One man sheds light on some of the oldest male stereotypes.
There are a lot of unfair and untrue male stereotypes floating around. At the very least, the stereotypes that are true are seriously misunderstood. As a guy, I've experienced first-hand what it's like to be stereotyped and it's not a good feeling. Unless you are an attractive pro athlete who is somehow clumped in with a group of Nobel Prize winning scientists, but this is rare. While it's not fun to be stereotyped, stereotypes often exist because they offer some kernel of truth. I don't speak for dudes everywhere; these are just my personal thoughts about these male qualities.
I am not a good listener. I know this because I catch myself not listening to my future wife almost daily. It's not during the big, important conversations—I can sense those coming and tune in. It happens more often when she is talking about her day at work, or what ingredients she used in the pasta sauce. In a way, I do care about these things; I know I make a million little inconsequential statements each day and that's part of what makes us adorable to each other. But I also feel a responsibility to have deep thoughts at inconvenient times and to solve the riddles of the universe. Like, what's at the center of a black hole? How can they be infinitely dense? My mind wanders into thoughts like these when I should be paying attention to my fiancée. This inattention results in me: a.) Not figuring out the whole black hole thing, and b.) Not knowing why the pasta sauce is spicier than usual (later: paprika!).
On The Remote
For me, having control of the remote combines two impressive skills; knowledge of TV programming and quick, hand-eye coordination in the form of button pushing. Wondering if Ace of Cakes reruns are on at 8:30? I can tell you yes, they are. Are the fist fights in Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Gauntlet 3 getting too loud? Let me adjust the volume to the perfect amount—it requires the black receiver remote. Need to switch from the local news to Bravo ASAP? I can get you there with four button presses, and I can do it without looking, just by feel. These are technical matters.
I know most guys will say this, but believe me when I say I've never been lost. It's true—I always have some rudimentary sense of where I am, even if it's not exactly where I intended to be. If I can say "I'm five or six steps away from that garbage can," or "there is a waterfall where I thought there would be a driveway," well, that sounds like navigation to me.
Asking for directions is more like admitting defeat. Who in their right mind would approach a stranger and say: "Excuse me, I should have written directions down, or at least glanced at Google Maps, but I'm a moron. You seem to be smarter/better looking than I am, can you help me out?" Given the option, I would rather drive around aimlessly, following hunches until someone else admits defeat for me.
I may have my man card taken away (someone actually tried to do this to me once), but I admit that I don't really care about sports. Sure I'll watch them from time to time, but I don't make an effort to follow a team through a whole season or even a whole inning. I do, however, play sports. Basketball, baseball, bocce ball, or badminton--anytime, anywhere. I'm not good at any of these sports, but I like trying anyway. I also love video game sports. I'll play Madden for four hours straight without blinking or finish a whole season in NBA Jam if I'm feeling nostalgic.
The evident truth behind guys' fascination with sports is our thirst for competition. Televised sports just happen to be the most convenient conduit for this desire, but any event where someone or something wins will do: competitive eating, freestyle rapping, cockfighting, week-long games of RISK, pee wee soccer matches, it's all good. In any competition there is always a chance that a guy will have an opportunity to ridicule his opponent while giving knucks to total strangers. You've got to like those odds.
On One-Track Minds
The most prominent male stereotype out there has to be "men are only after one thing." This one's tricky: sure there are guys out there that are only after sex. We've all had run-ins with sketchballs who clearly have bad intentions, but my impression after living among males for twenty-some years is that this group is the vast minority. Scientific studies and filler material on 20/20 have shown that men think about sex more often than women, but for the most of us it's certainly not the only thing on our minds (see above entry "On Listening"). Watch any sitcom for an hour or two and you'll indefinitely come across a scene where a guy fantasizes about a woman while that bow-chicka-bow-wow porno music plays. It's ridiculous. No one ever hears that music during sexy fantasies.
Sometimes thoughts about sex will come out of nowhere. Without any visual, aural, or olfactory trigger, I'll find myself thinking sexy thoughts. These only last a moment or two and are always accompanied by a feeling of "what the hell was that?" For as much brain power as I dedicate to the subject, I really don't get any satisfaction out of it. I believe the poet Keats (though it could have been Marvin Gaye) said it best: "Ain't nothing like the real thing, baby."