When we’re in charge, things are going to change around here
Some thoughts on Viagra, Oreos and war as a dance fight
An acquaintance once shared a piercing insight with me, namely that a woman would never have invented Viagra or its evil twin Cialis. Rather than addressing erectile dysfunction, she pointed out, a modern day Madame Curie would almost certainly have taken on the larger, more pressing problem of masculine inability to pick up dirty undershorts, socks and T-shirts from the floor and transfer them to the hamper. Among the fairer sex, it is well known that the repetitive act of relocating well worn, often soiled undergarments is a surefire libido killer in women. As a result, Viagra becomes about as useful as sneakers on a fish, and the only thing the suddenly tumescent spouse is likely to be able to use that thing for is a place to hang his damp bath towel.
For obvious reasons, I often recall this conversation while sorting the laundry, and recently as I was working my way through about six weeks’ worth of washing, I had ample opportunity to consider the question of how our world would be different if women had done the bulk of the inventing over the years.
Now, before my male readers jump ship and go searching for more testerone-friendly surroundings, let me just say that I have no plans to turn this into a husband bashing extravaganza, unless of course I decide to whip up another batch of Bloody Marys before I get to the end of this post. In that case, all bets are off, grammar rules become suggestions and I can’t guarantee we won’t also end up discussing Emeril, Fairway or the New York Yankees in terms that are at best pejorative, or at worst obscene. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I like guys. I really do. In fact, I have always tended to avoid anything with a feminist label, starting with Virginia Woolf and continuing through the ass-frying ill humor of Gloria Steinem and right on up to the droning, whining sanctimony of the Women’s Studies majors of today. Though I remember clearly the era of bra burning and Women’s Lib, with the exception of Bella Abzug’s hats, I have always found it all too boring and annoying to even contemplate. Call me an ingrate; I’ve been called far worse and occasionally will even answer to the name.
Anyhoo, where was I? Oh yes, Madame Curie, Viagra, undershorts. So I have concluded that daily life would be subtly, yet measurably different had women been doing the inventing over the years. For example:
First of all, any wattage higher than 60 would never have been invented, and if it had, the bulbs would be in use in operating rooms and holding cells exclusively. The notion of domestic overhead fixtures would have been dismissed outright as the product of diseased minds. Why? Because stark 150 watt bulbs are absolutely disastrous for all but the youngest female face. I haven’t screwed in anything higher than 60 watts in my house for years, and we may be on the cusp of a general downgrade to 40 watts in the not too distant future. If my eyebags get any more ruched, it may come to a candles-only policy in the evening. Eventually Mr. Slattern will have to learn to read Braille or start wearing a petzl around the house.
Now I realize Isaac Newton only discovered the principle of gravity, but I think we can agree his time might have been better spent trying to reverse it. One look at my jawline is proof enough. If only he’d brought his work home, I think Mrs. Newton might have been able to offer some gentle suggestions and guidance as to the direction his work might take for the betterment of mankind. If so, asses might be riding a bit higher in midlife and millions of tragic face, brow and breast lifts could well have been avoided.
Oreos = Health Food
If women ran the food industry, they would have long since developed a harmless and effective way to remove the carbs and calories from sugary treats, so that spending Saturday night with a pound of thin mints or a cherry cheesecake would be the same as a week at a
fat farm spa. Also, there would be no “cool ranch” anything, and beef jerky would be sold in the pet food aisle.
It would never have existed – at all – and we’d all have been spared the sight of hideous bowling shirts and the horror of rented shoes. If by some quirk the game had been invented by a woman, the shoes at least would come only in black (slingbacks with a kitten heel I think), teams would wear matching caftans and champagne would be sold at a modest mark-up in the bar.
The Theory of War
Forget Sun Tzu. Left to us, war, territorial disputes and power struggles would be resolved by either 1) dance fighting, 2) fashion supremacy, or 3) a series of cutting remarks. Failing that, we’d dress the combatants in formal attire and lock them in a small overheated den with their mothers in law for a few days while The Wheel of Fortune played on a continuous loop. That, my friends, is deterrence that works.