Friday, July 16, 2004

Whomping the yak and beaming the gadget

Looking over Dave Barry’s column today in the IHT (here), I was dismayed that I am gender neutral by his analysis. [Because if you have one count of manhood and one of womanhood, what could you possibly be if not stuck in a gender warp of neutrality?] 
 
Barry makes the familiar point about male/female differences in shopping. He traces male goal-directedness (enter store, zero in on item, purchase, leave store) to prehistoric times where man would draw a piece of meat on the cave wall (a yak perhaps),  go out and whomp the yak (“making the purchase”),  come home and eat it.  I am just like that. I despise malls and am anxious when the first store doesn’t have exactly what I want. I want my yak to be there and waiting for me to whomp it. 
 
But there is his second point – about the manhood of acquiring  gadgets that are about as necessary as  a spare tire is for a tricyce. Barry describes his experiences with using a fancy new cell phone ineffectively (since men don’t read instruction manuals. Ever.). The goal? To beam an email message to his pal standing two feet away (who attempts then to beam one back).
 
My history with gadgets is terribly dysfunctional, which, I suppose,  places me in the category of a stereotypical woman who prefers to work her dough with her hands and talk to people directly rather than through gadgets. Not only do I avoid gadgets, but when I buy them I don't use them. I acquired  a palm thingie back in November. I set it up on my desk in the study just to remind myself how stupid that purchase was. I hereby admit that I never even studied  all its special features.
 
So perhaps when I was getting my hair cut today I should have taken into account my newly established gender identity: half and half. Hmm, maybe I’ll start using more gadgets. Why is it that men have the better set of stereotypes in this equation?

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