Normal Men

Everyone thinks they are normal. It’s a broad generalization, but probably more true than not. In fact, the entire crux of this website is based on the assumption that I am normal and that my experiences and insights are similar to yours and other Stay-At-Home-Dads.

Having said that, I am wise enough to know that I am not smart enough to know everything that there is to know, you know? I might know what I do, because I am right there watching me do it, but I might not know why I do it.

That’s when it’s time to look to the experts. When talking about men, it’s impossible to avoid looking at women…it’s impossible to avoid comparing how men and women are different. On that subject, there is no expert more popular than Dr. John Gray, who wrote Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus; the Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus Day-to-Day Calendar; and coming soon, the Ken is from Mars, Barbie is from Venus: Let’s Communicate! Doll House, complete with couch and Kleenex box.

The main point of Doc Gray’s books and accessories is that men and women are different. For example, it is a proven fact that men don’t ask for directions. It’s in our DNA (Don’t Need Assistance). When a man refuses to accept help, Gray calls this “going into our caves”. Women call this “being pig-headed”. If Columbus had asked for directions to the East Indies, he would have ended up in the East Indies and we wouldn’t get the second Monday in October off every year.

According to Gray, when women face a problem, their first instinct is to talk about it with others until they arrive at a solution or decide to buy some shoes. When men face a challenge, our first instinct is to overcome it by ourselves. As with women, the solving of the problem is as important as the solution. They find satisfaction in talking it through. We find satisfaction in knowing that we conquered the dilemma, we climbed the mountain, we fixed the sink. Any schmoe can call a plumber. If we can fix the leaky faucet without the help of someone else, no matter how incompetent we are or how much duct tape we use, we get the validation, not Mr. RotoRooter.

How gratifying would it be to simply follow the directions given by some pimply-faced clerk at the 7-11? No, we need to hunt out the crossroads, examine the countryside, measure the angle of the sun, and find the perfect shortcut to our goal. We will lead our families to our destination, no matter how long it takes. We are men. It’s what we do.

So the next time your wife thinks you are lost and has that “All you need to do is ask for directions” look on her face, you can tell her not to worry. Everything’s normal.

©2008, Mark Phillips

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 Women, it's true, make human beings, but only men can make men. - Margaret Mead

Mark Phillips is a Stay-At-Home-Dad and freelance writer. Along with raising his four children, he is developing a franchise called “The Vacuum IS a Power Tool.” It is designed to help SAHDs maintain that which makes us men, instead of hairy Mom-substitutes. He earned a B.S. in Communication/Theatre Arts and teaching certificates in English, public speaking, and psychology from Eastern Michigan University. After six years as a high school English teacher and Director of Dramatic Arts at Powers Catholic High School in Flint, Michigan, he changed careers and became a Stay-At-Home-Dad. or E-Mail

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