Since we’ve been talking about gender a lot, and it’s Friday, and BooMan called me a gadfly, I thought I would spew some inflammatory rhetoric for a change.

There are three things women cannot do, and two of them have to do with cars.

1) Stare thoughtfully at automobile engines.

This is a well known fact: Women are incapable of the art of opening the hood and staring down contemplatively at the engine, rubbing their chins, pursing their lips and furrowing their brows.

Men, on the other hand, are born with an innate ability to gaze fixedly into the mystery of the engine, muttering occasionally. Whether he has any idea of what he is looking at or not, much less any idea how to fix it or not, is his business and his alone, and he knows how to keep that information close to the vest. Where it should be.

No man, whether he is a skilled mechanic or had to check his notes to be able to open the engine in the first place, will omit this important ritual of offering homage to the automobile. If he knows how to fix the car, he will do so after a suitable engine-staring period. If he does not know, only he will be the wiser, as he continues to stare, furrow and mutter until someone else appears, whereupon he can display his skill:

Man 1: (Stops car, opens door, puts one leg out, calls over the door: Got a problem there?

Man 2:(Briefly glances in direction of man 1, returns gaze to car, nods thoughfully) Mmmm-hmmm (mumbles indistinctly)

Man 1: (Approaches car. Both men stare reverently at engine, rub chins.)
Think it’s your battery?

Man 2: (Attempts to broaden gaze field to include entire engine, to mask fact that he does not know which object is the battery) That’s what I was thinking.

Man 1: You got some cables?

Man 2: (Shakes head slowly, raises eyebrows, turns corner of mouth down to indicate that either he has no idea what cables are, or does not have any.)

Man 1: (Politely refraining from speculating on which of the two possibilities mentioned above is the case)
I think I got some in the trunk. Lemme try to give you a jump. Go ahead and turn everything off

Man 2: (Gets into car, grateful for his rescuer has the good grace to respect his privacy in this matter)
Preciate it, man

Man 1: (Hooks up batteries with cables) OK, turn it on, let’s see what we got.

Car: Vroom

Man 2: (Gets out of car, both gaze at vrooming engine for a suitable period.)
That did it! Thanks man!

Man 1: No problem, take care now.

When faced with any automotive problem, women have only two possible responses:  fix it or get it fixed. They are simply incapable of transcending this simplistic view and  appreciating the tradition and complexity of the situation.

Women who know nothing about cars give themselves away immediately by shamelessly calling someone to fix the car, frequently without getting out of it at all.

Women who know how to fix cars barely glance at the engine without missing a beat in the conversation in progress, which seldom has to do with engines. Some women even go to the trunk to get tools BEFORE they open the hood.

2) Drive around with determined aimlessness when lost

If a man realizes, during the course of a trip, that he is neither reaching his destination nor has the foggiest notion how to do so, he will have the manly fortitude to continue driving until forced to stop by either lack of gasoline or more likely, a destination-dependent woman.

And face it, that is what women are. Destination dependent. Once she sets out on a trip, that is the only thing her feminine brain can focus on. If she becomes lost, she lacks the discipline and grit to keep that detail to herself and keep on driving, in circles if need be.

She is a slave to her fixation on arriving at the place she set out to go, and will even go so far as to seek out total strangers in whom she can confide and receive emotional support of a nature that she prefers to call “directions.”

Some women will even write down these “directions,” and follow them mindlessly. The whole concept of creative navigation is lost on them.

Men do not need directions. We know where things are. Like cats, we have a psi tracking factor, and just because it slips occasionally does not mean that we are going to tuck our tails between our legs and scurry whimpering off to some smirking gas station attendant to humble ourselves and become the butt of jokes once he gets off work and goes to have a beer.

We, unlike women, have pride. We will find it. Eventually. In most cases. And even if we do not, we have the satisfaction of knowing that we did not stop driving around looking for it.

Write their names in pipi

This is almost too tragic even to mention, but it is a fact that unless she is very skilled in certain forms of dance, and has a very short name, a woman will spend her entire life without even once knowing the sense of joy and personal accomplishment that can come only from writing one’s name in pipi in sand, snow, or other suitable surface.

Most women discover this deficiency early in life, and try to put a brave face on things, pretending that they do not give a fig that they never have and never will write their names or anything else in pipi.

Long after men have grown up and forgotten that they ever did it, a woman is doomed to stand on a solitary beach and reflect on childhood failure as she sadly writes her name with her toe.

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