Article Date: 9/1/2009

Ginger and Fred
lessons learned

Ginger and Fred

One sex is sweeter, smarter and more accomplished than the other.

JACK RUNNINGER, O.D.

You perhaps will remember that the theme of last month's column was the necessity of men and women O.D.'s understanding the differences between the two sexes. I maintained that we could accomplish this more smoothly via humor and exaggeration. Continuing this theme, some random thoughts:

One difference: Women are not only nicer and sweeter than men, but also, though it pains me to say, probably smarter and more accomplished. For example, Fred Astaire received all sorts of accolades for his dancing skills. But his partner, Ginger Rogers, performed all the same steps he did, and did it dancing backwards, and in high heels.

Klutzes

Men often are insecure in the presence of females due to a basic fear of women.

I attended DePauw University for my pre-optometry where the co-eds scared the hell out of a young klutz like me. Thus, I never found the nerve to ask some fair damsel for a date during my freshman year. Our fraternity upper classmen felt having such a social dud among their membership did not reflect well on the fraternity's reputation, so one of them arranged a date for me with a lovely freshman named Sue Pulliam. The date was a fiasco. She was obviously and justifiably not impressed by my lack of “couth” and savoir faire, and exhibited zero interest in pursuing any further relationship.

What “coulda” been

Sue's older sister, a senior, was betrothed to a fellow senior, James Quayle. Later they married and had an offspring by the name of Dan Quayle, who you may recall became vice president of the United States. Thus, if I had only been more charming and debonair, and not afraid of women, I might have wooed and won the hand of his Aunt Sue, and later hobnobbed with the elite in Washington.

Despite this basic fear of women, I'm afraid that male chauvinism still exists. One recent example:

“Stand back,” a self-important male told a female bystander when a man had collapsed on the sidewalk. “I've had first-aid training and I'll take charge of this.”

“Okay,” replied the lady. “And when you get to the part where you're supposed to get a physician, I'll be right here.”

Not too smart

Another difference between us is that men make less mistakes than do women. According to statistics that I am making up as I go along, men make an average of 0.8 mistakes per day, while women make 3.6. The problem is that when males do make a mistake, it's usually a whopper.

I may have mentioned before that I remarried a few months ago. I wrote a column for our local newspaper that explained how new bride and I got together. I maintained (not true) that when we met she said, “You look exactly like my second husband.”

“Indeed?” I said. “How many times have you been married?”

“Just once,” she said. I soon discovered that publishing this falsehood for the entire community to read was not the smartest thing I've ever done.


ILLUSTRATION BY AMY WUMMER

But it's the 95 % of men who tell demeaning stories about women that give the rest of us males a bad name. Like this one:

“Oh, why did you have to die,” said the man, tears pouring down his cheeks as he hugged a tombstone, “why did you have to die?!”

“Your wife's grave?” sympathized a lady standing nearby.

“No,” tearfully replied the man. “Her first husband's.” OM


JACK RUNNINGER, OUR CONSULTING EDITOR, LIVES IN ROME, GA. HE'S ALSO A PAST EDITOR OF OM. CONTACT HIM AT RUNNINGERJ@COMCAST.COM

Optometric Management, Issue: September 2009