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Man Of Meal

With all the male-bashing I see these days, I've started hating women. Sexism has been replaced by reverse sexism. Hallmark has a line of cards saying men are pigs. Female comedians ridicule men. Ads depict men as sex objects. Worse yet, men die about seven years younger than women, on average, yet marathons and fundraisers are held for victims of breast cancer exclusively. Where are the people running to fight prostate cancer? Other such examples abound. I submit that men, not women, are the real oppressed class.

--One Of The Oppressed

AND I SUBMIT that you haven't gotten laid since Napoleon was in office. Clearly, that's the real issue here. And no wonder. With "Women are meeeeeeean!" and "Life isn't faaaaaair!" as your mating calls, you'd be lucky if you picked up lint.

You are right that the world has, as of late, been playing kickball with the tender feelings of men; especially those of white men, poor dears. On a positive note, this drubbing has revealed that men and women are more equal than that legions from each gender appear to have had their sense of humor amputated.

Then again, much of the women-against-men comedy is in poor taste. Take item one on your list: Hallmark cards. While Hallmark does not, as you claim, have a line of cards that says men are pigs; a few years ago, there was one card that caused an uproar. Its caption: "Men are scum. Excuse me. For a second there I was feeling generous." This example is indeed troubling...namely because it's a humor card that's about 300 miles away from being funny.

Of course, the stinging contention that some men are piggies would be mortally unfunny to any man whose life is one long swirly in self-pity. To anybody with a sense of humor and the brains to stay out of the whine business, men compare to a range of creatures, including pigs, goats, golden retrievers, Sasquatch; and, in the cases of men who haven't cleaned their bathrooms since they moved into their apartments: anything that makes its home in a petri dish.

If you weren't so busy sniffing out persecution, you might even make fun of yourself -- ("Pick the barnyard animal that resembles you best!") -- just as my smartypants friend Irene brushes off her occasional lapse into air-for-brains-ville with "I was having a blonde moment." Is she..."blonde-ist!?" No, she's blonde. And she's a walking encyclopedia of blonde jokes; some more self-deprecating than others: "Why are blonde jokes so short? So men can remember them."

When men aren't being made the butt of blonde jokes, they're being turned into (gasp!) sex objects. (You should be so should we all). By the way, just because a woman can't take her eyes off your well-oiled, heaving abs doesn't mean she can't, at the same time, love you for your whining and hostility (or any attractive personality traits you might possess).

But enough about your disposition. Let's move onto a related subject: the death rate.

Supposedly, disproportionate job stress makes men beat women to the grave. Well, according to the book, "Psychology -- An Evolutionary Approach," by Gaulin and McBurney, "Males of a diverse number of species live shorter lives than females." These species include grouse, ground squirrels, and hummingbirds -- none of which are known for putting in 80-hour weeks at the office. Studies show that testosterone, which makes men into manlier men, makes men prone to engage in riskier behavior than females do and more susceptible to disease.

This brings us to your poor, neglected prostate. Breasts do have a visual edge over prostates. But, if we girls could see your prostate, we might ogle it approvingly when it jiggled by. We might even take a little jog in its behalf -- a run for people with prostates by people who love people with prostates...which brings us to bad news on the blame-a-thon front: Breast cancer activists created their fundraisers by copying men -- male AIDS activists -- who, out of financial need, made fundraising chic. You, in turn, are welcome to copy the copycats in behalf of your prostate or any other parts of your body. (Just a suggestion, but "Complain For The Cure" probably won't net you as many research dollars as jogging for it will.)

Should you prefer to further your study of oppression, try to trade places with a jailed Chinese dissident. It won't be easy -- I mean, what man in his right mind would give up torture, starvation, and hard labor to sit in an easy chair in suburbia flipping through Cosmo and watching in horror as men are forced to parade around in tight pants on cable TV?

Copyright ©2001, Amy Alkon, from her syndicated column, Ask The Advice Goddess, which appears in 60 papers across the U.S. and Canada. All rights reserved.