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Much has been said over the centuries about what it is to be human.  I suppose it is natural for us to consider what it is to be people.  After all, I would imagine that moments when we catch our pets staring off into space they are actually contemplating the state of being that is “Canine” or “Feline.”  Or maybe there’s just something shiny, I can never be sure.

I think Shakespeare made one of the most interesting observations on the human experience when he, through one of his greatest characters, Hamlet, stated:

What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals

However, we can dig deeper.  There are so many nuances to the human existence that examination can take countless twists and turns.

Take gender as an example, or more specifically the male gender.

Now, I can already hear the women in my audience groaning, expecting some sort of dissertation on how great guys are and how the women-folk couldn’t get along without us.  I actually believe quite the opposite.  We men are, in many ways, elder adolescents.  Without women to curb our tendencies we could get ourselves in no end of trouble and think it was the absolute funniest thing in the world.

But, I digress.  There is actually one aspect of being a male of the human species that I’d like to examine: the waiting.

You see, civilization has progressed in such a way that men have become consummate professionals in this regard.  We are trained in our early years to wait alongside our female counterparts when we must wait for Christmas or our birthday, or wait until dinner, etc.

But, at some point females begin some sort of secret training regime.  This training is invisible to the clueless males around which it is conducted.  Slowly, females learn how to turn themselves from the ones waiting to the ones waited for.  The change is so subtly accomplished that we, as men, don’t even realize what has happened until it is far too late.  Every man remembers the moment that they realize that women have turned this table upon them.  The experience has a universal quality, and while the details may vary the overall experience is the same.

You are picking her up for a first date.  The agreed upon time: 8:00.  Your arrival: 7:55.  Her appearance from the upper reaches of her home: between 8:30 and 8:45.  In the meantime, you are sweating.  You see, not only does she have you in her clutches, but there is another who knows that this is the case.  Her father.  He remembers this moment from his past and the knowledge of experience mix with the protectiveness of fatherhood in a toxic cocktail.  This is the single most uncomfortable conversation in the world.  He knows it.  She knows it.  And you have no power.

But, this is just the opening salvo.  As the tears go by you find yourself playing this waiting game over and over.  And it becomes sadistic at times.  The moment she hands you her purse as she shops is the moment you know you have completely and utterly lost.  Fight it if you will, the day will come. 

It even becomes generational if you have daughters.  Drive by any school of dance, gymnastics studio, or the like in the evening and your likely to see a huddled mass of fathers waiting.  The defeat flows off them in an almost visible cloud as they try to lend one another strength by not making eye contact.  Eye contact means you are admitting to another man you have lost, and he is doing the same.  Stoicism is the order of the day.

Yes, we wait.  We wait because we cannot help ourselves.  We wait because we know, deep inside, that without women we would just blow the whole place up.  And giggle.

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One Comment

  1. Should I be worried that Andrew already knows what the “husband chair” outside a woman’sdressing room is for?


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