in public, even married? Would an intelligent woman date/talk to/touch with a ten-foot pole a single man wearing one? The answer to the last is, or should be, no, but there are always a few women too dumb to care. Do they get what they deserve? Maybe. Maybe not. They probably believed it when the U.S. government wrote "all men are created equal".
The Battle of the Sexes[2] will likely never end. The "Berlin Wall" that divides women from the other things[3] is unlikely to fall soon. So what's a savvy woman to do? Comparison shop and take lots of test-drives, yes... but perhaps more attention to the packaging now will save you from grief later.

[1]: A polite and somewhat droll euphamism for, well, sex.
[2]: Apologies for using a militaristic metaphor, thereby subtly reinforcing the incorrect thought that violence between the sexes in right as rain.
[3]: They may all claim they're men, and most may look like men, but most are actually pigs and jackals in disguise.


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