From Where I Sit – What Men Are Good For

At work the other day conversation turned to the relative value of men in our lives. Unscrewing pickle jars and checking oil were two quick responses. Assembling multi-part contraptions was another. Unfortunately, the end of coffee break signaled the end of the discussion — just before it got juicy!

My interest was piqued. What better way to honor my ongoing commitment to you, dear reader, than to bring you the best in sound scientific research, deep, thought-provoking lifestyle questions, trendy topics, opinion pieces and: um: everyday, real life issues such as an impromptu telephone survey asking “what are men good for?”

Every woman I talked to first laughed out loud at the absurdity of the question. Despite promises of anonymity, I could practically hear the censoring mechanism softening the responses to come. I contacted seven women ranging in age from 17 to 70, the vast majority long-timed ‘marrieds’ still on their first husbands. Without exception, these are all normal, well-adjusted successful women. So how come the answers were so tongue in cheek? The amateur sociologist in me wants to understand the dismissive humor and confessions of exploitation evidenced in the majority of the responses. All of us are women who love and value the men in our lives, so what gives?

“Not a helluva lot,” “nothing,” “now that you mention it:,” “someone to blame,” and laughter were some of the first answers I received.

Bullwork, muscle, heavy lifting, dirty jobs, and tough jobs like installing storm windows, changing oil and roto-tilling were some of the next answers. Dead mouse removal ranked right up there too.

There were mixed reviews in the household department. “The tall ones are good for washing walls,” said one. “Getting a new wardrobe when he adds bleach to the laundry,” said another. “He doesn’t have a clue where to hang a picture but at least he can pound in the nail,” added a third. “Making a mess and not picking up after himself” was one sarcastic reply.

Parallel parking and driving late at night or in bad weather or in unfamiliar places means a lot to some women.
Financial security and the clockwork-like appearance of a paycheck every two weeks are also a huge part of the male appeal. Wheeling and dealing and making major purchases seems to be a male strength in many families. “Keeping me warm at night” and allusions to sexual favors came from the one divorcee in my sample. Love and tenderness and the acknowledgement that we couldn’t live without ’em came from more than one woman. Companionship, heavy conversation and good arguments came from another.

Kind of makes you wonder what the guys would say if the shoe were on the other foot. So ladies whether your man is tall, strong, gainfully employed, sexy, a good driver, a great talker or all of the above, hang onto him.

That’s only part of what men are good for, where I sit.

*Reprinted with permission