By Tom Purcell
November 16, 2007
Women have confused me since I was a kid. As the only boy, with five sisters, I learned early on that the female sex is impossible for a fellow to comprehend.
No matter what I did, my sisters were agitated with me. They said I hogged all the dessert, that I messed up the house and that I never replaced the toilet paper roll (which, I'm told, needs to be changed now and then).
My father had it worse. At least once a week he'd say something that would set one of my sisters off. As doors slammed and the house shook, he'd tell my mother, "But all I did was ask her if she wanted more carrots."
The feminist movement made relations between men and women all the more confusing.
I was taught to hold the car door open for a woman, but many women are offended by such a gesture now; they say it is patronizing. The only thing more offensive, apparently, is not to offer to hold the car door open.
Women are easily offended at dinner, too. After the meal is complete, they're angered if you don't let them split the check. But no sooner do you ask them to split the check than they complain you must not like them very much.
Befuddlement with the female sex is something that burdens every man. It is why bars were invented. We go to bars to commiserate with other men about our inability to comprehend what women want.
And now our befuddlement has made its way to the presidential election.
As it goes, Hillary got clobbered in the last debate. She stood on so many sides of the issues, she sprained her ankles. Her answers to moderator Tim Russert's questions were so evasive, her male competitors finally had an opportunity to pounce.
But rather than take the pouncing like a man, Hillary responded like an offended teen girl. Her campaign portrayed her as a victim -- they said the meany men piled up on her. Her husband, angered by the treatment of his little lady, said she was swift-boated.
Which begs the unfortunate question: What does a woman running for president really want?
Does she want to be measured solely by her skills as a leader and debater or does she want our sympathy every time things go wrong?
Does she want to win because her ideas and vision offer the best solutions for America or does she hope to make her way to the presidency by stoking the emotions and ire of her female supporters?
Does she want America to be a truly progressive place -- so progressive that a candidate's sex has no relevance and isn't even mentioned? -- or does she want to yank out the wounded-female card every time it works to her advantage?
It's no wonder why men are so perplexed by Hillary. A recent USA Today/Gallup Poll found that half of all men -- and 55 percent of married men -- would never vote for her.
Perhaps Hillary would do better if she followed the lead of former British Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher. Like Thatcher or hate her, she was never defined as a woman. She was defined by her leadership, toughness and ideas.
I wish Hillary would ditch the touchy-feely stuff. I wish she would more clearly define her ideas. Then men wouldn't vote against her because they are bewildered. They'll vote against her because her big-government ideas are the exact wrong direction for America to go.
But I fear Hillary won't stop pulling out the female card. Maybe if she makes it to the presidency, she can use it to her advantage.
If a rogue dictator threatens to attack us, she can build a giant pair of bifocals that spans all 50 states and say, "You wouldn't fight a country with glasses, would you?"
If Ahmadinejad doesn't give up his nuclear ambitions, she can build a lamp the size of Maine and threaten to throw it at him.
If al-Qaida threatens to strike,
she can stall them by saying, "Not tonight, Osama. I have
Tom Purcell's weekly political humor column runs in papers and Web sites across America. Tom Purcell is a humor columnist nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons.
For comments to Tom, please email him at Purcell[at]caglecartoons.com
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