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An Outdoor View: It's a guy thing

Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011

It's the second week of deer camp,

and all the guys are here.

We drink, play cards and shoot the bull,

but never shoot no deer.

The only time we leave the camp

is when we go for beer.

The second week of deer camp

is the greatest time of year.

-- "The Second Week of Deer Camp," by Da Yoopers.

I know nothing about women, but I know a few things about guys.

One thing I know is that we men spend one half of our lives trying to get women, and the other half trying to get away from them. What's that about? Men and women seem to alternately cling to each other and flee from each other. It's like those little scottie-dogs, those black-and-white magnets that either attract or repel, depending on which way they're facing.

Escaping from women comes naturally to guys. We have hobbies that require us to be in a garage, basement or other Man-space, places that tend to be dark, smelly and dirty. The motor-heads among us like to whack weeds or cut down trees with chain saws, activities that involve noise or violence. Ice fishing is a good escape for guys who don't mind sitting on a bucket and staring at black holes while becoming one with the ice. The ultimate guy escape is deer camp, where no joke is too sick and no cigar too stinky.

Although guy escapes tend to repel women, guys don't consciously plot to keep women away. My theory is that our urge to escape is genetic, probably evolving since the Stone Age. Whatever, women shouldn't take it personally, but should consider a guy's Man-cave or other escape as part of the deal, a "guy thing." We men apparently can't resist this primal urge.

On the subject of guy things, I've recently noticed something disturbing while playing Boggle and Scrabble online. On the website where I play, pogo.com, the players can choose a "mini," a miniature representation of themselves. I've noticed that the faces of the women minis have a knowing, intelligent expression, while the guy minis look like the lights are on, but nobody's home. In the chat section of a game, I asked other players why the women minis looked smart and the men looked stupid. One player -- a woman -- reluctantly rose to my bait, replying with a single word, "Well?"

When I got to thinking about it, I realized that the portrayal of dudes as dolts has gone on for years. In movies, sitcoms and comic strips, it's usually a guy who plays the oaf or the clown. In the ultimate outdoor sitcom, the TV fishing show, the star is always some guy whose longest line is, "Would y'all look at the size of that bass?" What's that about?

Does Dagwood Bumstead, the oafish father in the comic strip that began in 1933 and continues through today, accurately portray the average guy? Does Wilma Flintstone, who always came across in the 1960s sitcom as more level-headed and intelligent than Fred, represent the average woman? Do dunderhead Ray and sensible Debra in "Everybody Loves Raymond," portray an average married couple?

Having given this issue some serious thought in the 5 minutes before this column's deadline, I've decided it's probably not a conspiracy to make men seem inferior. Since it's mainly guys who write the comics and sitcoms, I figure their thinking was, "Reality isn't funny, so let's switch things around and make the guy stupid and the woman smart." Yeah, that must be it.

Les Palmer lives in Sterling.



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