Hello, everyone! Welcome back to another edition of Ask-a-Dude!
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Today's question is:
A: Outstanding question.
Guys think they're simple creatures, and would have you believe they have the same needs as adults that they did as babies (boobs and a clean diaper). It's a fallacy, of course, guys are faaaar more complicated than they pretend to be.
(I should clarify I'm mostly talking about heterosexual males. Simple Male Syndrome does not appear to be a delusion shared by gay men. None of my gay friends pretend to be anything other than the fabulously complicated creatures they were born as.)
It takes a lot of energy to keep up this façade of simplicity. Most guys manage it okay, but there is a penalty. It's like those Klingon warbirds with the nifty cloak that you have to disengage if you want to fire weapons. You can't run two competing systems simultaneously. That's why, when some dude is pretending to be all chill while talking out his ass on a topic YOU know he's clueless about, and you call him on it, you can cause a system overload. Men, just like Klingon ships, cannot fight and hide at the same time.
The result is a break with reality, a glitch in the matrix that appears suddenly with no explanation, and if you ask for one, guys will pretend whatever just happened was what they intended all along. The simplest example is the "trip run." That's where a guy will be walking down the street, trip on his own shoelaces, and then break into a jog, like he suddenly checked his pedometer and needed to burn a few extra calories.
At the other extreme is war. Someone will be all, there are no weapons of mass destruction there, and guys will be all, yeah there are, and you'll be like, nuh-uh, and then suddenly guys are all, booyah, I just broke your country.
Never underestimate the destructive power of a male who's been challenged to account for himself.
Here's a more recent example.
I imagine it went down like this: the creator of this game was relaxing at home when his girlfriend innocently asked if he wouldn't mind refilling the ice cube tray after using it.
"What did you just say to me?!"
Boom. Goat Simulator.
See, asking guys to be responsible is like squeezing a balloon. No matter how gently you squeeze, the balloon is going to bubble up somewhere else. Goat Simulator is that bubble. Also, masking-tape faces.
The truth is, roiling within the skull of every man, is a morass of emotional turmoil that threatens to inflict on the world Even-Toed Ungulate Expansion Packs for Goat Simulator, all because someone mentioned that, perhaps, just maybe, it was sorta, kinda, douchey to take his shoes off and clean between his toes. At the dinner table. In a fancy restaurant. With your parents.
Why do men unravel so easily?
In a word: insecurity.
No matter how put together the guy seems, trust me when I tell you there are insecurities lurking beneath the surface you cannot possibly begin to understand.
No, seriously, give me a random topic. A person, place, or thing, just shout it out.
Too easy. Every guy thinks he knows more about the game than the average player. He also thinks he could make the team if he'd just do a few extra crunches in the morning, but then he'd be all sweaty, and he just showered for school, plus, he doesn't have to PROVE ANYTHING TO ANYONE! Sports offer so many structural failure points for a guy, it's like building a bridge out of Swiss cheese. The slightest challenge to his surety that no one knows or could play the game better, and suddenly you're walking home alone and not entirely sure why.
Gimme another one. Make it obscure.
Fine. Every guy pretends not to care about his look, but they all do. Most guys just clip their fingernails once they're long enough to simply snick off the black end with all the crud under it. Insta-clean nails, and no need for all that time-consuming grooming. But from time to time, he'll get a torn bit that could really do with a nail file. Problem is, the only one he has is the tiny one that came attached to the clippers, and that one's been rusted shut for years. His girlfriend has one, but how to get it without asking? If he goes into her purse gem thief-style, he might be seen, and mocked mercilessly until the end of time. If he asks for one, he will be mocked mercilessly until the end of time. If he doesn't ask, he'll snag his nail on something, yelp in excruciating pain, and will be mocked mercilessly until the end of time.
This calculus rises in an instant. With no clear way to retain his self-esteem, the insecure male's brain will explode, showering the surrounding area with gray matter, and leaving some nonsensical new product in its wake. Like toilet paper holders that don't require you to remove the impossibly complicated spring-loaded tube.
"What if I'm not as manly as Vladimir Putin?"
You can use this knowledge to your advantage, of course. It comes in particularly handy in dating scenarios. You have a huge crush on the hottest guy in class, but you're too scared to ask him out? Don't look at him, look past him, to all the conflicting insecurities threatening to turn him into a blubbering mass of ugly-cry tears, all because you pointed out that he doesn't look like the American Apparel model in his pea coat, he looks like the "before" picture in a police training manual about park flashers. You may not see his insecurities, but they're there, and, likely, others have seen them rear their ugly, Medusa-like heads. Just remember, no matter how good-looking he is, someone, somewhere is tired of his sh!t! If you can roll with all that, then go get some.
The other place this knowledge can be useful is if you're trying to understand your male character. You want him to act as irrationally and batshit crazy as every guy you've ever met. But you also want him to be real, not some cardboard cutout of an alpha-male stereotype.
Simple. Give him something to care about.
It can be his looks, his girlfriend, his car, his lack of car, his grades, his future, his past, or his present. Whatever it is, now realize that his one function in life, the only calling card he needs to get into the men's VIP bathroom, is giving the appearance that the thing that matters to him most, doesn't matter at all.
Now put him in a room with someone who knows the truth.
Insecurity. It's what's for breakfast.
Copil has stopped going to public urinals. Discover his many and varied insecurities on Twitter (@Copil).