This classic Dave Barry column was originally published on Sept. 26,
1999.
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    So I was at this party, and I wound up at a table where three
attractive single women were complaining about – Surprise! – men.
Specifically, they were complaining about the pickup lines that had been
used on them in a bar a few nights earlier.

    One woman said: ”This guy comes up to me and says, ‘Are you a
teacher?’ I mean, is that supposed to be romantic?” All three women
rolled all six of their eyes.

    Another one of them said: ”This guy says to me, ‘I’ve been looking
at you all night!’ So I go, ‘Hel-LO, we just GOT here.”’

    At this point all three women – and I want to stress that these are
intelligent, nice women – were laughing. Not me. I was feeling bad for
the guys.

    I realize that there are certain hardships that only females must
endure, such as childbirth, waiting in lines for public-restroom stalls,
and a crippling, psychotic obsession with shoe color. Also, females tend to
reach emotional maturity very quickly, so that by age 7 they are no
longer capable of seeing the humor in loud inadvertent public blasts of
flatulence, whereas males can continue to derive vast enjoyment from this well into their 80s. So I grant that it is not easy being a female.

    But I contend that nature has given males the heaviest burden of
all:  the burden of always having to Make the First Move, and thereby risk
getting Shot Down. I don’t know WHY males get stuck with this burden, but it’s
true throughout the animal kingdom. If you watch the nature shows on the
Discovery Channel, you’ll note that whatever species they are talking
about – birds, crabs, spiders, clams – it is ALWAYS the male who has to take
the initiative. It’s always the male bird who does the courting dance,
making a total moron of himself, while the female bird just stands there, looking aloof, thinking about what she’s going to tell her girlfriends. (”And
then he hopped around on one foot! Like I’m supposed to be impressed by
THAT!”).

    Male insects have it the worst. The Discovery Channel announcer is
always saying things like: ”After the mating, the female mantis bites
off the male mantis’ head, and then she and her girlfriend mantises use it
to play a game that looks a lot like Skee Ball.”

    Because I live in Florida, my patio is basically a giant singles
bar for lizards. On any given day during mating season, I’ll see dozens of
male lizards out there making their most suave lizard move, which consists of
inflating and deflating a red pouch under their chins. They seem to
think that female lizards really go for a guy with a big chin pouch, but I
have never once, in 14 years of close observation, seen a female respond.
They just squat there looking bored, while all around them males are blinking
on and off like defective warning lights.

    Every now and then you’ll see an offbeat TV news story about some
animal, usually a moose, that has for some reason fallen in love with,
and decided to relentlessly court, something totally inappropriate, such as
a lawn tractor. This animal is ALWAYS a male. On the TV, they show it
hanging around the lawn tractor with a big, sad, moony look, totally smitten,
while the lawn tractor cruelly ignores it.

    My point here is that, in matters of the heart, males have the
brains of a walnut. No, wait! That is not my point. My point is that perhaps
you women could cut us males a little bit of slack in the move-making
process, because we are under a lot of stress.

    I vividly remember when I was in 10th grade, and I wanted to call a
girl named Patty and ask her to a dance, and before I picked up the
phone, I spent maybe 28 hours rehearsing exactly what I was going to say. So when I actually made the call, I was pretty smooth.
”Hello, Dance?” I said. ”This is Patty. Do you want to go to the
Dave with me?”

    Fortunately Patty grasped the basic thrust of my gist and agreed to
go to the dance. This was a good thing, because if she had shot me down, I
would have been so humiliated that I would have never have been able to
go back to school. I would have dropped out of 10th grade and lied about my
age and joined the U.S. armed forces, and as a direct result the Russians
would have won the Cold War.

    That is the awesome power that you women have over us men. I hope
you understand this, and the next time a guy walks up and uses some
incredibly lame, boneheaded line on you, I hope that, instead of laughing at him, you will remember that he is under the intense pressure of wanting to
impress you enough so that you might want to get to know him better and maybe
eventually, perhaps within the next 15 minutes, marry him, thereby
enabling the survival of the human race, which believe me is the only thing that
we males are truly concerned about.

    In conclusion, let me just say to all females everywhere, on behalf
of all males everywhere, that you are very beautiful and your eyes are like
twoshining stars, unless you’re a female fly, in which case your eyes are
more like 2,038 shining stars. So please give us a chance. And if you’re not
interested, could you introduce us to your lawn tractor?

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