Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pumas, Bulldozers, and Trashy Entertainment

Apparently, male dominance has come to an end, and none too soon. It's been such a burden keeping up the pretense. I'm glad females are now taking their rightful place on the throne, though there seems to be some disagreement as to whether the new rule will be a partnership between the sexes or if the Y chromosome will abdicate, as if it hasn't done so already. Don't be fooled by the argument that it is actually all about class and race. Pushing that contention may get you brownie points with the lefties at the universities. But really, it's all about sex. It's always been about sex. You can blame just about everything on hormonal differences.

Over the years, researchers have sometimes exaggerated these differences and described the particular talents of women in crude gender stereotypes: women as more empathetic, as better consensus-seekers and better lateral thinkers; women as bringing a superior moral sensibility to bear on a cutthroat business world. In the '90s, this field of feminist business theory seemed to be forcing the point. But after the latest financial crisis, these ideas have more resonance. Researchers have started looking into the relationship between testosterone and excessive risk, and wondering if groups of men, in some basic hormonal way, spur each other to make reckless decisions. The picture emerging is a mirror image of the traditional gender map: men and markets on the side of the irrational and overemotional, and women on the side of the cool and levelheaded.

Yes, we fifty somethings are terribly emotional, even more so after having gone from alpha to omega. Of course, we've taken too much risk. We wanted to hit the big payday before we met the grim reaper – what a foolish concept. Now we're all sniveling whiners.

What is to become of us? No cougar will take us as her boy-toy. Will she simply plow us under, instead? Perish the thought. Maybe we can supply her with some other entertainment. Some gay repartee might do the trick. William Powell in The Thin Man to her Myrna Loy? Everyone loves a tippler. Or possibly the worldly philosophy of Groucho Marx, just to show it really was Margaret Dumont who pulled the strings? Or for pure silliness, what about Tommy Smothers?

Alas, we're not that funny. Looks like it's going to be mud wrestling.

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