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Are Men the Misunderstood Sex?

The obvious and fair solution to the housework problem is to let men do the housework for, say, the next six thousand years, to even things up. The trouble is that men, over the years, have developed an inflated notion of the importance of everything they do, so that before long they would turn housework into just as much of a charade as business is now. They would hire secretaries and buy computers and fly off to housework conferences in Bermuda, but they’d never clean anything.

Dave Barry

If you want anything said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.

Margaret Thatcher

[In C. S. Lewis’s book, The Screwtape Letters, an experienced devil, Screwtape, writes avuncular letters of advice to his nephew Wormwood, an ambitious young tempter. In this excerpt “the Enemy” refers to God, and “Our Father” refers to Satan.]

A woman means by Unselfishness chiefly taking trouble for others; a man means not giving trouble to others. As a result, a woman who is quite far gone in the Enemy’s service will make a nuisance of herself on a larger scale than any man except those whom Our Father has dominated completely; and, conversely, a man will live long in the Enemy’s camp before he undertakes as much spontaneous work to please others as a quite ordinary woman may do every day. Thus while the woman thinks of doing good offices and the man of respecting other people’s rights, each sex, without any obvious unreason, can and does regard the other as radically selfish.

Every woman has to find out that her husband is a selfish beast, because every man is a selfish beast by the standard of a woman.

G. K. Chesterton

[After the failure of his first marriage, Einstein married his divorced cousin Elsa. However, before this event took place Einstein created a crisis by becoming infatuated with Elsa’s daughter, Ilse, whom he had employed as a clerk at the physics institute. In an advice-seeking letter to Georg Nicolai, with whom she had had a brief affair, Ilse wrote, ‘Albert is refusing to take any decision. He is prepared to marry either me or Mama.’]

[Einstein] sought comfort in his living situation. Sex was separate, with no necessary connection to marriage (though Ilse clearly excited him as Elsa no longer could)... Einstein’s own inclinations here are hard to judge, whether in fact he deeply preferred the idea of marriage to Ilse over Elsa. Indeed, he may truly not have cared very much, reasoning that both would be part of his household, “his small harem,” as he termed Elsa and her two daughters in a letter to [his friend Michele] Besso.

Thomas Levenson (from Einstein in Berlin, 2003)

Men want the same thing from their underwear that they want from women: a little bit of support, and a little bit of freedom.

Jerry Seinfeld

A friend of mine called after a holiday dinner. She said the guests had been pondering a conundrum. No. Not the six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear proliferation. They had been animated by animation. The earthshaking question they considered was: Why are men attracted to female cartoon characters, while women are not attracted to male cartoon characters? It began when one woman at the table said her seventeen-year-old stepson found Disney’s cartoon heroine Anastasia “hot.” The grown-up men at the table all agreed, throwing out names of other cartoon babes, such as Pocahontas and Jessica Rabbit. The women scoffed that it was impossible to think of a single hot male cartoon figure.

Maureen Dowd (from Are Men Necessary?, 2005)

On the whole women tend to love men for their character while men tend to love women for their appearance. In this respect, it must be said, men show themselves the inferiors of women, for the qualities that men find pleasing in women are on the whole less desirable than those that women find pleasing in men.

Bertrand Russell

If two men who have both been talking to the same woman agree in proclaiming her conversation delightful, though one praises it for its ingenuous innocence and the other for its clever sophistication, I should be inclined to conclude that her conversation had played very little part in the pleasure of either.

C. S. Lewis

If to her share some female errors fall,
Look on her face, and you’ll forget ‘em all.

Alexander Pope

Most of them [Alec Guinness’s fellow naval recruits in 1940] were great swillers of beer. When in small, intimate groups, they chatted quietly of their mothers and sisters; once they were gathered in larger numbers, however, the conversation, loud and hyphenated with four-letter words, was of foot ball and the crudest sex.

Alec Guiness

The double standard of morality will survive in this world so long as the woman whose husband has been lured away is favoured with the sympathetic tears of other women, and a man whose wife has made off is laughed at by other men.

H. L. Mencken

Very broadly speaking it may still be said that women stand for the dignity of love and men for the dignity of comradeship. I mean that the institution would hardly be respected if the males of the tribe did not mount guard over it. The affections in which women excel have so much more authority and intensity that pure comradeship would be washed away if it were not rallied and guarded in clubs, corps, colleges, banquets and regiments... No one has even begun to understand comradeship who does not accept with it a certain hearty eagerness in eating, drinking, or smoking, an uproarious materialism which to many women appears only hoggish.

G. K. Chesterton

There is a pedantic phrase used in debating clubs which is strictly true to the masculine emotion; they call it “speaking to the question.” Women speak to each other; men speak to the subject they are speaking about. Many an honest man has sat in a ring of his five best friends under heaven and forgotten who was in the room while he explained some system. This is not peculiar to intellectual men; men are all theoretical, whether they are talking about God or about golf. Men are all impersonal; that is to say, republican. No one remembers after a really good talk who has said the good things. Every man speaks to a visionary multitude; a mystical cloud, that is called the club.

G. K. Chesterton

Thoughts about Men

A man likes to talk about himself or about his business or his hobbies. He likes to brag. He likes to express his opinions. He likes to tell how good he is. For all of this he needs an audience. To be that audience is the function of the woman.

Milton Wright (from The Art of Conversation, 1936)

Older man to a young woman at a cocktail party: “But I’ve spoken enough about myself Miss Brown. What do you think about me?”

For women sex is the icing on the cake of romance, for men sex is the cake.

A gentleman is simply a patient wolf.

Lana Turner

I like men to behave like men. I like them strong and childish.

Francoise Sagan

Alas! it is not the child, but the boy that generally survives in the man.

Arthur Helps

If men were as unselfish and devotive as women, then women would very soon become more selfish than men.

Show me a woman who doesn’t feel guilty and I’ll show you a man.

Erica Jong

Men know that women are an overmatch for them, and therefore they choose the weakest or the most ignorant. If they did not think so, they never could be afraid of women knowing as much as themselves.

Samuel Johnson

The most intolerable thing is the dominant female. For a man to be under female subjection is a terrible and awful fate.

C. S. Lewis

Men look at women and women watch themselves being looked at.

John Berger

Plain women he regarded as he did the other severe facts of life, to be faced with philosophy and investigated by science.

George Eliot (female novelist)

Men love with their eyes, but women love with their ears.

Zsa Zsa Gabor

You see an awful lot of smart guys with dumb women, but you hardly ever see a smart woman with a dumb guy.

Erica Jong

Men treasure and zealously guard the right to get together and say totally insensitive things to each other.

Hey! Hey!. . Cover your mouth Goddammit! Holy Jesus, germs flying all over the place!

(one guy to his coughing buddy in a group of guys
in the building trades—overheard in a cafť)

Sigh no more ladies, sigh no more,
Men were deceivers ever,
One foot in sea, and one on shore,
To one thing constant never . . .

Much Ado About Nothing

The more I see of men, the more I like dogs.

Madame de StaŽl

Starting from very young ages boys will define their friendships in terms of activities. The assumption that talk is going to be the essence of intimacy is much more common among women than men.

I love men, not because they are men, but because they are not women.

Queen Christina of Sweden

The hardest task in a girl’s life is to prove to a man that his intentions are serious.

Helen Rowland

Men are only as loyal as their options.

Bill Maher

The male sex still constitute in many ways the most obstinate vested interest one can find.

Lord Longford

Men have as exaggerated an idea of their rights as women have of their wrongs.

Ed Howe

When a man looks at a woman he sees a body, when he looks at another man he sees a mind.

Procreation is nature’s principal occupation, and every man, whether he be young or old, when meeting any woman, measures the potentiality of sex between them. Thus it has always been with me.

Charlie Chaplin

When women are depressed, they eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. It’s a whole different way of thinking.

Elayne Boosler

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