There's a commonly held assumption by the "other side" that men are uncontrollably compulsive, self-centered, moderately house broken, boob- and booze-oriented, and acceptably trainable using intense rote reprogramming.

As a man, I have to agree with that. But the world would be a potentially dull place without us. Men serve many worthwhile purposes and here are some valid examples.

Everyone has locked their keys in the car, right? Who knew some doors automatically lock when they shut? Even so, our first concern isn't our nails; we're focused on getting into the car using the quickest method. A wire clothes hanger often works. And forget about those pieces of rubber window molding lying on the ground; that stuff dries out and needs replacement.

We like fixing cars, especially when a serious problem is unlikely. Popping the hood and staring at the engine is something our fathers taught us. If another guy shows up, he can stare also. We'll quickly determine that we don't have a clue what's wrong and need to call a tow truck. While waiting we discuss how easy it was to work on cars in the "good old days."

Men rarely get sick, but when we do it usually requires intense bed rest and pampering. During these infrequent down times, some in-bed nourishment such as homemade soup and imported beer may expedite our recovery. When our spouse is ill, we'll be by her side during TV commercial breaks to handle her needs.

Contrary to popular belief, men are reliable shoppers. I've proven repeatedly that I can be counted upon to bring home the right stuff on my wife's list. The more we shop, the better we get at it; we simply don't derive the same thrill out of doing it as women. When required to shop we display efficiency and goal orientation. We go in, find it, buy it, and get out. If it's on sale that's great; if the sale is tomorrow and it's in stock today and on her list, it's coming home with us today. If they have two we'll buy 'em both; she can return one tomorrow during the sale.

Repairing electronic equipment and household appliances is an inherent male genetic enhancement. We love taking things apart; dad taught us that, too. What he forgot to share was the putting it together part and that it's expensive to fix when every part is spread out on the floor when the service guy shows up.

We aren't keen on house guests especially if they're relatives. I don't care if they drove 1,500 miles, if they show up with kids or pets they aren't coming in. I'll arrange hotels rooms for the entire clan and meet them in town for dinner.

Men go to the movies when they're forced and we have strict viewing rules. We enjoy flicks with action, military weaponry, and lots of explosions, adult language, and boobs. We hate ones that make women cry, and don't ask us which part of the movie we liked the best unless you want us to lie. If an infant enters the movie theater before the show starts, we're leaving. If the people behind us bought food at the snack bar in a plastic bag, we're changing seats or taking it away from them. If a big-haired woman or big-headed man sits in front of us, we're changing seats. If the seats don't recline, we're never coming back. If I sit in gum, I'll make a scene unless they give me a refund and free tickets for another movie. Otherwise, let's enjoy the show.

Getting off the retirement compound occasionally is essential, and men can get dressed and be ready to go on short notice. For women, it's an adventure. We like your initial clothing choice, but that's only the beginning. We'll see your final selection when we're in the car and rolling down the road toward our destination. Any pair of shoes is OK, even flip flops; just pick a pair or a bagful. Any belt looks good with your outfit — or none at all. Your hair and makeup look perfect regardless of the time of day or night. Just get in the car.

Obviously, men are essential, unique, and have an uncanny knack for reducing things to their least complicated form. I call it genetic engineered efficiency, or intelligent laziness. Women may have a slightly different definition, and that guarantees there will never be a dull moment between the sexes.

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