When it comes to laughter, the joke is on men
The economy is in tatters and folks are sour. Thank goodness there's always one thing to cheer us up: male bashing.
Why do men mow the lawn with electric mowers? So they can find their way back to the house. How did the man lose 95 percent of his smarts? His wife died. What do you call a man with half a brain? Gifted.
Such jokes are readily available on the Internet — with good reason. Women are angry at men.
Guy Garcia, author of "The Decline of Men: How The American Male Is Tuning Out, Giving Up, and Flipping Off His Future," told me why. Whereas women have successfully moved into traditional male roles, men aren't sure what to do.
"Women work hard at their jobs — sometimes earning more than their husbands — yet when they get home, they often do the cooking, clean the house and put the kids to bed," said Garcia. "Who can blame them for being angry?"
Thus, women think we're lazy, as illustrated by the following:
How do you get a man to do sit-ups? You put a remote control between his toes. How many men does it take to change a roll of toilet paper? No one knows. It never happened before.
The fact is women are doing better than men at all levels of education — and receiving nearly 60 percent of all college degrees. They're gaining rapidly on men as small-business entrepreneurs. In the large metros, they're already earning more than their male counterparts.
As women excel, men are stumbling. They're dropping out of school at a far greater rate than women. They're seeing their income stall or decline — even men with college degrees. They're much likelier to die early from not taking care of themselves.
As women thrive, marketers are targeting them. Television programming is designed to draw them in so advertisers can sell to them. And few things draw them in more, as evidenced by television shows and advertisements, than bumbling, idiot males who screw everything up.
Garcia said the male-bashing trend is also a result of the pent-up anger women still hold for men. The fact is, it wasn't long ago that it was a man's world — that women had limited opportunities and options. For some women, male bashing is a form of payback.
But Garcia likens the continued assault on the faltering male to an army that has been all too successful. Armies that keep winning don't always know when to stop fighting. That sentiment is reflected in another interesting trend: the male-bashing greeting card, as reported in The Washington Times.
In one card, a married couple is in bed reading. The title of the woman's book is, "Women are From Venus, Men are Idiots." Another card, designed for men to give to women, reads, "Being humble and apologetic does not come easy for me. Unfortunately, being stupid does. Please forgive me."
The irony is that men aren't fighting women. Most are bending over backwards to accommodate women.
Gone are the days when a bald, chubby fellow could win the heart of a lovely lady, so long as he was a CPA. As women out-earn men, they want from us what we thought we wanted from them: charm and good looks.
Thus, even the burliest fellows are down at the hair salon having goop put in their hair — they're fussing over their figures and their high-fashion duds — with hopes of pleasing their female counterparts.
"As men have lost economic and social power, they are adapting," said Garcia. "Making themselves attractive to women is a way of compensating."
Garcia argues that in the most extreme cases a significant social trend has occurred — that as men stumble and fall behind, they are dropping out and giving up. He says we're in a state of denial — that the faltering male doesn't do anyone any good.
"The shrinking pool of educated, eligible males only adds to the perception that men are clueless deadbeats, a downward spiral that could affect generations to come," he said.
But then again, Garcia is a male, so what can he know about anything? There's a reason blonde jokes are so short, you know: so men can remember them.
This is an excerpt from "Comical Sense: A Lone Humorist Takes on a World Gone Nutty!" by Tom Purcell now available at amazon.com.
• Tom Purcell, author of "Comical Sense" and "Misadventures of a 1970's Childhood," is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Email Tom at Purcell@caglecartoons.com.