Natural Selection
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For most of my life, I’ve been a female intruder in a male world. I was the little sister with two brothers. I was just one of the guys in groups of male friends. I was the only girl on an all-male web development team. I spent years in the dating pool. And now I’m The Woman of the House.

Throughout my time as The Only Girl in the Group, I’ve often sat back and quietly observed men’s unusual -– yet naturally male –- behavior. And I think I owe it to my fellow females to point out and explain some of the finer details of the eccentricities of male conduct.

Today, I’d like to discuss selection.

Women often misjudge men to be seriously lacking in a number of basic skills. We tend to accuse them of being messy and inarticulate -– with totally useless senses of sight, smell, and hearing. But this isn’t actually the case. Men have no real problems in these areas. Instead, upon occasion, they select which things they want to respond to and which things they want to ignore.

I was first introduced to this male phenomenon because of my father. We always just assumed that old age was causing him to lose his hearing. Often, when we’d try to talk to him about something important (needing money, for instance), he’d respond by saying, “HUH?” After a couple of failed attempts to talk to Dad, we’d give up and walk away, grumbling about his deafness. We found it strange, however, that, from time to time, Dad was blessed with super-human hearing. We could be having a hushed conversation about Dad at the opposite end of the room from where he was supposedly taking a nap in front of the TV (which was showing a Formula One race), and he’d still hear us and make some kind of smart-ass response.

Was it a miracle? I highly doubt it. To us, it was something we called “selective hearing.”

But male selection goes much further than just the sense of hearing. Consider these other examples:

  • Even if he has a cold, a man can smell that the neighbor down the street is grilling steaks –- but he can never smell the rotting garbage in the kitchen.

  • A man can observe a perfect pair of legs from three hundred feet away –- but he won’t notice if you dye your blonde hair brown.

  • He’ll notice a speck of dust on his car’s hood (and he’ll instantly pull out his special car-dusting rag to clean it) –- but he’ll never notice the two inches of soap scum that have accumulated in his shower.

  • A man can go into detail about last night’s game (complete with explicit commentary about each call made by the ref) -– but he’ll never be able to tell you how he really feels about you.

  • He’ll remember the numbers of all of his credit cards -– but he won’t be able to remember your phone number.

So what does this evidence show us? It shows that men aren’t as stupid/deaf/messy as we often accuse them of being. But perhaps they have only a limited capability to do things like observe and hear and converse, so they save it up for the things that really matter –- like Super Bowl Sunday.

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