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November 20, 2009 8:37 AM   Subscribe

Little known facts about men

My boyfriend was shocked (shocked!) recently when I told him that many women's bathrooms have couches or chairs in them. I was surprised no one had ever told him this before, or that he'd never been in a women's bathroom. (I've had jobs where I've cleaned men's bathrooms, so that world is no secret to me.)

It got me wondering whether there are certain facts about men or common experiences they have that I'm totally unaware of as a woman. Guys, are there things you encounter pretty regularly that a women would know nothing about? Girls, have you ever learned something about men that's both common and surprising?
posted by lunalaguna to Human Relations (351 answers total) 202 users marked this as a favorite
 
Interestingly (or not) the mens change room at our gym has a couch and a nice flat screen tv and the women's doesn't.
posted by Abbril at 8:41 AM on November 20, 2009


When women aren't looking, men pee in sinks. They will never admit this to your face, but it is true.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:45 AM on November 20, 2009 [59 favorites]


Since we're on the topic of bathrooms, my (female) friend didn't know until she was eighteen that men can poo and pee at the same time while sitting on the toilet.

I, on the other hand, have just discovered that women's bathrooms have chairs in.
posted by Conductor71 at 8:46 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


No matter how much you jump, no matter how much you dance, the last few drops always land in your pants.
posted by Partial Law at 8:49 AM on November 20, 2009 [13 favorites]


The couch thing was on Seinfeld, and so was shrinkage (yt).
posted by anonymuk at 8:51 AM on November 20, 2009


Whenever a guy is alone near a full length mirror, they will flex a little.
posted by BobbyDigital at 8:53 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure if this is particularly obscure, but several women I've talked to are boggled by the prospect of being erect without being aroused. Women tend to correlate sexual arousal directly with emotional arousal, and it's difficult to convey that sometimes (or very often) men will be erect without any correlative stimulus.

This means that, very often, we sit at our desks staring at spreadsheets, wondering when we will be able to concentrate again.
posted by Lifeson at 8:53 AM on November 20, 2009 [18 favorites]


When women aren't looking, men pee in sinks.
Married life has sadly forced me to stop doing this, which I regret. I love peeing in sinks.

An other thing that is different in bathrooms, you can't imagine how crowded men's rooms are at sporting events. I was at an NFL game once, and there was a separate line of about ten people standing behind each urinal, of which there were about 20. It was incredible.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:53 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


In men's toilets in pubs, there is a sheen of piss in front of the urinal trough that expands away from the trough through the evening. I hope you feel richer for learning this.
posted by biffa at 8:53 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]



Since we're on the topic of bathrooms, my (female) friend didn't know until she was eighteen that men can poo and pee at the same time while sitting on the toilet.

I'm 30 and that's news to me.
posted by Abbril at 8:54 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, there's alwaysUrinal Etiquette
posted by Comrade_robot at 8:55 AM on November 20, 2009


"I don't know how you guys walk around with those things."
-Elaine
posted by 8dot3 at 8:55 AM on November 20, 2009 [13 favorites]


Sometimes we touch, hold, or manipulate our genitals when no one's looking. We're not adjusting for comfort, and we're not masturbating--it's no more arousing than jingling your keys. It's just the urge to fidget meeting something fidgetable.
posted by fatbird at 8:56 AM on November 20, 2009 [34 favorites]


men pee in sinks.

What?? I'm a man and I've never heard of this.
posted by naju at 8:59 AM on November 20, 2009 [28 favorites]


My wife didn't know what urinal cakes are.

Though in all fairness, I don't really know what they are either.
posted by gabrielsamoza at 9:00 AM on November 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


Speaking of urinals, etiquette dictates that when you arrive at the mens room, you take the urinal that is farthest from all other users. And etiquette also dictates that if you are the first occupant, you take one of the urinals along the edge in order to allow the next occupant to be as far from you as possible.

So, in a rank of five urinals:

Occupant 1:
[1] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]

Occupant 2:
[1] [ ] [ ] [ ] [2]

Occupant 3:
[1] [ ] [3] [ ] [2]

Occupant 4:
[1] [ ] [3] [ ] [2]
(undepicted since he saw that he would have to stand right next to someone so he instead took an open stall)


posted by rocketpup at 9:00 AM on November 20, 2009 [46 favorites]


Okay off the topic of genitals, I discovered about a week ago that all men have a general knowledge about sunglasses - brands, fashion, style choices - and that this is considered quite normal and masculine, even though it's along the same lines as having girly shoe knowledge. I (a woman) learned this from my very best friend (a man) who is in no way fashionable, cool, or materialistic, but who nevertheless yacked about specific styles and brands of sunglasses for a good five minutes before I pointed out to him that I had NO idea what he was talking about. He retorted that it's just a thing guys know about, evidently like wallets and multitools. I was suspicious and secretly convinced that I had, unbeknownst to me, become best friends with a Tom Cruise-idolizing fop, but further evidence and questioning of other male friends indicates that it is, in fact, the norm for guys to know about sunglasses the way women know about jimmy choos and fluevogs.
posted by Mizu at 9:03 AM on November 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


Oh, and troughs are barbaric and -- not surprisingly -- more commonly found in Europe than North America. (I kid)
posted by rocketpup at 9:03 AM on November 20, 2009


Sinkpeeing? Never. Flexing in a full length mirror? Nah.

The single thing that men's public bathrooms have in common is that, with rare exception, they are filthy, disgusting, smelly, vile pits of urine, feces, and snot.
posted by The Deej at 9:04 AM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


I am just now learning that it's common for women's rooms to have couches or chairs, too. Where do you go that there is seating other than toilets? I'm used to seeing seating in family rest rooms for breastfeeding mothers, but that's about it.

I learned long ago that men touch their penises about as often as I touch my hair. I also learned they can do a male-only version of the tassel dance. Oh, and they will sniff their own armpits.
posted by notashroom at 9:04 AM on November 20, 2009


So do guys chitchat while at urinals? Or is there some code of silence?
posted by 8dot3 at 9:04 AM on November 20, 2009


All hilarious! How about stuff not related to bathrooms? Work relations? Sleeping behavior? Driving? Etiquette when dealing with other men? How you feel about your mom?
posted by lunalaguna at 9:06 AM on November 20, 2009


I was surprised to find out that a number of men don't seem to know that women have three "holes" down there. And most guys seem to know almost nothing about periods which I think is a shame. Some apparently think it happens all at once. Some think that women daily use tampons "just in case" or that we might keep used tampons in our purses.

Also, love the title of this question.
posted by amanda at 9:09 AM on November 20, 2009


More pee related fun: when whizzing into any sort of toilet while standing up, naked or wearing shorts, you realize how much pee splatters because you feel the fine mist on your bare legs.

You pee in the sink? Barbarian. Why can't you use the water fountain like the rest of us?
posted by dirtdirt at 9:09 AM on November 20, 2009 [9 favorites]


A woman does not automatically know what a circumcised penis looks like vs the uncircumcised version.

It requires a little research or experience.
posted by SLC Mom at 9:10 AM on November 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


Code of silence at the urinals. Some people ignore it, but it's unwise. Occasional exceptions for good friends alone in bathroom, but those times are rare.
posted by craven_morhead at 9:11 AM on November 20, 2009 [13 favorites]


Guys absolutely do not ever fucking chat at urinals. The only sounds allowed are pissing, farting, and loogie-hocking. Sometimes you are allowed ONE comment, but only just before you leave the bathroom, and only to someone you knew before you entered the bathroom.
posted by fleacircus at 9:12 AM on November 20, 2009 [14 favorites]


The whole concept of urinals flushing is completely new to me. Why would they need to flush? I thought they were gravity operated!
posted by kathrineg at 9:12 AM on November 20, 2009


This may just be the men I know, but my god, they seem to have developed a mythology about the sacredness of pooping. Whether it's plotting out specific timeslots during the day when they can spend time on the toilet, whining about how badly they need to poop, or developing complexes about doing it around other people or in public stalls or on Tuesday mornings or in a box... it's all just insane to me.


True story: I had a male friend who, up through college, had to strip completely naked before pooping. He just had to. What the hell?
posted by sarahsynonymous at 9:12 AM on November 20, 2009 [16 favorites]


Pants come off with shoes as soon as I get home at the end of the day.
posted by Loto at 9:15 AM on November 20, 2009 [13 favorites]


Neither I nor any of my other guy friends know anything about sunglasses. I refuse to accept that that is common knowledge among the menfolk.
posted by mattholomew at 9:15 AM on November 20, 2009 [110 favorites]


Non bathroom related: apart from the subject of politics, a man is generally expected to register any complaints he has once and -- having been acknowledged -- shut up about it, at least to the audience currently in attendance.
posted by rocketpup at 9:16 AM on November 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


Little known facts about men

Not all of them are obsessed with urine and the way it comes out of their bodies, contrary to what this discussion may indicate.
posted by fire&wings at 9:17 AM on November 20, 2009 [28 favorites]


Oh my sweet God, is there ever a code of silence. A couple of months ago, I was at the urinal when my organization's CFO pulled up alongside (the dreaded two-urinal bathroom). He then said to me: "I really wish it was easier to find the delete key on these things."

I'm personally averse to the idea of deleting my penis, so I was forced to violate urinal law myself and look at him to figure out what the hell he was talking about.

He was looking at emails on his Blackberry.

For the record: all I know about sunglasses is that the ones I like are called aviators, nor do I ever just fidget with my junk.
posted by McBearclaw at 9:18 AM on November 20, 2009 [35 favorites]


The code of silence is for people who are uncomfortable talking to another dude while having a hand on his own junk. If you aren't self-conscious about this, conversations take place anywhere in the bathroom including one person being at the urinal and the other in a stall.

All the societal norms about bodily noises are ignored during restroom conversation.
posted by Loto at 9:18 AM on November 20, 2009


I remember being fascinated when a male friend filled me in on the "which way do you dress" thing. As in, which side you put 'it' when you put on your pants.
posted by hibbersk at 9:19 AM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Loto: The code of silence is for people who are uncomfortable talking to another dude while having a hand on his own junk. If you aren't self-conscious about this, conversations take place anywhere in the bathroom including one person being at the urinal and the other in a stall.

That's a friend exemption. If you know you are both comfortable, there's no problem.

If you start chit chatting with someone you don't know, that's an aggressive maneuver since you don't know if they are comfortable handling themselves while talking to you. It's a favorite tactic of bar room toughs looking for a fight since they can feign insult if you choose not to respond.
posted by rocketpup at 9:21 AM on November 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


What?? I'm a man and I've never heard of this.

Shenanigans. It is impossible to grow up with male genitalia and not think at some point while looking in the bathroom mirror how convenient it would be if you didn't have to walk all the way over to the toilet.
posted by Aquaman at 9:24 AM on November 20, 2009 [10 favorites]


mizu: I discovered about a week ago that all men have a general knowledge about sunglasses
Not this man, and not most of the men I know. Sorry to burst your bubble?

Sorry, a few more bathroom-related things:
Depending on what bathrooms you've cleaned, maybe you already know this: sometimes establishments use ice instead of urinal cakes. They're about as effective & a lot cheaper.

I prefer not to talk at urinals, but will speak when spoken to by a superior/elder.

Sometimes, if you're lucky, you'll find a newspaper left in the stall by the previous guy.

At my university's gym, the men's locker room has a communal shower while the women have individual stalls with curtains.
posted by knile at 9:24 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Guys bond by "posturing" (aka dick sizing) based on skill. This skill may be physical or knowledge based. Different groups will value different skills, which leads to different group dynamics. For example, a jock with no knowledge of computers would be out of place with a group of programmers, and vice versa, but the interplay of the guy getting accepted into the group is the same. Demonstrated knowledge or skill results in respect and acceptance.

This seems to be different than women groups. Women seem to value relationship and presentation (I was going to say appearances, but its broader than just physical appearance) over demonstrable skills. Not sure if this true, it just appears that way to this guy.

But yeah, I'm hard pressed to think of a male group not responding to how well a new guy knew his stuff. An interesting side note that I've observed, is that the stronger one is in the skills department, the less they have to conform to the group behavior to still be accepted as part of the group (this also seems to apply to women groups, though again I'm less sure about that).
posted by forforf at 9:24 AM on November 20, 2009 [17 favorites]


Re. guys misconceptions about womeny-bits, I have met numerous men who believe different "size" (regular, extra, etc) sanitary products are for different sized ... well, bits...

Not being on particularly familiar terms with boy-bits, I can present the (to me?) little known fact (if in fact true) that backlit nutsacks are like watching a lava-lamp. I can barely believe I typed that, but I need to know.
posted by Iteki at 9:25 AM on November 20, 2009 [12 favorites]


If you start chit chatting with someone you don't know, that's an aggressive maneuver since you don't know if they are comfortable handling themselves while talking to you. It's a favorite tactic of bar room toughs looking for a fight since they can feign insult if you choose not to respond.

See, that's the bar exemption. If you are boozing you are free to make comments relating to the bar or the events happening within. Comments or conversation outside of those topics are verboten; unless they fall under the friend exemption of course.
posted by Loto at 9:27 AM on November 20, 2009


These facts are 100% true for all men everywhere and anyone who says otherwise is lying because they’re probably trying to impress a woman somewhere*:

We never, ever use that little flap thingy in our underwear. Most of us don’t even know what it’s for.

We take pride in our farts and sometimes our shits. Like, an amazing amount of pride. If you knew just how much pride we take in a big fart you’d want nothing to do with us.

Whenever we pass a woman, any woman, we decide in our heads whether or not we’d “hit it” and sometimes we decide just how we’d hit it.

We all secretly long to own flamethrowers and sniper rifles, even those of us opposed to violence.

We’d trade everything, even those we love, to be a fighter pilot or astronaut for a single day.

We’re too polite to admit it, and we’re grateful that you’re attempting to do something nice for us, but we really don’t like it when you give us handjobs because we can do that ourselves and we can do it much better than you can. The one exception is when we’re teenage virgins and we’re just happy to have someone else touching us down there. Oral is totally nice though. Seriously. We’ll drop just about anything for that.

Again, these are universally true and are in no way unique to only a small subset of men.

*this was totally proven by science but I can’t seem to find the citation.
posted by bondcliff at 9:28 AM on November 20, 2009 [88 favorites]


Oh, and then there's stage fright (a.k.a Paruresis). Not an entirely male phenomenon, strictly speaking, but probably more prevalent in the hot house environment of the trough or urinal ranks than to the nicely sequestered stalls in the ladies'.
posted by rocketpup at 9:28 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


men can poo and pee at the same time while sitting on the toilet.
I cannot do this. I cannot pee sitting on the toilet. I am by no means macho or well-endowed (sigh) I cannot understand how a man can do this. I can ONLY pee standing up.

Nthing the feeling the genitals part. My wife is surprised when I am in bed reading the Times with one hand on my genitals. It isn't sexual - just might comforting, like worry beads or a child's security blanket. I wish I could do it at the office.

At the gym often times you start on the treadmill and depending on shorts and gym shorts, your penis gets rubbed in *most definitely* the wrong and uncomfortable way. You must stop and adjust. Could look strange or even icky to the uninitiated female.

The first pee in the morning often has a widely divergent stream, a la Robert Frost. I think the actual urethral opening might have been compressed when sleeping. This makes peeing tough when you wake up.
posted by xetere at 9:28 AM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


it is, in fact, the norm for guys to know about sunglasses the way women know about jimmy choos and fluevogs

Sample size please ... I don't think this is true at all.
posted by galaksit at 9:29 AM on November 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


Since we're on the topic of bathrooms, my (female) friend didn't know until she was eighteen that men can poo and pee at the same time while sitting on the toilet.

I don't get it. Is this thought to be a man-specific talent?

The fact that men dress either to the right or left without exception is often of surprise to women. (We women don't really think about where it goes within your pants.)

Men are often confounded by the very existence of much of the etiquette that goes along with weddings, babies, etc., stuff like "women aren't supposed to throw their own shower." I've been accused of making this stuff up, even when I don't condone it.
posted by desuetude at 9:30 AM on November 20, 2009


Women's bathrooms have couches? I am a woman, and I've seen maybe 3 or 4 cases where this is true - that I can recall. I guess in fancy hotels or old movie theaters you can find this, but it seems pretty unusual to me.
posted by serazin at 9:31 AM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Loto: See, that's the bar exemption. If you are boozing you are free to make comments relating to the bar or the events happening within. Comments or conversation outside of those topics are verboten; unless they fall under the friend exemption of course.

Spoken like a true non-Paruretic!
posted by rocketpup at 9:31 AM on November 20, 2009


Even if a man has not considered the phrase "drinking giraffe" in terms of restroom behavior he knows exactly to what it refers.
posted by Loto at 9:31 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Neck ties aren't really as uncomfortable as we let on.

If we could pull our pants on and off without removing our shoes, we would.
posted by klarck at 9:32 AM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


I know nothing about sunglasses. AND I'm gay.

I learned a Man Fact on AskMe once: some guys penises "pop" when moved in a certain direction. I have never verified this assertion, but not for lack of trying.
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:35 AM on November 20, 2009


The first pee in the morning often has a widely divergent stream, a la Robert Frost.

Heh. It's more like multiple streams, shooting off in all directions. And I struggle to get all of them into the bowl, but it's a losing battle.
posted by cjets at 9:37 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


the way women know about jimmy choos and fluevogs.

Just for the record, I'm a woman and I don't have the slightest clue what jimmy choos and fluevogs are...
posted by Cygnet at 9:39 AM on November 20, 2009 [29 favorites]


Oh yeah, chairs & couches in restrooms in "nice" places, including but not limited to nicer restaurants, hotels, theaters, department stores (I am often impressed by the setup in the higher end department stores, you could host an afternoon tea in there), and banquet halls. I assume this is for ladies who need to (1) breastfeed, or (2) adjust/fix their clothing, or (3) adjust/fix their hair/makeup.

Is this sink peeing thing for real?! Or are you guys joking? Isn't it awfully high to pee into??
posted by dumbledore69 at 9:40 AM on November 20, 2009


Also, why don't you guys have bras for your junk if they are such an ordeal for dressing and exercising?
posted by dumbledore69 at 9:41 AM on November 20, 2009 [10 favorites]


@8dot3 Silence is the norm at urinals. There are rare exceptions, but striking up a conversation about the weather with a urinating stranger would be a faux pas.
posted by paulg at 9:42 AM on November 20, 2009


Men I know seem to lack muscle tone in the anal sphincter. Less the farting, since the smug expressions of pride on letting one off show that it was deliberate, but the "I have to shit now". They don't seem to be able to hold it in for more than a couple of minutes.

Thing men probably don't know about men: sperm loop the loop, going from the testicles, up into the pelvis, then dive back to the base of the penis to go up and out. It's the scenic route from testicle to condom/kleenex.

(Also, yeah, seating in women's loos is very posh)
posted by Coobeastie at 9:42 AM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Women's bathrooms have couches? I am a woman, and I've seen maybe 3 or 4 cases where this is true - that I can recall. I guess in fancy hotels or old movie theaters you can find this, but it seems pretty unusual to me.

Maybe I've run into this more that some, but it seems like theaters and mall bathrooms have them more often than not. My office building has a couch in every women's bathroom, with the exception of one floor. And I remember there being couches in many of the bathrooms at my university. I don't know why they're there, though. Nursing? Cramps? Some hold over from dressing areas? Place to sit while you dig through your purse for make-up or a tampon?
posted by lunalaguna at 9:44 AM on November 20, 2009


Many of us like using euphemisms for what we are doing.

We are not "fondling ourselves". We are "kneading the wrinkles out".
(I know a guy and his father who wear-out identical holes in the crotches of their pants doing this. Yeah heritage!)

We are not "pooping" or "shitting". We are "taking a dump".
Or we are "stocking the pond with brown trout".
Or we are "dropping the kids off at the pool".
Or we are "taking the Browns all the way to the Super Bowl".
Or we are "going to see a man about a horse".
Or we are "going to the office to do some paperwork".
posted by Seamus at 9:44 AM on November 20, 2009 [12 favorites]


Heh. It's more like multiple streams, shooting off in all directions. And I struggle to get all of them into the bowl, but it's a losing battle.

That's what peeing the shower is for, folks.

All the societal norms about bodily noises are ignored during restroom conversation.

Except for the giggling. You can still giggle when you hear a funny sounding fart.

Also, for the record, I know nothing about sunglasses.
posted by Grither at 9:46 AM on November 20, 2009


Just nthing that chairs and couch are usually only seen in women bathrooms of nice restaurants or other nice public places of that sort. Really not a common occurrence (at least it's my experience in Quebec).
posted by domi_p at 9:46 AM on November 20, 2009


Re. guys misconceptions about womeny-bits, I have met numerous men who believe different "size" (regular, extra, etc) sanitary products are for different sized ... well, bits...

Uh, I sorta thought that. And I've bought 'em for girlfriends and obviously know what they look like in use. Wow.

As for peeing, there are different sized urinals. I always avoid the kiddie-sized one unless there are none available.

Some dudes refuse to use the urinals and will wait for a stall to pee. I always wonder if they are homophobic.

The fact that men dress either to the right or left without exception is often of surprise to women. (We women don't really think about where it goes within your pants.)

I never heard that. I just jam it in there, I think. I'm going to start checking.

I do adjust my bits a lot. Sometimes in public, when I know nobody's looking.

I don't know shit about sunglasses.

When I was a kid, I would fantasize about killers trying to take over the school, and how I would lead the boys to victory over the bad guys, and whatever crush I had would see it and like me. . . . Ok, sometimes I still do this.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:46 AM on November 20, 2009 [10 favorites]


I don't know why they're there, though. Nursing? Cramps? Some hold over from dressing areas? Place to sit while you dig through your purse for make-up or a tampon?

I believe it is a holdover from times when women would get the 'vapors' and have to be attended to on the couch by friends who would wave hankies at them to get them back to normal. Cause that really happened back then, right?
posted by Ironmouth at 9:48 AM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Is the "drinking giraffe" when you are sitting on the toilet and your penis hangs into the water?
posted by andoatnp at 9:48 AM on November 20, 2009


Since we're on the topic of bathrooms, my (female) friend didn't know until she was eighteen that men can poo and pee at the same time while sitting on the toilet.

Desuetude: I don't get it. Is this thought to be a man-specific talent?

She thought we had to do a poo sitting, then stand up to do a pee. Most (some?) men can do both sitting down, like a lady.

Man, it's too early for this conversation.
posted by Conductor71 at 9:50 AM on November 20, 2009


My data points...

I have never had a conversation with another man about sunglasses, nor do I know anything about them really.

Code of silence in bathrooms except for good friends and when drinking.

We can certainly pee while sitting for a poo, but it is not optimal as it takes some maneuvering to ensure your junk is not making direct contact with the inner toilet... not such a big concern at home, but is dreaded at a pub bathroom.

I dress left.

I have never peed in a sink.

The chaotic first morning pee only really happens if you've had an orgasm without a follow up pee the night before... at least in my experience.
posted by utsutsu at 9:53 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


One often hears that men's (public) bathrooms are disgusting and smell awful. But the thing I learned in the last few years is that women's (public) bathrooms are horrifying. This seems to be the result of a large number of women who feel their flesh should make absolutely no contact with any part of the toilet seat whatsoever, thus leading to the squat, which I gather is quite messy. Then of course they don't clean up after the mess they've made because that would again mean touching the toilet (though through a thin layer of toilet paper). I'm told also that women rarely flush afterwards. All this is made significantly worse when the women in question also have their period.

Sometimes, I leave the toilet seat up at home. But I don't feel so bad about it anymore.
posted by Abbril at 9:56 AM on November 20, 2009


A few weeks ago while discussing Shorty's incomplete Halloween costume, my wife asked "What do you do for a turtle head?"

She didn't understand when I started giggling and said "Suck it back in."

I think that many women (in my experience) do not have a concept of "turtle heads" or "touching cloth". This goes along with the weak masculine anal sphincter mentioned earlier. Though, in my youth, these were usually used when you had eaten a huge meal and were nowhere near a bathroom or had been hiking for 6 hours straight and needed to stop the group for a chance to wander off into the woods to do some paperwork.
posted by Seamus at 9:56 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bald men loved to have their heads scratched. It's almost as good as sex but without the mess.

At least, I found this to be true when my wife started scratching my head. Ecstasy!
posted by camworld at 9:56 AM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Often overlooked anatomy/vocabulary point for guys:
Vulva =/= vagina =/= clitoris.
Nipple =/= areola.
posted by phunniemee at 9:57 AM on November 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


A Giraffe Drinking

No, it does not involve sitting.
posted by Loto at 10:00 AM on November 20, 2009


No, it does not involve sitting.

So what is the bathroom concept that this is referring to? [I'm a guy by the way.]
posted by andoatnp at 10:03 AM on November 20, 2009


As comedian Mitch Fatel put it, "Guys' nipples are merely show nipples; they are not hooked up."

Not that we don't appreciate the effort.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:06 AM on November 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


My boyfriend was shocked (shocked!) recently when I told him that many women's bathrooms have couches or chairs in them. I was surprised no one had ever told him this before, or that he'd never been in a women's bathroom. (I've had jobs where I've cleaned men's bathrooms, so that world is no secret to me.)

I (female) have never seen this, maybe it's a cultural thing, but I've been in enough bathrooms in the US not to have seen one there either. I obviously don't go to the right places, sadly. Though it would be handy as I'ld definitely go to the toilet with a friend if I knew there was a seat.

I'm not sure if this is particularly obscure, but several women I've talked to are boggled by the prospect of being erect without being aroused. Women tend to correlate sexual arousal directly with emotional arousal, and it's difficult to convey that sometimes (or very often) men will be erect without any correlative stimulus.

Similarly, I know many women stroke their own breasts for no reason. Men would probably think this pretty sexual, but it's really unconscious and totally non-sexual.

Hmmm, anything other peeing/body related things...

Men can't pee with an erection, that's pretty interesting, but pretty common knowledge.
Every woman's toilet has a bin for sanitary products next to it, the thought of which freaked out at least one guy I know.
Some women's toilets provide extra mirrors away from the wash basins, and with a little shelf for bags so you can put make up on. A number even have full length mirrors for making sure you look okay.
Women really do chat in toilets across stalls, no matter what they're doing, and even share stalls sometimes (not me personally, but I've seen it a few times).
Men pee outdoors all the time; I can't recall the last time I peed outdoors, I just hold it in.
Likewise, I've known people "turn down" toilets they didn't like the look of and wait til they find another one. Do men ever do that?
Women's toilets are typically larger than men's, but still on many days it's a privilege to find a public toilet that doesn't have a queue.
posted by Sova at 10:07 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Men can't pee with an erection, that's pretty interesting, but pretty common knowledge.

Not true. Drinking giraffe.
posted by Loto at 10:09 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


The fact that men dress either to the right or left without exception is often of surprise to women.

Maybe its a generational thing, but my pants and underwear aren't tight enough for this to make sense. I have never had to think about it.

-
posted by General Tonic at 10:14 AM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


What bondcliff said. Totally true.
posted by chavenet at 10:15 AM on November 20, 2009


I have been a male for my entire life and only one of the things on Bondcliff's list rings true to me.
posted by hilaritas at 10:17 AM on November 20, 2009 [9 favorites]


When my wife was just starting out her MBA and all her classmates and their partners were in the meet and greet stage, she was amazed when I described for her the general structure and cadence of men meeting other men in advance. Then we'd watch it play out both with me and as 3rd party observers.

There are things men simply always do to one another in terms of posture/speech/whatever to establish rank and social class to one another, and there are better and worse ways to do it.

For example, just in talking about where one's from, you could respond in any number of ways. You could share something nice you've heard or experienced about their home town. You could give them crap for being from the provinces. You could empathize or make fun of their hometown sports teams. Etc. Replace where you're from with what you do for work or play, add practice, and you can pretty accurately predict a dude's ultimate cohort and overall trajectory for at least a few months, if not years.

Also, there's almost a direct inverse correlation with how long the hierarchy establishing phase lasts and the likelihood those guys will actually be real friends. Note that guys who tend to get thought this phase both well and quickly almost always have tons of friends, not acquaintances, regardless of gender.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 10:18 AM on November 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


One often hears that men's (public) bathrooms are disgusting and smell awful. But the thing I learned in the last few years is that women's (public) bathrooms are horrifying. This seems to be the result of a large number of women who feel their flesh should make absolutely no contact with any part of the toilet seat whatsoever, thus leading to the squat, which I gather is quite messy. Then of course they don't clean up after the mess they've made because that would again mean touching the toilet (though through a thin layer of toilet paper). I'm told also that women rarely flush afterwards. All this is made significantly worse when the women in question also have their period.

Sometimes, I leave the toilet seat up at home. But I don't feel so bad about it anymore.
posted by Abbril at 12:56 PM on November 20 [+] [!]


The above post was actually me. not my wife, Abbril (I didn't realize I was in her browser). I have also discussed it with her and she does in fact know that men don't have to stand up to pee. She thought that the earlier post suggested that men could do both things simultaneously... which I suppose we sort of can, but it's more often a one after the other kind of thing.
posted by wabbittwax at 10:21 AM on November 20, 2009


You know those "planes, trains, and automobile" wall paper that boys nurseries had? Well apparently it works-- every man is programed with explicit knowledge of these things.

I once called a submarine a "ship" and was instantly corrected by 3 guys, "its a boat!". Well shit, I didn't even know there was a difference between a ship and a boat, but apparently the difference is as clear as night and day if you have a Y chromosome.

As a counter point, I have no idea how I know the many different types of fabric. Not just what they're made of, but all the different names and characteristics for the different knits and weaves. Tulle, twill, tweed, would probably be greek to most guys. I can never remember learning this, but when I went to a fabric store for the first time since middle school a few months ago, I understood everything.
posted by fontophilic at 10:24 AM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


A thirty-year-old man possesses no more emotional maturity than a twelve-year-old boy. Any appearance to the contrary is a facade for the benefit of mixed company.

Testicles are asymmetrical and independent. A man's body adjusts their positioning unconsciously, allowing them to hang more loosely when it's warm and retracting them when it's cold. The reason for the movement is that sperm are extremely sensitive to temperature, and must be maintained within a narrow range that's several degrees cooler than body temperature. They will also retract when a man is scared or in danger, and some men can make them dance at will.

Knowledge about sunglasses is not at all universal.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:24 AM on November 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


Bald men loved to have their heads scratched. It's almost as good as sex but without the mess.

I spent a year keeping my head shaved clean, and spent most of that year massaging my own scalp without thinking about it.
posted by fatbird at 10:25 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


From what I've noticed, the rule about urinal spacing applies when guys go out to the movies, too. If there's two guys and one girl, the girl must sit between the guys. If there's five guys, they'll take up the entire row, with one seat between each. This is a Big Deal among my guy friends.

These guy friends are also shocked when I tell them that girls generally don't care about toilet stall distance, the way they care about urinal distance. At deserted bathrooms, I find that women sometimes avoid other women. They'll stay in their stall until the woman at the sink leaves the bathroom.

Oh, and the rule seems to apply in restaurants, too. Men sit across from each other, and try to avoid sitting directly opposite. Like so:
[x] [ ]
 TABLE
[ ] [x]

posted by Xere at 10:26 AM on November 20, 2009


I have been a male for my entire life and only one of the things on Bondcliff's list rings true to me.

Don't make me quote SCIENCE.
posted by bondcliff at 10:26 AM on November 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


i have certainly met a number of men who have very sexualized reaction to having their nipples stimulated. so i'm not sure what the "they're not hooked up" means.

i've seen a number of women's bathrooms with small seating areas in them, but it's becoming less common - i haven't seen it in any new commercial construction. otoh, there's a lot more places that have a nursing room available in both public and office environments. and i get annoyed at women who use some kind of seat cover (or else cover the seat with what appears to be several yards of toilet paper) and then don't make sure that it's all carried away with the flush. also, if you end up accidentally getting blood on the seat, CLEAN IT OFF FOR CHRISSAKES. *particularly* if this is in a private dwelling. and extra-particularly if it's in MY DWELLING. since my hysterectomy, i don't have to deal with shark week and so i don't want to deal with YOUR shark week remnants either.

here's a question: do men's public restrooms have changing tables? or is it still expected that only women will be wrangling the diapers?

i'm a chick and i know nothing about jimmy choos, and i gather that fleuvogs are some kind of shoe or boot because a friend of mine was raving about her new ones. i don't know much about sunglasses either, though.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:29 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sometimes we touch, hold, or manipulate our genitals when no one's looking. We're not adjusting for comfort, and we're not masturbating--it's no more arousing than jingling your keys. It's just the urge to fidget meeting something fidgetable.

We do the same with our boobs.
posted by kidsleepy at 10:30 AM on November 20, 2009 [12 favorites]


here's a question: do men's public restrooms have changing tables? or is it still expected that only women will be wrangling the diapers?

They do. I seem to recall them most often in airports... but I have seen them elsewhere.
posted by rocketpup at 10:31 AM on November 20, 2009


A woman does not automatically know what a circumcised penis looks like vs the uncircumcised version.

A man doesn't either, at least in the United States. I don't think I saw an uncircumcised penis until I was almost 30. (And that was in an mpg or something). This may be changing but at least until recently circumcision was virtually universal here. Frankly, my reaction was "ewwwww".

Men can't pee with an erection, that's pretty interesting, but pretty common knowledge.

Is it common knowledge? Because it's wrong. It's not very convenient, certainly, but you can do it.

I think Bondcliff had some good ones. Uncomfortable truths, bondcliff! Uncomfortable truths.
posted by Justinian at 10:34 AM on November 20, 2009


The single thing that men's public bathrooms have in common is that, with rare exception, they are filthy, disgusting, smelly, vile pits of urine, feces, and snot.

My wife never believes me when I say this, and always gets irked when I quickly return from an attempt to take our children to a public bathroom to tell her it's way too disgusting for me to bear bringing our children into.

Shenanigans. It is impossible to grow up with male genitalia and not think at some point while looking in the bathroom mirror how convenient it would be if you didn't have to walk all the way over to the toilet.

Shenanigans right back atcha; maybe it's because I grew up with two older sister, but I have never had that thought. And though it may be unmanly for me to say it: ew.

Even if a man has not considered the phrase "drinking giraffe" in terms of restroom behavior he knows exactly to what it refers.

I didn't, but now I do. When I was in college in the early 90s, and had to do this, I would end up with a hand up against the wall holding myself up as I leaned forward, and that song by The Shaman always went through my head ("I can move, move, move any mountain...")

striking up a conversation about the weather with a urinating stranger would be a faux paspiss.

FTFY
posted by davejay at 10:37 AM on November 20, 2009


the way women know about jimmy choos and fluevogs.

Just for the record, I'm a woman and I don't have the slightest clue what jimmy choos and fluevogs are...


Sigh, yes, that was sort of my point? Dammit, maybe we DO need a hamburger symbol.

All men do it like this and all women do it like this. My anecdotal evidence is definitely going to align with all other men and women on metafilter, and thus the truthfulness of my statements will go unchallenged.

No but seriously, how does this thing work, one comment I'm not taken seriously for my hyperbole, and when I use phrases like "Tom Cruise-idolizing fop" it's 100% on the taking me at my word wagon.

Bondcliff is totally right, though. Every item on his list is spot-on, and I should know because I've lived with men platonically for all but one year of my life. Especially the bit about the flame throwers. But the people who pee in sinks are just gross.
posted by Mizu at 10:39 AM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


These guy friends are also shocked when I tell them that girls generally don't care about toilet stall distance, the way they care about urinal distance. At deserted bathrooms, I find that women sometimes avoid other women. They'll stay in their stall until the woman at the sink leaves the bathroom.

Not true at all, women in every workplace I have been to adhere to the same rules for stall selection as men do to urinal selection, we just don't really care if we have to take a middle one. I always thought it was really rude for a woman to take the stall next to me when there were plenty others available that weren't adjacent to any. Of course, with women's bathrooms, the cleanliness of a stall can impact selection, especially if the bathroom has been visited by squatters or non-flushers.

Women tend to do the "bathroom stall standoff" when they have to poop. I have been surprised more than once to walk into a bathroom that seemed empty, pee, wash my hands, go to leave, and then see someone's feet and realize that someone has been hiding, SILENTLY, in a stall the entire time, waiting for me to leave.

It's creepy. But women try to adhere to social norms of bodily noises even in the bathroom (if someone else is present).
posted by dumbledore69 at 10:39 AM on November 20, 2009 [29 favorites]


I did not know until college that men's boxer shorts have an OPENING in them to let the member through for convenience. Why can't they just pull down the shorts a little?
posted by Melismata at 10:41 AM on November 20, 2009


Oh, and the rule seems to apply in restaurants, too. Men sit across from each other, and try to avoid sitting directly opposite.

Yeah, but in restaurants there's a totally different motive: all straight men want to look at an attractive women while they eat, not some other man. Part of the decor. That's also why, after they've been married for some time, when out with other couples they'll sit next to their wives and across from any other woman.

my wife's gonna punch me in the arm when she reads that
posted by davejay at 10:41 AM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Why can't they just pull down the shorts a little?

We do. See bondcliff's list.
posted by davejay at 10:42 AM on November 20, 2009


As comedian Mitch Fatel put it, "Guys' nipples are merely show nipples; they are not hooked up."

Really? Because I've had guys actually request a little attention in that area.
posted by Evangeline at 10:45 AM on November 20, 2009


Women's bathrooms have couches? I am a woman, and I've seen maybe 3 or 4 cases where this is true - that I can recall. I guess in fancy hotels or old movie theaters you can find this, but it seems pretty unusual to me.

The House and Senate office buildings have couches in most of the public bathrooms, especially the older buildings. Cannon has leather, psych-type couches.

I think couches are less commonly seen today, and historically, they were for working women who needed some relief from menstrual discomfort in an era with few to no treatments other than aspirin and a hot-water bottle.
posted by jgirl at 10:45 AM on November 20, 2009


I'm a guy, and I just want to say that bondcliff's list offended and annoyed me -- every single one of those items. Girls, please understand that that's a very idiosyncratic list.

And the flap in the underwear is crucial. So you don't have to undo your belt and button and everything.
posted by frankly mister at 10:49 AM on November 20, 2009 [24 favorites]


here's a question: do men's public restrooms have changing tables?

No, no they don't.

Shut up rocketpup. I got a good thing going here.
posted by IanMorr at 10:49 AM on November 20, 2009 [11 favorites]


Goddammit, davejay and rocketpup.
posted by codswallop at 10:57 AM on November 20, 2009


And the flap in the underwear is crucial. So you don't have to undo your belt and button and everything.

If it was crucial, it would be less labyrinthine and constrictive. It's far more convenient to go over the fence IMO.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:58 AM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think couches are less commonly seen today, and historically, they were for working women who needed some relief from menstrual discomfort in an era with few to no treatments other than aspirin and a hot-water bottle.

And many modern workplaces now have 'sick rooms' or 'quiet rooms' with beds for this purpose -- for various forms of illness, I mean, and for men as well as women.

I had heard of the chairs or couches in women's washrooms, but I had thought it was essentially a mini waiting room. Men can use urinals relatively more quickly than women can use stalls (and more urinals can fit in a space than stalls), so there's less time spent queuing for men; also, pop culture tells us that women often visit the washroom in pairs even when one does not need to use the facilities, so she might want to take a load off while her friend takes a...
posted by onshi at 10:59 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Men can't pee with an erection, that's pretty interesting, but pretty common knowledge.
If this were true, there would be no men who survive through puberty, we would have all died from septic shock.
posted by bitslayer at 10:59 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


At work guys often chat at urinals. In fact, I often think we're having a meeting there.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 11:13 AM on November 20, 2009


On one occasion I was taken very ill at work and was stretched out on the ladies room sofa waiting for Mr. Adams to come fetch me (he had driven me to work that day). With an appropriate female sergeant-at-arms accompanying him and making sure no one else was inside, he entered a public ladies room for the first time in his life. After making sure I was OK enough to walk to the car, etc, he looked around in amazement at the small "lounge" area outside of the stalls with the sofa, chairs, and all. "Wow," he commented. "No wonder y'all take so long to go to the bathroom. You could live in here!"

One thing I've noticed about male behavior after being married for many years is how men can have a boisterous, knock-down, almost come-to-blows argument about something, and then 20 minutes later will drink a beer together and laugh and talk like nothing ever happened. If I ever disagreed with a girlfriend so vehemently over something, we'd go without speaking for a day or two or longer, and then a cautious, heartfelt "make up" discussion would be necessary before we could sit down and drink and laugh together again.

Oh, and sorry to get back on the bathroom track, but over the years I've noticed that men pay far more attention to their bowel movements than women do. They get on a daily "schedule" as to what time they need to go, and if for some reason they deviate from that schedule, they'll discuss it with any random male within earshot, whether it be in the office or at a cocktail party. Most of the women that I know would have to stop and think if they were asked "when was your last bowel movement?" It's just not something we keep track of (unless there's an underlying problem, like Crohn's Disease) and it doesn't concern us if we go for a day or two without, erm, "making number two."
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:17 AM on November 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


Years ago I had a job instructing and supervising volunteers who were building wooden playgrounds. On the last day of the build a crane would come to lift real heavy stuff. At one of these builds a woman volunteer I'd been working with a lot told me to watch the men when the crane pulled up. She wouldn't tell me why, just said watch them.

I am also a woman, and as the mother of three sons I thought I knew a lot about male weirdities. But this was a new one: the crane pulled up and virtually every man there hitched up his pants while my friend and I laughed hysterically. On subsequent builds I told all of the women to watch for this. The men never figured out why we thought the crane was so funny.
posted by mareli at 11:21 AM on November 20, 2009 [70 favorites]


Many of us men really don't take being bored well. It is an uncomfortable sensation like being way too hot. For many guys when you are bored all you can think about is how bored you are and how much it sucks. Not to say we all have ADD, case in point fishing- which while dominated by men, basically amounts to sitting around doing the same thing over and over. But put me in a waiting room with nothing but three year old magazines and it is just misery. I feel like girls can cope with this much better.
posted by nowoutside at 11:22 AM on November 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


bondcliff's suggestion that men don't use the underwear flap reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where George takes his shirt off when he goes to the bathroom.

I would also like to point out that I once bought a pair of H&M underwear that did not have a flap, and it was very confusing.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:24 AM on November 20, 2009


I'm a guy, and I just want to say that bondcliff's list offended and annoyed me -- every single one of those items. Girls, please understand that that's a very idiosyncratic list.

Seconding that.

As someone who's had a job that required cleaning men and women bathrooms, I'll vouch that both can get equally nasty.

I've never met a fellow guy who knew sunglasses brands.

The truth is that this entire thread should be taken with a large grain of salt because for the most part it's purely anecdotal.

And peeing in a sink? C'mon. You get raised in a barn or something?
posted by Atreides at 11:25 AM on November 20, 2009 [10 favorites]


And peeing in a sink? C'mon. You get raised in a barn or something?

Your barn has a sink?
posted by rocketpup at 11:30 AM on November 20, 2009 [52 favorites]


Apparently it can happen to women too, but I just learned about the pee shivers!
posted by a.steele at 11:34 AM on November 20, 2009


Your barn has a sink?

Don't all barns have sinks? Maybe it's just male barns. Hrm.
posted by Atreides at 11:35 AM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


I must admit that I had no idea (most) men didn't wipe with toilet paper after peeing until I was about 25.
posted by cmgonzalez at 11:38 AM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


You do realize that the people claiming things like "this is true of 100% of men! Its SCIENCE!" are not, you know, complete serious?
posted by Justinian at 11:38 AM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


I still don't get what "drinking giraffe" is... :/
posted by too bad you're not me at 11:39 AM on November 20, 2009


First, you need to visualize how a giraffe drinks. I included a picture above to help.

Next, you need to remember those wonderful years where your morning wood last well past you were awake and functioning.

You have to take a leak, but morning wood makes aiming difficult. You have two options. You could piss in the tub. I usually preferred this when available. The other option is the drinking giraffe. Splay your legs wide and lead forward. Now you are properly aimed at the toilet!
posted by Loto at 11:44 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Okay, do all men have moist butt cracks? This is a totally gross question, but my experience has been that every male who's underwear I've been privy to, has sweat (or um, butt juice?) on the back side. Not hershey squirts or anything poop-related, but general moistness. Sometimes with white boxers, you can actually see a vertical wetness line down the back. And not just in the summer.

I as a lady, have never had this problem, or at least not in the rear areas. I'm dying to see if this is a universal thing or not.
posted by np312 at 11:44 AM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


I must admit that I had no idea (most) men didn't wipe with toilet paper after peeing until I was about 25.

I was about that old when I learned that women did wipe after peeing. I took my girlfriend on her first backpack and since I did all the packing I only brought enough toilet paper for 2 man-poop-days. When she told me she had to go pee and asked me where the toilet paper was it took her, like, 20 minutes to convince me she was serious.
posted by bondcliff at 11:46 AM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Many uncircumcised men actually have a hymen like structure when they are young- the foreskin starts out attached to the outside head of the penis, but after being manipulated (usually the first time the kid masturbates) it permanently comes unattached.
posted by spatula at 11:47 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


The OP asked for non-bits-related stuff about a zillion comments ago and we're still talking about urinal cakes!


These are entirely anecdotal, so guys in here, am I right or wrong here (generally; nothing's true for everyone)? And I'm talking about straight men in this case; though often sexual orientation makes no difference in the "men v women" thing--a gay man is a man, after all.

1) Every boyfriend I've ever had has a certain amount of... I wouldn't say color-blindness, perhaps, but more color generalization. "Purple" means "anything within the range between red and blue" - whereas women have different names for different shades and hues. It's not a "girls pay attention to whether the sage&cream couch will go with the plum walls with nutmeg trim" thing; it's just "Grapes are purple. Eggplants are purple. Lilacs are purple--well, okay, *light* purple." I put three sweaters in front of an ex--an orangey-red, a bluish-red, and a true-red, and he said he saw absolutely no difference, yet he was not colorblind.

2) Men, if they have the time and inclination, will drive around for hours, with no destination in mind, just to drive. A friend of mine actually thought her husband was having an affair because he was getting home later and later as months went on, and she didn't believe him when he said "I was just driving around!" Perhaps the lines of communication could have opened sooner on that one, but when you think someone's having an affair... at any rate, he was just driving around, and during a dinner party some time afterwards the topic came up and ALL of the men said that yeah, sometimes they'd pull into their street, and then just keep going around town (or towns) for twenty or thirty minutes--not to avoid going home, but just hey, DRIVING!

3) When they're watching a sad or sentimental movie or tv show alone in their home, men will cry far more often than they would if you (woman) were there. Dear men: maybe you honestly have different reactions if you're alone vs. with a woman. I don't know. But if you're purposefully stopping yourself having an emotional reaction to the story in front of you, quit it. That's dumb. Oh, and *forget it* when it comes to movies in a movie theater--but that same movie, all by himself at home? Totally different reaction. I have learned this by once getting home much earlier than expected and finding him sobbing over E.T., and by talking to close male friends about it.

Now. One for the "bits" discussion:

Guys who didn't know about the light, regular, and super tampon thing being for how heavy or light the flow is, and not the size of the woman's vagina?

Tampons are also very, very short: much-shorter-than-your-thumb short. The tampon is nowhere *near* as long as the applicator.

In conclusion:

There's xkcd 1, and there's xkcd 2.
posted by tzikeh at 11:48 AM on November 20, 2009 [15 favorites]


Data point:
Nix on the sunglasses, I know NOTHING. (I do wear glasses all the time, however)

Contribution:
Sometimes, usually at the most inopportune time, the dangly bits (i.e. junk) will get pinched or somehow constricted by under or outer clothing. This usually requires an immediate readjustment of said parts.
posted by Drasher at 11:51 AM on November 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


Sometimes, usually at the most inopportune time, the dangly bits (i.e. junk) will get pinched or somehow constricted by under or outer clothing.

i've had something similar happen with my underwear and vulva lips - pinching or misrouting or something. and depending on what i'm wearing, it can be REALLY AWKWARD to fix.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:53 AM on November 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


I actually use the underwear flap, except if I have a fancy schmancy pair where the flap is actually sewn closed. The fuck?

I will stand up (no pun intended) for my right to pee in the shower. Unless you're grievously ill, urine is sterile, and it's getting washed right down anyway, amirite?
posted by yellowbinder at 11:54 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am the household sunglasses nerd; Mr. F would just buy whatever if I didn't steer him to the polarized Oakleys.

I understand you guys have a urinal law that my friend Dave summed up as "don't touch me when I'm touching me," too-- no big ol' friendly back-slapping greetings when someone's got their hands on the business.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 11:56 AM on November 20, 2009


bondcliff: We all secretly long to own flamethrowers and sniper rifles, even those of us opposed to violence.

Well, there's a big difference between you (a man) and me (a woman): I openly long to own flamethrowers and sniper rifles, even though I'm opposed to violence.

FIRE FIRE FIRE heh heh FIRE
posted by tzikeh at 11:59 AM on November 20, 2009 [12 favorites]


Okay, do all men have moist butt cracks?

If he's sweating, yes. It's a big sweat-producing area. There's also trickle-down backsweatnomics to contend with.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:00 PM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I understand you guys have a urinal law that my friend Dave summed up as "don't touch me when I'm touching me," too-- no big ol' friendly back-slapping greetings when someone's got their hands on the business.

That's not so much a rule as completely unthinkable.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:01 PM on November 20, 2009 [16 favorites]


We turn boring tasks into games. Games that would appeal to 5th graders.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: nefarious dried semen spray attachment.

It takes anywhere from 5 minutes to 12 hours for a domesticated man to turn completely feral when left alone. Sooner if there are other men present.

Part of male companionship/friendship/bonding is being together and not saying anything at all.

The experience of going to a traditional barber is very different from going to a hairdresser (been to both). My current barber finished up wouldn't deign to take me to a neck/head sink, but he does finish up every cut with a heated lather and straight-razor finish followed by Bay Rum. Oh, and I head much better jokes there then I ever heard at a salon.

The comfort level in a barbershop changes palpably when a woman comes in (presumably with her son).

Mrs. Plinth was astonished at the attention I got when I recently purchased a suit. She said she has never experienced the same level of attention when buying a dress (although, I understand the better lingerie shops help a great deal during bra fitting).

Men spend much of their adolescence frustratingly and embarrassingly erect. Nothing like spotting just a hint of cleavage before class ends and spending the last minute of class hoping it will go away before you have to stand up.

After an accident, "I thought it would work" (or some variant) is a surprisingly common utterance (cross reference the first item as a likely cause).

Sometimes we learn how to do things for no other reason than to be good at doing it. There are whole sports based around this.

There is no difference in the thinking necessary to sew a complicated pattern than there is in building a woodworking project. In fact, there are a surprising number of parallels. Anyone who talks about gender differences in visualization/thinking skills is full of horseshit.

Corollary - going through a fabric store alone, you can feel the stares from women who shop/work there.
posted by plinth at 12:04 PM on November 20, 2009 [24 favorites]


xere: From what I've noticed, the rule about urinal spacing applies when guys go out to the movies, too. If there's two guys and one girl, the girl must sit between the guys. If there's five guys, they'll take up the entire row, with one seat between each. This is a Big Deal among my guy friends.

It's also a Big Deal among people who come into a movie theater and want to sit together, and you homophobic oafs are taking up an entire freaking row.

[NOT HOMOPHOBIC-IST]
posted by tzikeh at 12:08 PM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Men can't pee with an erection

I thought there were Sound Physiological Reasons for this, but apparently my knowledge of such comes from middle-school health class, and googling for more reliable info is not easy. I do find references to the urinary sphincter being closed off during orgasm. At any rate, I can't urinate with a full erection, but I can with, say, a 90% erection, though i need to do the "drinking giraffe" maneuver (thanks Loto for explaining what that term meant, I had no idea). Usually I just stand in front of the toilet and meditate on flaccidity for a while rather than forcing things. Such meditation skill was honed during the Years Of Involuntary And Inconvenient Erections (teens through early twenties).

Usage of the flap varies among men. I've never known anyone who uses the flap in briefs. Some people use the flap in boxers, but (IME) at least as many people don't ever use it and find it more of an annoyance than not. (My penis will find its way out through the flap during the day and I have to find a discreet opportunity to tuck everything back in.)

Some men's nipples are definitely hooked up. It might be considered vaguely unmanly to admit this though. And correspondingly, not all women's nipples are hooked up (and women don't necessarily "appreciate the effort").

The sunglasses thing is weirdly true. (I say this as someone who's never worn sunglasses except for a brief period when I was 12 and thought mirrorshades were cool). I've never peed in the sink though.

Men have a surprisingly rich vocabulary for defecation. Do women have a parallel vocabulary? Do you have a thousand terms for varieties of menstruation?
posted by hattifattener at 12:09 PM on November 20, 2009


also, pop culture tells us that women often visit the washroom in pairs even when one does not need to use the facilities

Well, I worked for an almost all-woman congressional office (member, too), and the corner ladies room (we were close) was frequently visited by factions within the office.

Business gets done in congressional bathrooms.
posted by jgirl at 12:14 PM on November 20, 2009


It's not impossible to pee with an erection; it's just harder.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:15 PM on November 20, 2009 [8 favorites]


It's also a Big Deal among people who come into a movie theater and want to sit together, and you homophobic oafs are taking up an entire freaking row.

I will attest, as will my friends both gay and straight, that we do this for the dual armrest. So to answer the question: Men are possessive about armrests. Therefore: the driver gets the armrest on the center console if two guys are together in a car. I would not dream of taking the armrest in my pal's car if he is driving. We will also take over the armrest is a woman is driving and not using it, because, hey! Free armrest!
posted by 1f2frfbf at 12:16 PM on November 20, 2009 [16 favorites]


When men, or, well, when boys in the seventies came out of the swimming pool, they all shook their heads in a short, once to the left, once to the right maneuver. Girls never did this so much. We all had longish hair back then. I haven't looked for this in ages.

If, in conversation at a party, you can manage to utter the phrase, "Cut his balls off," or, better, "Chopped his balls right off!" every seated man there will cross his legs. The standing ones will shift their weight and look uncomfortable. This is hilarious and I have yet to see it fail.

The best misconception I ever heard from a man about a woman's body was from my ex-husband while I was busy giving birth to our son. I stood up from the bathtub and my water broke. "That means we have to go to the hospital now," I said, and he was all, "Uh? Doesn't that happen every time you get out of the tub?" No, dear, the vagina is not a suction pump.
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:31 PM on November 20, 2009 [26 favorites]


lava lamp
I'm not sure if this is precisely what you mean, but under certain circumstances the scrotum will contract all or some of its muscles (it has muscles). This can result in a wrinkly, constantly shifting dangly mass that I can see being kind of like a lava lamp. It's a little hallucinatory. Shoggoth-like.

Handjobs: I wouldn't turn one down out of politeness, but please don't. I'm better at it than you, and I'd be quite turned off if I weren't.

Someone asked why we don't have a junk-bra. We do. (nsfw I guess) This seems like a great idea, but I haven't been able to bring myself to try it. This is because - I don't even know what happens - the junk can get pinched or stuck to things it shouldn't. This can have a sudden onset and is often an emergency.

An anecdote partially about sink-peeing:
At a college party at the house that the females of our friend group lived in some years ago we all got very drunk. I mean, this was one of my drunkest nights ever. I was into martial arts at the time, and a good friend of mine showed up who was also a fighter, so we spent about half an hour grappling in the living room while the people that knew us tried to explain to people who didn't that there was no problem.

Anyway, this part I recollect only partially and has been told to me many times. We eventually collapsed/went to have sex/puked and went to sleep. I, in my at-the-time girlfriend's bed, one of my roommates on a couch. It's 5AM or so and I roll out of bed and start peeing in the vicinity of a pillow on the floor. A vicinity which encompassed part of the bed. This waked upthe girlfriend who, though drunk, doesn't like this and wants to know, "Cmoj! What are you doing?!?!?!" And (I remember this bit) I replied incredulously, "What?"

So I fall back asleep in a pool of my own urine, and she storms into the living room to find somewhere else to sleep. On her way through the kitchen, my roommate is trying to pee in the sink, but (yes it's a little high usually) not making it. "Kevin!!!" "Sorry!"

The point is, stripped of social agreements, this is what men would like to do all the time.
posted by cmoj at 12:35 PM on November 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


Do you have a thousand terms for varieties of menstruation?

No.
posted by amanda at 12:35 PM on November 20, 2009


Oh, right. The thing about sitting crossways from other guys at restaurant/bar tables. This is conscious for me. I'd much rather be looking directly at a pretty girl than any dude. Also, it makes the prospect of accidental footsies a completely different matter.
posted by cmoj at 12:38 PM on November 20, 2009


Is this sink peeing thing for real?! Or are you guys joking? Isn't it awfully high to pee into??

I have no first-hand knowledge of it, but I'll relate this story from when I was about 14:

I was at my mom's work which was down a long corridor. To get to the bathroom you passed a hand-washing sink, then arrived at the bathrooms which actually didn't include sinks.

I get up to go to the bathroom, and before I'm out the door she says "DO NOT pee in the sink!!!"

I thought it was the craziest notion I'd ever heard of, and said as much. She claimed that guys do this "all the time." This was my only exposure to the concept. I've never seen or heard of it since, and actually figured that she was just misled by some individual nut-cases. Until now.
posted by odinsdream at 12:44 PM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Do you have a thousand terms for varieties of menstruation?

No.
Oh, really? See "shark week", above, which kind of blew my mind a little.
posted by onshi at 12:45 PM on November 20, 2009 [12 favorites]


OK last one. I never understood the thing about bra closures being some kind of puzzle. There are variations (which mostly simplify things), but you just grab the tab and pull straight out, or back toward the strap that it's attached to. Comes right apart.
posted by cmoj at 12:45 PM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


So many good things here. I have one to add to the mix. Even though men are aware that women are into different things, it is very hard for most men to understand why their girlfriend/partner/wife doesn't find their particular hobby/interest as amazing as they do. It's hard for men to learn to apologise and to admit to being wrong but I think the above realisation is even harder for the male mind to grasp. I know it is for me.
posted by ob at 12:45 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hmm, this thread has had some trouble leaving the bathroom, so here's my attempt: most guys in my generation have come up with at least one possible rap name for themselves - mine is T-Money (which may exist? I'm not sure). Related, most guys make mental notes to themselves when they think of a really awesome name for a band (this may be more universal, but not in my experience)
posted by Think_Long at 12:51 PM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Do you have a thousand terms for varieties of menstruation?

Not for the varieties, but it seems like every family or close group of women have their own personal terms for it. I myself developed the term "MilDread" after the most horrible middle school teacher we had, and it was picked up by some of my friends. Now, when talking to my old friends, I can mention "Milly" and they'll know what I'm talking about. My mom uses the phrase "bucket days" to talk about her extremely heavy periods, and I've heard friends use lots of different terms. But they aren't for different varieties, they're all for the same thing. If we're close enough to be getting into specifics, the euphemistic language tends to drop.
posted by Mizu at 12:53 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Call the sink-pissers nut-cases now, but in a future where fresh water is in relatively short supply, urinating directly down the drain (instead of diluting it with a few gallons of water first for no good reason) is going to make plenty of sense.
posted by onshi at 12:53 PM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


One thing I've noticed about male behavior after being married for many years is how men can have a boisterous, knock-down, almost come-to-blows argument about something, and then 20 minutes later will drink a beer together and laugh and talk like nothing ever happened.
There's a whole complicated and surprisingly beneficial social conduct surrounding fighting and, most specifically, what you do immediately after the fight in order to establish what just happened, to agree that the fight is over (or not), whether it was a dominance thing or a disagreement among peers, and so on. I don't think most men (including myself) could really describe the whole thing; it's inculcated at a fairly young age. The clearest example I can think of is in an old or corny movie, after two guys have been fighting, one offers to help the other one up— if the other guy accepts it, it's an agreement that the fight is over; if he doesn't, it isn't (but maybe it's in abeyance for a bit). This is a cinematic convention, sure. Anyway, the same sorts of behaviors apply to other conflicts all the way down to office disputes; you can see them if you watch, and it's fascinating to this armchair anthropologist.

Women, as far as I can tell, don't have an equivalent, or at least not as elaborate and reliable of one. I've certainly heard many women express puzzlement about that post-fight behavior.

It's kind of like the difference between fighting clean and fighting dirty, I guess. It's a way to keep fighting from destroying group cohesion or causing serious injury. If the people fighting are part of the same group (in some sense, small or large, concrete or abstract) then it's good if you have some mechanism to put conflicts to rest, some way to avoid hurting the group as a whole when fighting, etc. And stepping outside of the bounds it sets indicates you're not interested in cohesion — maybe you're not part of the same group — or avoiding serious injury.
posted by hattifattener at 12:54 PM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


I didn't know until very recently that for some men, sitting on one's own balls is a big problem. They get tucked between the legs, and then sat upon, and the only possible recourse is to jump up again and wriggle around until they're in a better position.
posted by coppermoss at 12:55 PM on November 20, 2009


Can't say I agree with all of boncliff's list, but the flap vs. over-the-top has been discussed here before.
posted by mhz at 12:56 PM on November 20, 2009


As comedian Mitch Fatel put it, "Guys' nipples are merely show nipples; they are not hooked up."

Maybe if you're, like, a cripple or something.
posted by rodgerd at 1:11 PM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's kind of like the difference between fighting clean and fighting dirty, I guess. It's a way to keep fighting from destroying group cohesion or causing serious injury.

In my experience and sociological reading there is a significant difference in physical fights when they involve men or women. A lot of men get involved in fights (schoolyard brawls, bar fights, etc) in which there are certain rules to be observed and, yes, once the fight is done it is done. But women fight crazy and often do things like go for the eyes or rip hair out. As with anything this isn't true 100% of the time but there certainly seems to be a tendency for physical fights between men to be less vicious, on average.
posted by Justinian at 1:14 PM on November 20, 2009


Yeah, that's what I mean about women not seeming to have an equivalent bit of social structure. I suppose women aren't "supposed" to get into physical fights, but the rules are beneficial in verbal fights as well (esp. the argument-is-done vs. simmering-forever thing), so that doesn't really explain it.

(And obviously some women have internalized these rules and some men haven't. Like everything in this thread I'm taking in broad generalizations.)
posted by hattifattener at 1:22 PM on November 20, 2009


On the serious side of things: Ladies in hetero relationships, your man does not want to hear you vent about your problems. This is not because he is unsympathetic or does not care-- quite the opposite, in fact. For a man, problems must be solved. To learn about a problem that directly impacts his woman (whom he must protect at all costs) is exactly the same as being assigned the task of resolving it. This is fine when the problem is, say, a burnt-out light bulb, because the man can replace the bulb and thus achieve victory over it (victory being very important to the male psyche). But when the problem is more emotional or abstract, such as somebody being obnoxious to you at work, the man's only solution is to attempt to solve the problem directly, which will usually take the form of suggestions. If you don't accept his suggestions, then the man has exhausted his skill set and been defeated by the problem. Defeat is very bad, and will probably lead to sulking, or to other activities in which the man can find a proxy for the victory that has been denied him, such as video games.

So don't tell him, okay? Because he won't respond the way you want him to, and you'll both end up hurt.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:27 PM on November 20, 2009 [112 favorites]


There's a pun here somewhere, but I'll avoid it. I will simply state that I've peed in sinks on 5 continents. The etiquette of course, is that you run the water, and maybe swish some of the hand soap around there a bit afterwards.

Heading out of the bathroom, I've heard it alleged that when it comes to driving directions, men and women are wired differently. I don't know if this is universally true, but it just happens to work this way with Mrs Verstayne and myself. The theory is that men have a sort of innate spatial awareness so that when they (inevitably, because they didn't bring the map) go off course, they head in the general direction of where they need to go, and by trial and error will get back to the route they intended upon. In pre-GPS days, I did this many times and it drove Mrs V absolutely bonkers. Again, the theory that I read had women wired more for linear direction; go past three traffic lights, turn left on Radnor, then slight right on Coyle; when you get to the little library, hang a right and go 14 miles on Wacker Drive until you get to the Sears Tower. There will be no looking up to see the Sears Tower in the distance and heading in the general direction because that pothole repair crew were clogging up the street and you want to go down a rat run. No. That is unacceptable.

Auto GPS gives those lovely linear directions and have led to A Lasting Peace.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 1:30 PM on November 20, 2009


rocketpup: "Speaking of urinals, etiquette dictates that when you arrive at the mens room, you take the urinal that is farthest from all other users. And etiquette also dictates that if you are the first occupant, you take one of the urinals along the edge in order to allow the next occupant to be as far from you as possible."

"Live from our virtual men's room studio in Los Angeles, it's... The Urinal Game!"
posted by Rhaomi at 1:41 PM on November 20, 2009


I'm told also that women rarely flush afterwards.

Not to derail too much, but what the heck are you on about? I will vouch for pub-room self-perpetuated restroom nastiness, but who the hell doesn't flush??

As for first-hand surprises I encountered moving in with a bunch of dudes and eventually marrying one (hee), I will nth the bizarro lack of sphincter-timing control (seriously, over half my boyfriends had a the whole "I need to go NOW" sensation permit about 5 minutes leeway, WTF!), the pure unfathomable-from-this-perspective childlike joie de vivre at evacuation manuevers and their well-timed-for-comedic-effect sounds, the junk-in-pants-side-preference, and the variation on morning pee stream based on sexual activity prior.

And when I was 13 and tomboyish I learned firsthand, very much like in the movie Gia, that boys' undies are very, very strange, with flaps no one uses, etc. Ha.
posted by ifjuly at 1:46 PM on November 20, 2009


Faint of Butt, that is possibly the worst solution to this problem I've ever heard. Just "don't tell him"?! Okay, sure, I'll keep something that is important to me and that is affecting my emotional state, possibly noticeably, from my partner. That seems intelligent!

My solution to this problem is to start such conversations with "Can I tell you about this really annoying thing? I'll just be venting, okay?" And my significant other is smart enough to understand this. I do not underestimate his listening comprehension, and neither should you.

An alternative solution is to wait for your male confidant to start a venting conversation first. Deborah Tannen calls this "troubles talk," and in her studies she found that guys are able to have these types of conversations; it just works out better when they're the ones who start.
posted by audacity at 1:56 PM on November 20, 2009 [43 favorites]


Sometimes we touch, hold, or manipulate our genitals when no one's looking. We're not adjusting for comfort, and we're not masturbating--it's no more arousing than jingling your keys. It's just the urge to fidget meeting something fidgetable

Please, please tell me that I am not the only woman who does this too. Please. Sometimes when I'm just sitting around reading a book or on my computer or watching a movie (any situation in which I am relaxed and have a hand free), I just have my hand on my vulva and/or pelvic bone area. It's not sexual or anything; I guess it's comforting? Please someone say I'm not the only one!

Apparently it can happen to women too, but I just learned about the pee shivers!

Hey, I get those! Other people know that exists?! Cool.
posted by audacity at 1:58 PM on November 20, 2009 [8 favorites]


To (sort of) back up Nick Verstayne, a link: Never Ask a Gay Man For Directions

Also, I was a bit surprised about the hand-job thing so I offer this funny email exchange between my boyfriend and me:

Me: People on askMe are saying men don't care about getting hand-jobs because they can do it themselves!

Him: False.
posted by a.steele at 1:59 PM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Not to derail too much, but what the heck are you on about? I will vouch for pub-room self-perpetuated restroom nastiness, but who the hell doesn't flush??

I will say that if the toilet doesn't flush on the first try, most women seem to have an aversion to just holding down the handle longer or (god forbid) taking the top of the tank off if the chain has slipped. And if the person before hasn't flushed, we'll just never use that stall again until someone fixes it.

But it's men, in my experience, who don't flush their pee. Also, what's with the thing where men don't lock the door when peeing in unisex bathrooms? And then are all "whoa!" when I walk in on them?

Ladies in hetero relationships, your man does not want to hear you vent about your problems. This is not because he is unsympathetic or does not care-- quite the opposite, in fact. For a man, problems must be solved.

I know exactly the disconnect of which you speak, and that that the perception is that the guys are the problem solvers hurf durf and the women vent and emote, but I find that IRL, this is not gendered AT ALL. Much like "ask" vs "guess," I think some people are "solvers" and some are "vent-accepting"
posted by desuetude at 2:03 PM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


a. steele, I yelled up the stairs to my s.o. and he is also in the pro-hand-job camp.
posted by audacity at 2:05 PM on November 20, 2009


-derail-

I live in California, which is a land that has a lot of people but not so much water, and there are periodic droughts, wherein people could be fined for watering their lawns between certain hours. During such droughts, there's a little jingle that is often repeated to save water: "If it's yellow, let it mellow; if it's brown, flush it down." Being the vague hippie that I am, I don't restrict this pattern to drought years or only within California, though I will flush when visiting company (usually).

-/derail-

On a similar water-frugal sort of topic, I rarely wash my hands after peeing. Why? Because I don't pee on my hands.

Also: not all men have moist bottoms, but it seems to be something that changes with time. I didn't understand why my father had .. dirty underwear ... and now I find myself with such situations more frequently as I grow older. But enough about my lower half anatomy.

On the topic of underwear: I believe men have more variety in underwear than women, which is the only item of clothing for which this is the case. Otherwise, women have vast seas of clothing variation options compared to men. Also, we can get fancy with types of collars, but I find that to be a bit of mockery, instead of real clothing options.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:05 PM on November 20, 2009


I'm a woman since birth and these are my observations:

About half the time there is pee on the seat of a public women's bathroom stall. It's gross and it tells me that many people are utterly selfish when they think no one is looking. Gives me a low regard for humanity in general and women in particular. Sorry to say it.

Usually, though, the toilet is flushed.

I don't hold my boobs for comfort or any other reason. wtf?

I know nothing about shoes and I hate shoe-shopping. Same for most of my female friends. I don't like shopping general.

My husband is mostly bald and does not like his head scratched or even touched. He knows nothing about sunglasses.

Most males I've known are somewhat color-blind (green-blue) but they don't know it and don't believe it.

Most men I know don't seem to have the ... length ... of orgasm that I do. It's intense for them but usually not the extended play version that lasts 30 seconds or more.

Most men I know are more mechanically inclined than I am and know and CARE more about all forms of transportation and the inner workings of machinery than I do. But this is not universal. My dad exhibits only the 'idiot' part of idiot savant when it comes to cars and other machines and his car-care abilities extend only to driving it to the dealer for regular check-ups. He doesn't really know what to do when the toilet overflows, either, other than stand around helplessly and call a plumber.

Women do use a lot of euphemisms to indicate that they're menstruating, though these are generally only used in a group that includes men. Mr Monthly Visitor (Mr?), George is visiting, my cousin is visiting, etc. (There are probably different euphemisms by region and country.) If it's all women, we just say, I have my period.

I share my house with a man who is very capable in many ways but he had yet to discover how to change a toilet paper roll. He leaves one square on the roll if possible, and if not, he leaves the naked roll on the holder and the new roll on the back of the toilet and never shall they meet until I behold the unholy separation.
posted by mmw at 2:08 PM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh, and audacity, while I've never experienced pee shivers, I definitely do the hands-on-ladyparts thing. My boyfriend never believes me when he catches it and I tell him it's not a sexual thing. I guess we're unconventional in that respect.
posted by a.steele at 2:13 PM on November 20, 2009


Do you have a thousand terms for varieties of menstruation?

Uh, yeah. Maybe not a thousand, but there are many.

On the serious side of things: Ladies in hetero relationships, your man does not want to hear you vent about your problems. This is not because he is unsympathetic or does not care-- quite the opposite, in fact. For a man, problems must be solved. To learn about a problem that directly impacts his woman (whom he must protect at all costs) is exactly the same as being assigned the task of resolving it. This is fine when the problem is, say, a burnt-out light bulb, because the man can replace the bulb and thus achieve victory over it (victory being very important to the male psyche). But when the problem is more emotional or abstract, such as somebody being obnoxious to you at work, the man's only solution is to attempt to solve the problem directly, which will usually take the form of suggestions. If you don't accept his suggestions, then the man has exhausted his skill set and been defeated by the problem. Defeat is very bad, and will probably lead to sulking, or to other activities in which the man can find a proxy for the victory that has been denied him, such as video games.

Totally. Listen to this women, since I have learned this my marriage has been easier.

Also, the color thing. If it isn't listed in the original Crayola eight, they probably won't say it. My husband worked in printing for years, he knows the difference between the colors, but he would never say periwinkle blue or powder blue:

Me: "Which sweater should I wear? The periwinkle blue or the powder blue?"
Him: "I like the lighter blue one better than the light blue one, it makes your boobs look better."
posted by TooFewShoes at 2:18 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Please, please tell me that I am not the only woman who does this too. Please. Sometimes when I'm just sitting around reading a book or on my computer or watching a movie (any situation in which I am relaxed and have a hand free), I just have my hand on my vulva and/or pelvic bone area. It's not sexual or anything; I guess it's comforting? Please someone say I'm not the only one!

Yeah, I do it. I started this thread, so I guess I have to admit to that.
posted by lunalaguna at 2:24 PM on November 20, 2009


Boys always fight each other with sticks. When the boys grow up, they still like to throw rocks and poke things with sticks. It just feels good.
posted by mdoar at 2:25 PM on November 20, 2009


I often will stop and look at construction for a while. If there are other people watching, they tend to be men as well. I don't know why this is or if it is purely confirmation bias, but a fascination with construction seems to be a male trait.
posted by Carillon at 2:30 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


A woman does not automatically know what a circumcised penis looks like vs the uncircumcised version.
Nor, you know, do most men, since we rarely look at penises other than our own. My wife made a remark about something feeling like a foreskin, and I could only look at her quizzically, having never touched one, myself. By like token, I know far more about non-porn naked women's bodies than she does, having seen and touched more than she has.
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:30 PM on November 20, 2009


Given a source of flowing water, many males will attempt to dam it.
To this day, my friends and I maintain the dam on the local swimming hole. For fun. We like to move rocks around. It's constructive, destructive, meaningful and meaningless. All at the same time. If a guy sees some water running through a gully, nine times out of ten he will try to make a dam.

Already posted this in the wrong thread once. Double checking now to make sure I am right here. This one is less embarrassing than the other ones I have posted, luckily.
posted by Seamus at 2:34 PM on November 20, 2009 [13 favorites]


But generalizations are the fun of this thread.
Not all of the above apply to me, but I definitely see a lot of (sometimes disturbing) truth here. At least for my cultural milieu.
posted by Seamus at 2:37 PM on November 20, 2009


FAST FACTS ABOUT MY TESTICLES:

One of my ex-girlfriends had thought that "blueballs" was a literal descriptor; I had to be the one to break it to her that testicles do not, in fact, turn blue.

And here's another recent conversation:

"So... blueballs... is that really that bad?"
"Nah. I mean, it's uncomfortable, and like, you'd rather be having sex and all, but it's totally deal-with-able."
"I knew it! I knew guys were just overrreacting!"
"Yeah, it's not as bad as most dudes make it out to be."
"Ha! And getting hit in the balls? That's not so bad either?"
"OH MY GOD NO THAT IS THE FUCKING WORST"
"Oh. It's really that painful?"
"OH MY GOD OH FUCK IT IS THE FUCKING WORST"
posted by Greg Nog at 2:42 PM on November 20, 2009 [36 favorites]


You've never had full-on blue balls. It's like getting hit in the nads forever.
posted by cmoj at 2:54 PM on November 20, 2009 [9 favorites]


Yeah, I don't think you can understand the sensation of being hit with great force in the ol' hacky-sack if you lack one. For example, the most uncomfortable thing I ever watched happen that did not involve a major tragedy (eg people jumping off the WTC) was seeing a friend take a paintball to the nads when wearing loose-fitting trousers. It is hard to describe the squeals that emerged from him in the immediate aftermath.
posted by Justinian at 2:56 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not a nice bit of knowledge. Safeguarding that whatever they consider to still be viable in used condoms dies by pouring bleach or tabasco.
posted by Jurate at 2:57 PM on November 20, 2009


1) Every boyfriend I've ever had has a certain amount of... I wouldn't say color-blindness, perhaps, but more color generalization...

This is true. The Man's Guide to Color has been around the internets for a while, but I still find it useful.

Makita Blue!
posted by Kabanos at 3:01 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Nah. I mean, it's uncomfortable, and like, you'd rather be having sex and all, but it's totally deal-with-able."

If this is how you describe blue balls, you've never had them. Seriously.

It's like getting hit in the nads forever.

This. This is what it is like.
posted by greekphilosophy at 3:05 PM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


From hearing the sensation described, I would think that getting hit in the balls is a lot like the pain associated with the more extreme, not-getting-out-of-bed-today menstrual cramps, but even more intense because it kind of happens all at once instead of being drawn out over a few hours or days.
posted by audacity at 3:10 PM on November 20, 2009


Since we're talking so much about male bits, apparently men will have an erection whilst dreaming, no matter what the dream is about - sexual or not.

Supposedly, it's a way for doctors to find out whether impotence is physical or psychological - they give the guy some kind of device that wraps around the penis to see whether it got hard at any time during the night. If it did, then psychological problems are the answer.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:14 PM on November 20, 2009


Sort of like the bald head thing, I love stroking my beard. Feels awesome. So awesome that I'll catch myself doing it without thinking about it. I also love having my beard scratched. Beards are fantastic and I feel bad for those who can't grow one.
posted by friendlyjuan at 3:15 PM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Man nipples are ornamental, they have feeling in the way that they can get hurt, eg. purple nurples suck, but I think most of us derive no pleasure from them.
We'll never tell you we dont like handjobs, for fear of reducing the chances of getting our junk touched, but yeah, you're not as good at it as me.
Blue balls can be very painful. debilitatingly so.
I don't know if this is all guys, but I looove getting my head scratched (by a girl.) It may be even more comforting than doing the 'holding my crotch for no reason when I'm alone' thing.
posted by baserunner73 at 3:42 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


A few unpleasant realities many of my guy friends didn't know about women:

1. For some women, periods can be so bad that it makes them throw up. For several days. Every month.

2. PMS usually doesn't happen during your bleeding-time, but a couple days beforehand. It varies with the person, of course. But for some hormonal reason, emotionally things tend to even out by the time the actual blood flows.

3. With many women, the bloodflow is heavy enough to merit an extra absorbent tampon AND a pad. Which is why going swimming isn't aways an option.

4. Something like 35% of the female population is unable to have an orgasm, or can only have it through masturbation. (I'm too lazy to look up the citation.)

5. A lot of times when women give vaginal birth, poop is forced out at the same time as the baby. Happened to my friend. Apparently her doctor said it happens all the time.

6. You may not think you know any women who've been raped or molested, but trust me. You do. They just haven't told you about it. Studies show 1 in 4 (some say 1 in 3) women have experienced some form of sexual violence. Something to think about.
posted by np312 at 3:42 PM on November 20, 2009 [14 favorites]


I forgot one: at least in my family lore, only males can make a really good machine gun sound with their lips. Certainly my son and ex could do it; my daughter and I have never been able to match it.
posted by mygothlaundry at 4:03 PM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Men have to think about what pockets to put their keys, wallet, and phone in and they are very particular about what goes where.

I'm a woman and I'm always amazed at what kind of stuff women pull out of their handbags sometimes. Not uncommon to have a bag as well stocked as a corner store. I wouldn't think twice about asking a girl friend if she has band-aids.

When on our period... hmm, how to put this delicately... for some reason when in water (like taking a shower) it's fine to not wear a tampon. There's no, uh... well let's just say it's fine. I don't know why, but it is. It's just when you get out of the water precautions must be taken asap. I don't know if guys know this. But I remember when I was young and I first got my period I was really worried about what it would be like in the shower and it's actually a total non-issue. I dunno, kinda nifty really.
posted by like_neon at 4:09 PM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


i'm a chick, and some of my friends (male and female) and i will sometimes run afoul of the "trying to solve the problem" thing. it helps to be explicit about what you want at a given time.

Me: blahblah this situation i'm in blah blah.
Friend: well, you could this or that or try this other thing.
Me: stop solving the problem.
Friend: sure! ... my, what a terrible situation. that must be very difficult for you. i'm so sorry.

a nice shorthand way of putting this is "don't just do something, stand there."
posted by rmd1023 at 4:33 PM on November 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


(Most) men perform multiplication in their heads differently than (most) women, or so I've found.

When asked to multiply something somewhat large, say 26 x 8, all of my male friends do the following:
-split the larger number into two easier to deal with chunks, say 20 and 6
-multiple 20 x 8 and 6 x 8 individually
-add the two previous results

Most women I've asked do something entirely different. Is this just a weird phenomenon amongst my sample population, or am I on to something here?
posted by ripley_ at 5:33 PM on November 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


Guys are always good at making cool noises like machine guns, bird calls, dripping taps etc. I can't believe how clumsy I am in comparison. I would have to practice for months to get that kinda skill.
posted by honey-barbara at 5:35 PM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


To clarify: I don't think that women shouldn't talk about their problems with their men. I just think they need to be aware that their guy is going to want to fix it. Letting your guy know that you just want to vent is a good idea. I tell my hubby that I am just letting off steam and that I don't expect (or even want) him to come up with a solution. All I want is sympathy and someone to listen to me.
posted by TooFewShoes at 5:42 PM on November 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


I almost forgot:
When going to a restaurant, men like to sit facing the door or at least facing the room. Sitting facing the wall is rather uncomfortable. [A gun could easily walk in and get the drop on you.]
posted by Drasher at 7:01 PM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


I almost forgot:
When going to a restaurant, men like to sit facing the door or at least facing the room. Sitting facing the wall is rather uncomfortable. [A gun could easily walk in and get the drop on you.]


That's bad etiquette! The woman is supposed to face the room, so that she is, so to speak, showcased. (I know because it was part of the solution to an Encyclopedia Brown mystery I read when I was nine...!)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:10 PM on November 20, 2009 [15 favorites]


Men in cold climates: When pissing outdoors in the wintertime, guys have fun writing in the snow. Maybe only a word or two max, but still it's fun.
posted by exphysicist345 at 7:21 PM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Alright, so.. take everything everyone has said here with the realization that it does not apply evenly across the male population, some things even less so than others. Kind of like... well the sofas in ladies restrooms. There have been plenty of "always" assertions stated here that I know are wrong... some men can pee with a hard on - some men dress different from time to time, or all the time, some men's nipples are sensitive, blueballs are not completely debilitating to all men.... etc etc.
posted by edgeways at 7:38 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Please, please tell me that I am not the only woman who does this too. Please. Sometimes when I'm just sitting around reading a book or on my computer or watching a movie (any situation in which I am relaxed and have a hand free), I just have my hand on my vulva and/or pelvic bone area. It's not sexual or anything; I guess it's comforting? Please someone say I'm not the only one!

not the only one, although by the reaction of my exes to me doing it, it's not exactly common. some have thought i was trying to masturbate (which is impossible as i have to be in almost "light as feather/stiff as a board" position to diddle myself, something about hte muscles, but i've already said too much)
posted by nadawi at 7:40 PM on November 20, 2009


This thread is very genital-heavy already but sometimes, in bed watching something dire on television, I will stretch out the sac of my testicles as expansively as I possibly can, perhaps in an attempt to catch a trade wind and get me the fuck out of there. I reckon I could cover about an A5 sheet of paper.

I am not concerned about a miniscule baked-on speck of rice on my plate or cutlery at a Chinese restaurant.

I rarely piss in sinks, but I commonly piss over balconies and into gardens (I call this "giving the plants a nitrogen boost"). I will also attempt to piss my height in public urinals, and if there is poo caked to the surface of a toilet bowl, it is a fun game to attempt to dislodge it with my urine stream.

And all guys have a prescribed method for systematically checking you out. I have initially been attracted to a pretty girl by her pretty face but from there it goes downhill: legs, bum, chest.

Many men will also see how long they can hold a wet towel aloft with their erect penis.
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:46 PM on November 20, 2009 [9 favorites]


(Most) men perform multiplication in their heads differently than (most) women, or so I've found.

When asked to multiply something somewhat large, say 26 x 8, all of my male friends do the following:
-split the larger number into two easier to deal with chunks, say 20 and 6
-multiple 20 x 8 and 6 x 8 individually
-add the two previous results


I try to do this, 'cause that's how my dad tried to teach me to do it, but I ultimately usually end up estimating by doing, say, 30 x 8 and 20 x 8 and kind of averaging them.
posted by limeonaire at 7:50 PM on November 20, 2009


1) Every boyfriend I've ever had has a certain amount of... I wouldn't say color-blindness, perhaps, but more color generalization...



One day I stumbled across this wiki page and was was dumb struck.
posted by Widepath at 8:02 PM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Women tend to do the "bathroom stall standoff" when they have to poop. I have been surprised more than once to walk into a bathroom that seemed empty, pee, wash my hands, go to leave, and then see someone's feet and realize that someone has been hiding, SILENTLY, in a stall the entire time, waiting for me to leave.

Yep. In my experience, women will actively search out an empty bathroom in order to shit in solitude. It can get very tense otherwise.

When on our period... hmm, how to put this delicately... for some reason when in water (like taking a shower) it's fine to not wear a tampon. There's no, uh... well let's just say it's fine.

Not if you've got fibroids, it isn't.... sigh.

Re: the blueballs thing. My teenage boyfriend used to swear that it was incredibly painful for him to get aroused and not to orgasm. For years I've been under the impression that he was just manipulating me to have sex... but it was true?

Further to orgasms, I've known more than one man who has spoken of orgasm as primarily a release of tension. And seconding the briefness of men's orgasms (in my experience) compared to the full-blown, lights going on and off, steam-train whistle, 30 second long ones I have had on occasion.
posted by jokeefe at 8:15 PM on November 20, 2009


I don't know if we'll get many more responses, and honestly I just kind of let this one go where people wanted it go, but based on the MetaTalk thread, I'll clarify. Any guys have correlations to the couch? I'm definitely interested in defining those things you encounter as a guy that a woman wouldn't. Not asking about behaviors per se.
posted by lunalaguna at 8:17 PM on November 20, 2009


My wife was surprised to find out that it's the balls that get hurt from a kick to the groin. She'd always thought that it was the penis.
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 8:23 PM on November 20, 2009


I have one!

Men's clothes cost relatively the same as women's clothing but are built to last. When I do the laundry I can't believe how thin and insubstantial my gal's clothes are. It's as though they're prop clothes or something. I'm offended that she spent any money on them at all. One pair of my jeans, plus wallet, phone, pocket change / knife, stack of random papers in right rear pocket, etc. and dropping trow sounds like a bookshelf falling over. I'll get ready to do my business and when the pants hit the floor the downstairs neighbors wake up. Man-clothes are heavy.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:23 PM on November 20, 2009 [19 favorites]


One day I stumbled across this wiki page and was was dumb struck.

Seriously? Cause there are lots more shades of green than just those.
posted by jokeefe at 8:24 PM on November 20, 2009


Baby-Balrog-- Yes! And women's clothes are more expensive, too, for pretty much exactly the same thing. Samuel Delany told an anecdote once about the early years of his marriage, when his then wife, Marilyn Hacker, put on a pair of his jeans and was astonished to find how big and useful the pockets were; pockets on women's jeans (at least at that time, in the 60s) were almost entirely ornamental. I had the same experience the first time I put on regular pair of Levis when I was a teenager.

Women's hairdressers tend to charge much more for the same thing than a barber shop. I get my hair trimmed at the barber's up the street for five bucks a time and it's great. It takes five minutes, he does a great job, and nobody expects me to make conversation.
posted by jokeefe at 8:30 PM on November 20, 2009


(Most) men perform multiplication in their heads differently than (most) women, or so I've found.

I'm a woman and I perform multiplication in my head exactly the way you described.
posted by gaspode at 8:38 PM on November 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


audacity: From hearing the sensation described, I would think that getting hit in the balls is a lot like the pain associated with the more extreme, not-getting-out-of-bed-today menstrual cramps, but even more intense because it kind of happens all at once instead of being drawn out over a few hours or days.

During PMS, emotions are very close to the surface, no matter which emotions they may be. "Moody" tends to sound negative, but it can also mean giddy, or silly, as well as sad or angry. PMS also brings on occasional lack of grip control (i.e. dropping things), forgetfulness, and uncoordinated movements.

The first few days of my period--and women's periods vary in timespan by days, and are (contrary to popular belief) rarely on a regular schedule--feel like someone is taking a naked razor blade to my uterus, and very, very slowly, slicing off the lining, one thin layer at a time. "Cramps" are a misnomer; they are not like muscular cramps from exercise (at least, not in my experience). Menstrual headaches can be blindingly close to migraines in levels of pain.

Showering (or bathing, or swimming) slows or even stops bloodflow during menstruation for most women.

Women's breasts (say, B-cup and over) can become so sore during menstruation that the woman has to hold them up with her hands while walking down stairs. You can forget running.

This is where I'd put a graphic of "The More You Know" with the shooting star.
posted by tzikeh at 8:41 PM on November 20, 2009 [8 favorites]


Men have to think about what pockets to put their keys, wallet, and phone in and they are very particular about what goes where.

I'm a woman and I'm always amazed at what kind of stuff women pull out of their handbags sometimes.


A corollary of this is that guys, in general, don't tend to lose their keys, wallet or phone anywhere nearly as often as women do. Or at least, not amongst the people I know.

(and by 'losing' I mean also the "oh, shit, I don't have my [whatever] on me; must've left it at home" variety, as well)

My theory is that for guys, it's always "OK, wallet - front right pocket. Phone & keys - front left pocket" (or whichever preference they have, but they *always* go in the same place every time). If they aren't in the pockets, they are offloaded onto a dressing table or similar place at home. And always carrying the same things in the same places means that we're acutely aware if something is missing. Or else, we find out right away by checking our pockets at least within the first 100m of leaving home.

Girls, in comparison, rarely have pockets, but they have heaps of handbags. Even if wearing trousers or jackets with pockets, the stuff still goes in the bag. I dunno why exactly, I guess they're used to it, and the items don't make unsightly bulges, or it feels more comfortable.

Anyway...so, in transferring stuff from handbag to other handbag to dresser to backpack and so on, things get left behind in one bag or another. And if something is ever left behind somewhere (eg on the table at a bar or restaurant) it takes longer to register that it's missing, because they assume that it must just be in the handbag or in the other handbag or somewhere else.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:46 PM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


When asked to multiply something somewhat large, say 26 x 8, all of my male friend

I'm a male, and since I was a little kid I always found it easier to double things than anything else. So I'd double 26 once, that's 26 * 2, I'd double it again, that's 26 * 4, and I'd double it a third time, that's 26 * 8. I'd do the same thing even if it was * 9, I'd just add a spare 26 when I got to the previous point.
posted by floam at 8:53 PM on November 20, 2009


If there's five guys, they'll take up the entire row, with one seat between each. This is a Big Deal among my guy friends.
No homo.

One thing I've noticed about male behavior after being married for many years is how men can have a boisterous, knock-down, almost come-to-blows argument about something, and then 20 minutes later will drink a beer together and laugh and talk like nothing ever happened. If I ever disagreed with a girlfriend so vehemently over something, we'd go without speaking for a day or two or longer, and then a cautious, heartfelt "make up" discussion would be necessary before we could sit down and drink and laugh together again.
This is one of those lessons about women that most of us guys have to learn the hard way.

Re: the blueballs thing. My teenage boyfriend used to swear that it was incredibly painful for him to get aroused and not to orgasm. For years I've been under the impression that he was just manipulating me to have sex
I should be rightly beaten silly for answering this, but he was just manipulating you, although the desire and frustration level here probably is higher for guys. Pain? We don't recognize pain, we are men. Didn't hurt.

(Most) men perform multiplication in their heads differently than (most) women, or so I've found.
I don't know about that, but I doubt there are too many women who perform complex math in their heads during sex, especially in their uncontrollable youth.
posted by caddis at 8:54 PM on November 20, 2009


The factoring method you describe though, that is what I fall back to if doubling isn't easy. I can't imagine what the ways you think most other people do things are? Someone mentioned averaging, but obviously that doesn't cut it. Please explain, I want arithmetic tricks!
posted by floam at 8:57 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Men don't shake women's hands the same way they shake men's hands. Men tighten their grip quite a lot with each other. If we used the same amount of strength with women, they'd scream from the pain.

This isn't something you can really see, and I think most women don't realize how much different it is. For women, the act of hand shaking is simple skin contact. For men it's a trial of strength.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:16 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Chocolate Pickle, I am a woman and I tend judge men based on how they shake my hand. The dead fish handshake does not leave a good first impression. I shake hands firmly, and expect to have my hand shaken just as firmly. Lots of men seem to be afraid to crush my delicate, lily-white hand in their big, brawny paws.
posted by coppermoss at 9:29 PM on November 20, 2009 [10 favorites]


floam - same way i'd do it on paper: 26 x 8 would be 8x6 is 48, carry the 4, 8x2 is 16 +4 is 208.

and yeah, cramps aren't just i pulled a muscle while running cramps. for me it's like someone attached the outsides of my uterus to vice grips and then wrapped the strongest elastic/rubber you could find around the middle bits and then put them on a stretcher where the vice grips got tighter and the elastic got smaller.
posted by nadawi at 9:32 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


and, and - i'm with coppermoss. i decide whether to respect a man or not in a business situation by if he shakes my hand like a man or like i'm a girl. maybe it was being raised mormon and all the hand shaking involved, but i have a great grip, not too firm, not sweaty, but strong solid wrist and a commanding presence.
posted by nadawi at 9:33 PM on November 20, 2009


For women, the act of hand shaking is simple skin contact. For men it's a trial of strength.

Except in West Africa. I never quite got used to the way that these enormous black dudes would shake your hand with exceptionally gentle grips, that make the typical woman's handshake feel like an armwrestle with a particularly disgruntled Uzbekistani commando on steroids.

"Bonjour! Ca va?"
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:35 PM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


It got me wondering whether there are certain facts about men or common experiences they have that I'm totally unaware of as a woman.

As a corollary, I was shocked when I learned from male friends and boyfriends that a fair number of the pubs we frequented had these frames above urinals and inside stall doors into which the management placed the day's front page of the newspaper or the front page of the sports section, to read while you do your business. I have never, ever seen a women's room that did this. And I was disbelieving at first, until I was taken in to see the page in one of these (older, fusty) pubs. From that point on I've just been jealous - hey, we need stuff to read, too.

As for couches in women's room - yes, you find this in "nicer" places - restaurants, old-school department stores, banquet halls, theatres. My feeling is that this is part archiac holdover: there was a time when women's dress required more upkeep, and the 'powder room' was really meant to provide a woman with a basically full dressing chamber's worth of amenities so that you could spend time keeping your appearance together, having a relaxing cigarette outside public view (when women were not supposed to smoke in public), and fixng your makeup after the cigarette, repairing the run in your hose which might require taking the hose off, etc.

I assume they've held on because (a) the space has already been set aside in the older infrastructure of many buildings, and (b) there's a real level of practicality that women appreciate. When we're in a "nicer" place, we're probably wearing "nicer" shoes that hurt our feet a fuck of a lot, and if you can sit on the couch and take the heels off for a minute and massage your burning, cramped feet, you'll feel better about the whole evening's experience. Nursing's definitely another very practical reason for providing couches. And overall, you're going to spend longer in this backstage area because of the costume upkeep, and the fact that you've probably gone in with a friend, sister, mom, or daughter means that one of you is going to end up waiting for the other - which is a bit different from the way men generally do bathroom expeditions - not in multiples.
posted by Miko at 9:47 PM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm going to share two anecdotes from my ex-girlfriend that I found surprising about her.

1) A couple times when we were out and about, she would grab my hand and put it on her boob. I would duly start massaging her, and then in a few seconds she would suddenly go, 'Why are you touching my boob?!' It took me a while to convince her that she had put my hand there... and a while for her to convince me that she had done it unconsciously, and really wasn't just messing with my head. This happened in public... we were a pretty outgoing team.
2) Re: the whole 'Bathroom deadlock' thing, she said that she found it so silly and pathetic, that she had devised a strategy to deal with it. Basically, she would start enthusiastically whistling 'Thunderdrome' by Tina Turner... she said that solved the issue.

I'd like to add to the list that as a man with a reasonably hairy derrierre, sometimes the amount of pruning and wiping that is required to clean up after taking a dump is enough to reduce me to tears. I believe men such as me would be a lot happier if, rather than toilet paper, water was the norm.
posted by schmichael at 9:50 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Someone asked why we don't have a junk-bra. We do. (nsfw I guess)

Uh the junk bra isn't boxer briefs. It's an athletic supporter.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:27 PM on November 20, 2009


As a guy I've come to somewhat dread shaking other men's hands. With men it's a crapshoot as to whether the handshake will be polite, firm, momentary contact or if it'll be the aggressive dick waving one-upsmanship that seems more common. With the latter it feels like all the stored rage of a thousand slights is being channeled into the handshake just so the other guy can feel like he stands a chance at being the alpha male in this meeting.

This seems to be one more thing on the list of unaddressable male dominance rituals that happen all the time.
posted by mindless progress at 11:03 PM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


The dead fish handshake does not leave a good first impression. I shake hands firmly, and expect to have my hand shaken just as firmly.

I've heard women say that. But what they think is "firmly" would be considered "wet fish" in a man.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:05 PM on November 20, 2009


Sorry, "dead fish", not "wet fish". What I mean is that the men are still holding back when giving a "firm" handshake to a woman.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:30 PM on November 20, 2009


Re: the blueballs thing. My teenage boyfriend used to swear that it was incredibly painful for him to get aroused and not to orgasm. For years I've been under the impression that he was just manipulating me to have sex... but it was true?

It depends on how aroused, and for how long. I've definitely had times when I would have had trouble walking around too much. At that point, relief can actually intensify the pain before allowing it to subside.

Orgasm length can vary a lot, too. They could be anywhere from mediocre ones lasting a couple seconds to captivating ones with contractions lasting maybe ten times that.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 11:37 PM on November 20, 2009


Showering (or bathing, or swimming) slows or even stops bloodflow during menstruation for most women.

I've wondered about this since I first heard it, lo these many years ago. It doesn't make sense; how does your uterus know that you are in the shower? I had decided that this was a bit of disinformation designed to counteract various notions about menstruation which included not bathing for fear of catching a cold, or something. Before sex ed in the schools and decent public health programs, there were a lot of odd beliefs floating around as people tried as best they could to understand sex and reproduction.

Also, I've found myself bleeding freely in the bath or shower before; so if it's true it's never worked on me.
posted by jokeefe at 12:11 AM on November 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


As a man the handshake dominance thing is a pain in the head and the hand. I try to give all men the same firm but pain-free grip. Men from all walks of life have occasionally tried to crush my hand. If I think that's going to happen, I use the simple trick of shoving my hand far enough into theirs that they can't crush my knuckles when they squeeze. My hands are strong enough and as a young fool I crushed back once and "won" but felt puerile and sullied by my own action.
If it happens my respect for the crusher diminishes on the spot (unless they're a teen or from a culture I'm unfamiliar with). When shaking hands with women I let them make the first move, as not all want a firm shake. I expect some interesting studies have been done on handshaking.
posted by nicholai88 at 12:15 AM on November 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


schmichael: I'd like to add to the list that as a man with a reasonably hairy derrierre, sometimes the amount of pruning and wiping that is required to clean up after taking a dump is enough to reduce me to tears. I believe men such as me would be a lot happier if, rather than toilet paper, water was the norm.

Baby wipes.
posted by jokeefe at 12:16 AM on November 21, 2009


The Deej: "The single thing that men's public bathrooms have in common is that, with rare exception, they are filthy, disgusting, smelly, vile pits of urine, feces, and snot."

Oh trust me. The ladies' room has all that plus blood. People are filthy pigs when they don't have to clean up after themselves. And women who hover because they're afraid their precious bums will touch a germ, and then don't clean up their mess, should be shot.
posted by IndigoRain at 1:19 AM on November 21, 2009 [6 favorites]


Ex-girlfriend's bits would randomly juice. We were walking down the street talking about nothing in particular when she grabbed my hand and shoved it down her pants which contained at least 15 minutes worth of foreplay.

This happened at least 20 times during the 6 month relationship. Did not know.
posted by laptolain at 1:43 AM on November 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I did not know it was that hard to aim, as a guy.
A kind fellow let me steer, and jesus christ, it's like a firehose!

I'm a backrub giver and have noticed that a lot of men are really squicky about having their spine touched too hard, whereas women aren't finicky about it (cracking the spine being part of the rub). The spine is 'embedded' quite different in men and women in the surrounding muscles, and women's spines tend to be extremely flexible even if they aren't the yoga types (think how much it bends forward during pregnancy and most gals never notice). In short, backrubs on men is all big muscle massage, while backrubs in women you can pretty much crack their back, stretch the muscles and do the works.
posted by dabitch at 3:43 AM on November 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


dabitch, pressing on spine should be avoided because of risk of injuries - could it be that men just knew it (I could imagine they google how to give a backrub before their first attempt at it).
posted by Jurate at 4:19 AM on November 21, 2009


In an AskMe about little-known facts about men, why are so many people talking about women's boobs, periods, and labial wetness? Weird.

Not asking about behaviors per se.

I think the reason you are hearing so much about behaviors is that there are nowadays very few male-only physical spaces -- but there are still many male-only social spaces. So there simply aren't many equivalents of the (sometimes mythological) bathroom couch, but there are a ton of social and behavioral things that many women will not have seen or experienced.

I'm definitely interested in defining those things you encounter as a guy that a woman wouldn't.

As touched on in the threads about sexual violence, I don't think many women have the experience of walking into a room and having people you've never met randomly threaten to kick your ass just because they feel like it. A lot of the oddities and ceremonies of male/male social interactions have to do with defusing and deescalating potential conflicts, which makes sense of those otherwise inexplicable behaviors.

Blue balls are at once real (and very painful), and at the same time are something young guys will use to manipulate someone into acquiescing into sex.
posted by Forktine at 4:50 AM on November 21, 2009 [10 favorites]


In an AskMe about little-known facts about men, why are so many people talking about women's boobs, periods, and labial wetness? Weird.

Men - when talking to each other - love to put on airs of exceptional knowledgeability, even if they have zero experience of whatever the hell they are talking about.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:17 AM on November 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


Most nicer mens' pants have a smaller pocket at the bottom of one of the side pockets.
posted by Nameless at 5:33 AM on November 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


a number of men don't seem to know that women have three "holes" down there

This.

To my absolute surprise I've known several (well-educated, twenty-something) men that thought that women pee through their vaginas. Quite shocking to think that perhaps this is is quite a widespread belief.
posted by cryptozoology at 6:28 AM on November 21, 2009


And it's interesting that the lack of understanding persists even after many men go through a period of intense curiosity about what exactly is down there. Perhaps, as relevant to this thread, it's because many men seem to need to hold and manipulate something to feel they really understand it.

Something that hasn't really come up is how many behaviors are drilled into (some) men out of homophobia. The first example that comes to mind was my father insisting I had to put my socks and shoes on in a particular order, otherwise I would be signalling I was gay. (I honestly don't remember the order, I seem to recall practicing the opposite just to piss him off.) I wonder where those beliefs come from - my dad is in his 70s, was over 40 when I was born, and served in the Navy. I hope this is less common today - I know other dads when I was growing up (think elementary school coaches and scout leaders) would also insist on other apparently random behavior for the same reason. I'm sure I've internalized some of it without wanting to.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:44 AM on November 21, 2009


Most nicer mens' pants have a smaller pocket at the bottom of one of the side pockets.

It's called a "watch pocket" - vestigial, for securing your pocket watch to avoid its being scraped by the other contents of your pockets.
posted by Miko at 8:09 AM on November 21, 2009


Sys Rq: " The woman is supposed to face the room, so that she is, so to speak, showcased. (I know because it was part of the solution to an Encyclopedia Brown mystery I read when I was nine...!)"

Wait wait wait. I read that same mystery, and as I recall Sally said the man is supposed to face the room so he can get the waitress's attention when it's time to pay the bill.

Now, if you have a gnome candle, and the wax is dripping...
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:11 AM on November 21, 2009


No, Sys Rq has it right. The story said the woman got to face the room so she can "see and be seen."
posted by Miko at 8:16 AM on November 21, 2009


I often will stop and look at construction for a while.

I can watch a backhoe for hours.

Miko -- in addition to the frontpage of newspapers over urinals in some hotel and resataurant (e.g. Houston's) men's rooms they now have flatscreen TVs.
posted by ericb at 8:24 AM on November 21, 2009


Women's breasts (say, B-cup and over) can become so sore during menstruation that the woman has to hold them up with her hands while walking down stairs. You can forget running.

Eff walking down stairs, during the invasion of the Red Army, I've got to hold them if I want to just WALK. Or stand up. GAH. Sometimes it's hard to explain to 'moonMan that I don't want my boobs touched because their very existence hurts.

One thing I have noticed about boys (from ages 2 onwards) is the tendency to put one hand directly on the penis (as in, ON IT and not just on the pants covering it) when sleeping. Not in any kind of masturbatory way, just to make sure it's still there. Not all boys do it, but I've seen it happen often enough to say that it's a definite "thing."

(Put me in the camp that never touches my boobs or lady bits for comfort, but can often be found with one finger in my bellybutton for no good reason.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:28 AM on November 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not to keep harping on this, but....HOW exactly do men pee in the sink? Isn't it difficult without a stepstool or something? And what is the psychological purpose? I can see soaking a cigarette butt, or something, as marking one's territory, or something, but what is it about the sink?
posted by Melismata at 9:09 AM on November 21, 2009


Not to keep harping on this, but....HOW exactly do men pee in the sink? Isn't it difficult without a stepstool or something?

Two little-known fact about men: 1. They're generally taller than women; 2. Their peeing devices can be stretched, bent, and finagled to suit any trajectories.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:16 AM on November 21, 2009


I once called a submarine a "ship" and was instantly corrected by 3 guys, "its a boat!".

I consider a submarine a ship and not a boat. Boats float on the water, ships can go anywhere (think spaceships). Do all men think/know this? I don't know, but this one (myself) felt compelled to add my two cents.
posted by jeffmilner at 9:23 AM on November 21, 2009


Shenanigans. It is impossible to grow up with male genitalia and not think at some point while looking in the bathroom mirror how convenient it would be if you didn't have to walk all the way over to the toilet.

Shenanigans right back atcha; maybe it's because I grew up with two older sister, but I have never had that thought. And though it may be unmanly for me to say it: ew.

Well, I hate to break it to you, but your older sisters turned you into a precious little girl. Please turn in your man card at the nearest kiosk. ;)

Also re: blueballs. Holy fuck, yes. I've been bowlegged for a full day after some serious non-completion sessions. It is NOT made up, although it is often exaggerated by the unscrupulous to press an advantage.

I always took my blueballs in manly silence, with only a single tear to betray the anguish.
posted by Aquaman at 9:24 AM on November 21, 2009


1st time I went to Europe we were driving into France from Germany on the Autobahn. All guys in the car. We stopped at the 1st rest stop after entering France and went in to pee. I remember remarking about how high up the urinal was. About that time one of the other guys walked around the corner and found the "real" urinals. Turns out I was peeing in the sink.
posted by white_devil at 9:29 AM on November 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


Not to keep harping on this, but....HOW exactly do men pee in the sink? Isn't it difficult without a stepstool or something?

Standard sink/counter height in the US is about 32". I just measured, and my penis is about 38" long above the floor. So sinks are perfectly positioned for comfortable peeing, even for guys considerably shorter than myself.
posted by Forktine at 9:29 AM on November 21, 2009 [8 favorites]


Although men will very rarely admit to crying, they do - it's just that by the time they reach adulthood, it takes something pretty powerful to manage it. (I think the cinema must have been very dusty during the first fifteen minutes of Up, for instance.)

Now, that means that as far as men are concerned, crying is frequently a sign of vulnerability. So, women - if you've had a bad day, and you're talking to one of your male friends, and you start crying? If he doesn't immediately give you a hug, he is not being cold and distant, he thinks you're unusually vulnerable and is scared of how that situation might look. Essentially, he doesn't want to be that guy who always turns any situation into a chance for him to look attractive. No-one wants to be that guy. Except "that guy" himself, but man, screw that guy.

Also, everything in the correct pocket? Absolutely. Wallet and phone in the left, keys and penknife in the right (and real men will always carry either a penknife, or a multitool, or preferably both), loose change in the back right pocket, tickets and receipts in the back left.

(One other thing, and I'm not sure whether this is just a man thing or more universal - I'll sometimes go to sleep on my side, with one hand sandwiched between my legs. Not touching anything other than the legs themselves, you understand. It's just...comforting for some reason.)
posted by ZsigE at 9:44 AM on November 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


Jurate - I know that, I don't do that. I'm saying some men yelp when light fingers touch their spine. Never had a woman do that. Massaging an entire back without ever touching the spine-area is a bit strange (meanwhile women will allow crazy chiropractor techniques without blinking).
posted by dabitch at 10:10 AM on November 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


> Re. guys misconceptions about womeny-bits...

Until my first girlfriend disabused me of the notion, I thought that female breasts (from puberty onwards, anyway) were always full of milk, which, like blood, was a naturally-replenishing and circulating bodily fluid. The look she gave me when we had this conversation (picture confusion and pity with a bit of contempt thrown in) will haunt me forevermore.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:35 AM on November 21, 2009 [10 favorites]


All men until they reach the age of 30 give or take a few years believe that if they dropped everything, jumped on a plane to China and found a monk to teach them Kungfu for a year, they could become the greatest spy/ninja/all around bad ass in the world.*

This only applies to younger men, but it is pretty universal that if you want to indicate that you are a member of some other man's peer group, are nonthreatening and "cool", all it takes is eye contact and a quick up word nod of the head. In general the other man will do the same thing back. A failure to do so while maintaining eye contact means that he does not consider you a peer or worthy of respect and will be taken as an insult/threat.




*stolen from some website, can't remember, XKCD?
posted by afu at 11:32 AM on November 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


If by "some website" you mean "Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash" then yes.
posted by Justinian at 11:48 AM on November 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


[this is now in metatalk which means metacommentary pretty much should go there, thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 12:01 PM on November 21, 2009


I also didn't know about the couch in the women's bathroom thing until I was at library school. One of my fellow students told me about it, but she didn't know the reasoning behind it either; "Is it there in case I get the fucking vapors?"
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:10 PM on November 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


a number of men don't seem to know that women have three "holes" down there

This.

I have known women who didn't know this. Including a lesbian in her late 30's.
posted by Iteki at 12:12 PM on November 21, 2009


Just a datapoint here : I hang to the left, the balls are sensitive and often require adjustment, peeing while sitting sucks, peeing with an erection hurts (and also sucks), handjobs are a healthy part of foreplay but should lead to something more, blueballs are real and hurt like hell, I use the flap so I don't have to unbutton and unbuckle and pull down my pants, dominance handshakers who squeeze really hard are douchebags, I shake womens' hands firmly although probably not as firmly as a man's, the only holes that should be making noise in a bathroom are ones below the belt, washing hands after simple urination doesn't always necessitate a handwash (especially during the winter when dryness becomes an issue), never peed in a sink in my life (do people really do this? really?), I get very little advance notice for needing to defecate (I think it has something to do with having a prostate), can tell colors apart but don't know their names (also have trouble telling navy from black, but doesn't everybody have this?), don't know shit about sunglasses, never heard of the "drinking giraffe" (and I think Loto actually made it up), instinctively crossed my legs just READING the words "cut his balls off", construction is fascinating, construction vehicles are fascinating, basically any kind of large equipment is fascinating, (let's just face it, all Equipment is fundamentally fascinating), never lost my wallet and only lost a phone once, I always look at the legs first (but maybe I'm just weird like that), and it's really funny but my dad always tried to convince me once that full-length white sweat socks on a man were an indication of homosexuality. I mean, WTF? Was this a 50s/60s/70s thing or what?

Now, for some personal observations :

Women -- your crying baffles us and we don' t know how to deal with it. It makes us uneasy. To many women, crying around other people is "no big thing." It isn't like this for us, and we can't relate.

Women -- when you talk trash about a girl for being too skinny, it makes you look fat. Doesn't matter if you're a skin-and-bones anorexic, in our minds you just became an instant fatgirl. Same thing with going out of your way to mention "going to the gym." Doesn't matter how skinny or fat you actually are. Lesson? Nothing is less sexy than insecurity.

Women -- you aren't as fat as you think you are. Or, let me rephrase that. You've seen too many magazines, watched too many TV shows, and taken the gossip blogs way too seriously. We don't expect you to be stick-figures, and most men have the capacity to like a girl who's a little zaftig. Confidence is sexy. Style is sexy. The right attitude is sexy. Don't buy the media's lies about what you should look like.

Women -- we really have no conception of how much your friends' opinions matter to you. I'm continually amazed by this. Are women just really judgmental of each other or what?

Homophobia is highly cultural. White guys will do a lot of "gay joking" where they'll joke around "as if they were gay." Black guys are more homophobic, and if you try to gay joke around them, you will be met with some VERY uncomfortable stares.

It is often necessary to feign interest in cars or sports, even if (like me) you have absolutely no interest in either one. Is there any analog to this in the female world?
posted by Sloop John B at 12:18 PM on November 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Some dudes refuse to use the urinals and will wait for a stall to pee. I always wonder if they are homophobic.

Sometimes, for reasons I can't explain, I cannot pee at a urinal and have to go to a secluded stall to pee. This is the case even if no one else is in the bathroom or they are at the far end of the bathroom at the sinks, facing away from me. I don't think it has anything to do with homophobia per se.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:52 PM on November 21, 2009


It is often necessary to feign interest in cars or sports, even if (like me) you have absolutely no interest in either one. Is there any analog to this in the female world?

This might be too obvious, but... babies. Oh my god, the babies.
posted by tigrrrlily at 12:55 PM on November 21, 2009 [17 favorites]


It is often necessary to feign interest in cars or sports, even if (like me) you have absolutely no interest in either one. Is there any analog to this in the female world?

Engagement/marriage rituals. The amount of minute details that are involved in putting on a wedding are boggling. Place settings. Invitations. "Hold the date" announcements. Not to mention that for many women it's a kind of competitive blood sport.
posted by jokeefe at 12:59 PM on November 21, 2009 [7 favorites]


Women have (at least in this culture) a very complicated relationship between food and sex. There's a lot of anxiety around food and attempts to substitute things for food that I won't ever try to parse out here because there are entire books which address this and still don't "solve" the issue.
posted by jokeefe at 1:13 PM on November 21, 2009


On rare occasions, a hair will be unknowlingly stuck over the slit in a man's thing. When this occurs and the main urinates, the urine is split into two widely divergent streams, with one or both missing the bowl.

The remedy is to stop urinating in mid flow and shake your thing such that the hair is released.

It's a real WTF moment because it occurs so rarely and unexpectedly.

You asked.
posted by qsysopr at 1:14 PM on November 21, 2009


It's called a "watch pocket" - vestigial, for securing your pocket watch to avoid its being scraped by the other contents of your pockets.

It's not vestigial if you own a pocket watch. I own a couple, but don't generally wear them day-to-day. When I do, though, I definitely appreciate the watch pocket for not letting them get all scratched up by the other crap in my pocket (keys, change, whatever).
posted by axiom at 1:27 PM on November 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Every guy I've known puts on a special mirror face. It's kind of a cross between trying to look detached from looking at himself (like he's not really in to it, but it's gotta get done) and trying to put his hottest face forward. It's hard to describe but women definitely don't do it. Maybe women are just more comfortable spending time in front of the mirror? Anyway, I've always found it to be tremendously endearing and sweet.
posted by thinkpiece at 1:28 PM on November 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Some dudes refuse to use the urinals and will wait for a stall to pee. I always wonder if they are homophobic.

Sometimes, for reasons I can't explain, I cannot pee at a urinal and have to go to a secluded stall to pee.


It's called being "pee-shy" and has nothing to do with homophobia.
posted by ericb at 2:29 PM on November 21, 2009


Guys build relationships with each other almost exclusively through breaking each other's balls and telling funny stories. As a man, it's critical to be able to make fun of yourself and your coworkers as well as break the ice in other situations by telling jokes and funny personal stories about something fooling you either did or witnessed.

Also, every man, regardless of the social situation, will talk to me endlessly about cars when they find out I'm a mechanic. Complete strangers at funerals have engaged in lengthy discussions with me comparing various makes, maintenance misconceptions, and technology.

Guys also HAVE TO try for themselves. If they see you doing something, be it hammering nails, turning a wrench, operating an acetylene torch, or working a jackhammer, chances are they are absolutely dying to get their hands dirty. And, within mere seconds of trying something for the first time, most guys will be utterly convinced of their expertise. I saw somebody pick up a jackhammer for the first time just the other day, work it for maybe five minutes, and then exclaim, "Oh, yeah yeah. You gotta let the jackhammer do the work for you. This one's a ninety-pounder."
Ok, buddy. Sure thing.

But, as a guy, any time I see a car hood open in a parking lot, I have to try really hard not to walk over and see what's going on.
posted by Jon-o at 2:38 PM on November 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


The theory is that men have a sort of innate spatial awareness so that when they (inevitably, because they didn't bring the map) go off course, they head in the general direction of where they need to go, and by trial and error will get back to the route they intended upon - This theory is either dead wrong for 99 percent of the men I know or the "trial and error" period is more than 48 hours.

The hand job issue? Hey fellas, good to know we can't do it as good as you can because, of course, what you do to the lady parts with your paws is always and absolutely superior to our own efforts and various devices. (If I wanted sex to be just raw nerve response, I'd saw a hole in my head and wire something up - context matters.)

If you want to see a man cry, start a conversation about now-dead childhood dogs.

What I did not know about men until well into adulthood is that most American men have a "heartbreak girl" that they never entirely got over. Sometimes she's just a crush - not even someone they dated. Conflicted as to whether this is touching or creepy.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 2:57 PM on November 21, 2009 [10 favorites]


W/r/t blue balls: So, if your lady friend gets you hot and bothered, but completion isn't on the table... can't you, I dunno, take care of business on your own? It seems like "Ok, I understand you don't feel up to it tonight. That's totally cool. I'm going to take a shower." would be reasonable. I know *I* would totally understand and respect that.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:06 PM on November 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


I didn't know until a couple years ago that women often get charged more for getting their clothing dry cleaned. Women's drying cleaning prices vs men's dry cleaning prices (NYT) Shirt images. The article talks about why dry-cleaners claim that is (shirt variations, machines designed for men).
posted by cashman at 3:19 PM on November 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


On a similar water-frugal sort of topic, I rarely wash my hands after peeing. Why? Because I don't pee on my hands.

You have coliform bacteria on your hands after you've touched your genitals and not washing your hands can end up making someone sick, especially if their immune system is compromised from a medical condition.

link.
posted by stavrogin at 3:19 PM on November 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


W/r/t blue balls: So, if your lady friend gets you hot and bothered, but completion isn't on the table... can't you, I dunno, take care of business on your own?
Oh yeah, totally. I mean, I'm still frustrated, but the physical discomfort is gone.
posted by hattifattener at 4:14 PM on November 21, 2009


Please, please tell me that I am not the only woman who does this too. Please. Sometimes when I'm just sitting around reading a book or on my computer or watching a movie (any situation in which I am relaxed and have a hand free), I just have my hand on my vulva and/or pelvic bone area. It's not sexual or anything; I guess it's comforting? Please someone say I'm not the only one!

I do this. Mr. WanKenobi always laughs at me "Bundying" at my computer (I swear that it's not at least totally due to the sexiness of metafilter). I also usually sleep this way.

Something my male friends seemed to have not realized: not all girls are good at popping a squat. I'm not. No matter how hard I try, it always trickles down my legs.

I was also shocked to realize that men pretty much always reach around their butt to wipe; I usually wipe from the front, between my legs.

Wish I could think of non-bathroom relaed stuff, but my mind seems to be in the gutter.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:54 PM on November 21, 2009


It's called a "watch pocket" - vestigial, for securing your pocket watch to avoid its being scraped by the other contents of your pockets.

It is the watch pocket. Let's talk about that. At length. At great, great length.
posted by mlis at 6:04 PM on November 21, 2009


tzikeh, I haven't been following this thread closely, so I'm commenting way further down the thread than is probably useful, but I just wanted to let you know: I'm a woman.

I have had menstrual cramps (and for me it is a bit like a stomachache, a muscle cramp, and being repeatedly punched in the gut all at the same time). I was just saying that I've compared what menstrual cramps feel like for me with some male descriptions of being hit in the balls and the descriptions have generally been pretty similar, so if I was going to try to explain the pain of one to someone of the other sex, that is the reference point I'd use.
posted by audacity at 6:15 PM on November 21, 2009


W/r/t blue balls: So, if your lady friend gets you hot and bothered, but completion isn't on the table... can't you, I dunno, take care of business on your own?

I suppose you could in theory, but blue balls are not so much about whether or not you have an orgasm. They are more about having one in time.

And, in my experience (contradicted by hattifattener above) once the blue balls come on (so to speak) *nothing* will relieve them other than time to recuperate (a couple of hours or so).

Luckily, extended makeout sessions that go on for that long without release are banished to the thankfully-distant memories of teenage years.

(in the scenario of "taking care of business on your own" you'd have to take note of when they are just starting to get a bit tender, then excuse yourself from the makeout session. i can't see a teenaged boy doing that any more than i could imagine him saying "can you wait a minute? i just need to go to the bathroom for a while...")
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:32 PM on November 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was also shocked to realize that men pretty much always reach around their butt to wipe; I usually wipe from the front, between my legs.

Men obviously have something hanging in the way to stop them from reaching from the front. Also, if you're reaching from the front to wipe your butt, stop. Doing this is a really good way to get yeast infections, apparently (at least according to all the doctors and related signage in my undergraduate college health center). Start wiping the front from the front and the back from the back. Safety first!
posted by audacity at 6:35 PM on November 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Doing this is a really good way to get yeast infections, apparently (at least according to all the doctors and related signage in my undergraduate college health center).

The way to get yeast infections is to wipe back-to-front. You can still wipe front-to-back this way.

As for it being obvious that men have something hanging in the way, it wasn't obvious to me until I lived with a dude.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:44 PM on November 21, 2009


Uh the junk bra isn't boxer briefs. It's an athletic supporter.

The boxer briefs with a pouch.

Handshakes: It is my experience that guys who try the hand-crushing thing are universally douchebags. I have a big enough sample size that I feel comfortable claiming that as a pretty concrete generalization. It's exactly like small talk concentrated in ritual-contact form. Guys worth knowing generally pace their grip to be appropriate to the one they're receiving. Rules are slightly different in a business context where establishing dominance up front can be necessary, but a handshake should match the intensity with which you might grasp a buddy's shoulder in camaraderie. It's a friendly gesture, not a match of some kind.

Recently, though (in my lifetime even, I'm 25), the straight handshake has become increasingly rare in man-on-man handshaking. It seems like everyone has their own preference of fistbumping, slapping, or thumb-area-gripping. I don't like it, and it only makes for a weak handshake all around. Also, I don't know if I've ever engaged a female in anything but a regular handshake. I can't even remember an ironic fistbump.
posted by cmoj at 6:47 PM on November 21, 2009


I was also shocked to realize that men pretty much always reach around their butt to wipe; I usually wipe from the front, between my legs.

I did not know this until I was well into my 30s. So it goes.

Also, further to the blue balls-- it's about having an orgasm "in time"? That explains a lot, actually.
posted by jokeefe at 6:47 PM on November 21, 2009


Is there any analog to this in the female world?

OMG shoes. Totally cannot understand having a million pairs of shoes. If I could wear my comfy sneakers always at all times, I'd be happy.
posted by Melismata at 7:10 PM on November 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Someone waaay above mentioned how OP didn't ask for man-bits related answers and yet we seem to have devolved into this anyhow.

This just shows further proof that, whenever possible, we'll talk about our (totally awesome) junk. And yeah, I'll nth touching myself "just because."
posted by InsanePenguin at 7:24 PM on November 21, 2009


[look, nothing personal but this isn't a "please talk about your penis" thread. There is a metatalk thread, you can talk about your penis there.]
posted by jessamyn at 7:45 PM on November 21, 2009 [11 favorites]


Since we're apparently still here and repeating silly myths:

"Blue balls" is a work of fiction. It's something guys made up to guilt girls into sleeping with them. Sure it can be frustrating to get all worked up and then not get to have sex, but there is no physical pain involved, ever. That's just silly.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:11 PM on November 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


sorry if that appears to be "about my penis" but I was trying to debunk some silliness above.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:12 PM on November 21, 2009


"Blue balls" is a work of fiction. It's something guys made up to guilt girls into sleeping with them. Sure it can be frustrating to get all worked up and then not get to have sex, but there is no physical pain involved, ever. That's just silly.

As with so much here, this is another example of something being said as if it is 100% authoritative that just isn't true across the board. I'm happy for you that you don't suffer any ill effects from prolonged sexual frustration; others of us have not been so lucky, and the result can be quite amazingly painful and uncomfortable.

But even so, using that discomfort to guilt someone into sex is crappy behavior. Go jerk off or take a cold shower and a nap -- guilt sex is bad sex.
posted by Forktine at 8:15 PM on November 21, 2009


"Blue balls" is a work of fiction.

Wikipedia sez.
posted by cashman at 8:23 PM on November 21, 2009


I always thought the couch in the woman's bathroom was a holdover of the Fainting Couch.
posted by P.o.B. at 9:11 PM on November 21, 2009


What I got told was that the couch in the Women's room was for women who were suffering from menstrual cramps.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:05 PM on November 21, 2009


Blue balls is real, but you don't necessarily need a helper to cure it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:43 PM on November 21, 2009


"Blue balls" is a work of fiction. It's something guys made up to guilt girls into sleeping with them. Sure it can be frustrating to get all worked up and then not get to have sex, but there is no physical pain involved, ever. That's just silly.

Oh, how my balls wish this were true. The first time this happened to me I'd never heard of the condition. It was after an all-night makeout session (my first ever) and the pain was simply incredible. As others have said above, once you have blue balls, nothing can get rid of it other than time (and we're talking an hour at least, not just seconds or a few minutes).

I have to say it's kind of offensive to just flat out invalidate other people's experiences simply because it's never happened to you. Clearly people have been very unambiguously stating that this has happened to them and that it is terrible. I've experienced it a number of times, and never once have I ever used it to "guilt" a woman into having sex.

You're silly.
posted by Deathalicious at 11:00 PM on November 21, 2009 [14 favorites]


When asked to multiply something somewhat large, say 26 x 8, all of my male friend

Actually I've always done it by using factors of ten and then adding/subtracting the rest

So 26x8 = 26x10 - 26x2 = 260 - 52 = 208

I am a gent
posted by chalbe at 11:15 PM on November 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


A corollary of this is that guys, in general, don't tend to lose their keys, wallet or phone anywhere nearly as often as women do. Or at least, not amongst the people I know.

Total shenanigans! As a woman, my wallet's always in my back pocket, to the extent that I don't wear skirts or buy pants without back pockets anymore. Period. Anything else throws off the sense of balance that keeps me from losing things. Phone is usually in a specific pocket, and keys are often on a carabiner hooked to a belt loop. (And, I do the "wallet, keys, phone?" check about once every thirty seconds, though it's a ritual I picked up from an old boyfriend back in the days when I was young and still wore skirts and lost my wallet...) That way, if I leave the house without my satchel filled with womanly provisions, I'm not discombobulated all day. (Those provisions include, by the way, a knife, headlamp, tampons, spare unders, toothbrush, a comb, chapstick, hair rubber bands, reading material, about seven different pens, a notebook, a warm extra layer, two maps (my city, the adjoining one where I work), and usually a stainless steel mug with carabiner attached to my satchel.)
posted by soviet sleepover at 11:36 PM on November 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


soviet sleepover: you've just migrated to a more 'male' approach to where to put your stuff.

like, you won't wear skirts or pants without back pockets anymore? i can guarantee you that any line of male trousers or shorts without *at least* front & rear pockets on both sides will sit on the shelves longer than Virginia Woolfe's twin-with-elephantiasis.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:27 AM on November 22, 2009


"Men've got an unspoken telepathy."

Gunfight from Spaced
posted by Comrade_robot at 5:24 AM on November 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Has anyone mentioned the 'piss hard-on' phenomenon?
posted by birdwatcher at 7:09 AM on November 22, 2009


One thing that seems to fit the original question: urinals in men's rooms often have some sort of "target" -- either a rubber mat with rings marked up like a skeeball target, or a decal or something, to encourage good aim. Most of the urinals in the new Census Bureau building, for example, have a little bee decal -- and there it's useful information, because given the way the urinal is shaped, unless you pee at the bee, you get an enormous amount of backscatter...
posted by genehack at 7:28 AM on November 22, 2009


From hearing the sensation described, I would think that getting hit in the balls is a lot like the pain associated with the more extreme, not-getting-out-of-bed-today menstrual cramps, but even more intense because it kind of happens all at once instead of being drawn out over a few hours or days.

I wonder if it feels like getting an IUD in. I can't imagine of any way that could be confirmed, though.

Also: I totally navigate spatially, it's not just guys.
posted by you're a kitty! at 9:14 AM on November 22, 2009


Someone may already have said this, but even so it bears repeating:

The best men's rooms in the world are the one's with a little glass frame over the urinal where someone posts the front page and sports page of the daily paper.

No matter how run-down or upscale an establishment may be, a man reading the paper while peeing feels momentarily like a king.
posted by jefficator at 10:32 AM on November 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


If you ask men and women which animal they would rather have sex with (dolphin or chimp) if they absolutely had to all the men will say dolphin. Most women will say chimp.
posted by I Foody at 10:33 AM on November 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Works on me. I'll have to try that.
posted by cmoj at 10:40 AM on November 22, 2009


Wait. I mean... um... crap.

I mean I'll have to ask people about that.
posted by cmoj at 10:41 AM on November 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


On urinals:

They come in all shapes and sizes. Some are floor-length, others are wall-mounted, often at some arbitrary height that makes them slightly awkward to use; there's usually one or two at child height.

Urinals usually contain a blue plastic mat holding a scented puck (or "urinal cake"), but some urinals, usually in fancier establishments, are full of ice cubes. Some urinals flush automatically, be it by motion sensor or timer, and others have handles for flushing. The ones with the handles are rarely flushed, because ew, and are therefore often filled with stale urine and the smell of the room reflects that.

The typical Australian public restroom has a stainless steel communal trough, whereas the norm in Canada these days seems to be wall-mounted porcelain units, often divided by privacy panels (which double as splash guards).

In the days of cigarettes, urinals were often used as ashtrays. I'm pretty sure that means someone had to fish all the pee-soaked butts out of there several times a day.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:13 AM on November 22, 2009


Breast milk doesn't come out of one hole in the middle of the nipple like a bottle. It squirts out of the areola in multiple streams in different directions, like a lawn sprinkler.
posted by streetdreams at 11:17 AM on November 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


From what I (male) can tell, I am far from alone in this: my feet get REALLY hot at night, even in winter or with the air conditioning on. Often, they feel cold at first, but if I keep them under sheets and covers, it only takes about ten minutes before they heat up and make me uncomfortable. So, if it's cold, the only way I can sleep is to be totally covered except for me feet (and head). I arrange the sheets and covers so that my feet can stick out.

On the other hand, my wife's feet get really cold. So we have to keep the covers tucked in on her side and untucked on mine.

I have been a male for my entire life and only one of the things on Bondcliff's list rings true to me.

nthing that.

I always use the flap (and get annoyed if I have trouble finding it), am embarrassed if I fart, don't rate women that I pass in the street (though I am often attracted to them), don't want a flamethrower or gun (though I'm head-over-heals about the Oxford English Dictionary I got for my birthday!), wouldn't be a pilot or astronaut if you paid me, and like handjobs.
posted by grumblebee at 12:41 PM on November 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


As comedian Mitch Fatel put it, "Guys' nipples are merely show nipples; they are not hooked up."

Not that we don't appreciate the effort.


Mine are, fortunately! I've heard from many guys that theirs are not, but mine sure are a good time...
posted by darkshade at 12:46 PM on November 22, 2009


A female friend of mine somehow had this misconception that men dropped their pants and underwear to their ankles in order to use a urinal. I assured her that this is definitely not the case, since all those bare asses would result in a complete urinal etiquette implosion.
posted by Cody's Keeper at 12:55 PM on November 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


If you ask men and women which animal they would rather have sex with (dolphin or [Carl Sagan]) if they absolutely had to all the men will say dolphin. Most women will say [Carl Sagan].

Except this one. And the dolphin, that slut, refused to make up his mind.
A frustrated romance of Sagan's played a small role in Lilly's most famous dolphin study. ... Sagan tried to get [Margaret] Howe into bed. Howe rebuffed him, but the meeting had one result: Sagan introduced Howe to anthropologist Gregory Bateson, who was then running the St. Thomas facility. This led to a job and plunged Howe into one of the most unusual experiments of the 1960s.

In the summer of 1965, Howe lived in the company of "Peter," a male dolphin, 24 hours a day, six days a week in a simplified flooded house. There are surreal photographs of Howe working efficiently at a desk or chatting on the telephone, eyed curiously by a dolphin as her whole environment is sopping in 24 inches of water.

"A dolphin is more like a shadow than a roommate," Howe said. The thing would stay by her all day and never leave. She could talk on the phone for hours. The dolphin wouldn't get bored. It wouldn't leave. As weeks passed, Howe was subject to depression and crying jags. "I have found that during the day I will find any excuse to get out of the flooded room," she wrote in her diary. (Lilly meanwhile was contemplating a flooded car for the future bi-species society.)

Peter began exhibiting courting behavior. He lightly nibbled Howe's legs, getting erections, and rubbing against her ardently. As a matter of expediency, Howe took to giving the dolphin hand jobs. Peter would "reach some sort of orgasm, mouth open, eyes closed, body shaking, then his penis would relax and withdraw." Dolphin libidos being what they are, this had to be repeated two or three times; then, finally, the dolphin could concentrate on its lessons.

That made for a pretty good conversation stopper. Otherwise the experiment's results were debatable. It seemed that Peter learned to say "hello" and "ball" and parrot consonant sounds. When Howe asked Peter to get the ball, he would often get the cloth.

* * *

After this experiment, Sagan visited St. Thomas and played a game of catch with Peter. Sagan threw the ball to Peter, and Peter dove under it and batted it back with his snout. His aim was as accurate as a human's. Then, after a few volleys, the dolphin began returning the ball far to the side of Sagan. Peter was toying with Carl, performing an "experiment" of his own. Figuring that two can play that game, Sagan retrieved the ball one last time and held it, treading water.

For about a minute, both mammals stood their ground. Peter gave in. He swam into Sagan's side of the tank, circling him, repeatedly brushing past him. This puzzled Sagan. It didn't seem like the dolphin's tail flukes had brushed him. Then he realized the dolphin had a hard-on.

The frustrated triangle of Sagan, Howe, and Peter was worthy of Sartre. There was a further twist. Peter was one of Lilly's ex-actor dolphins. Sagan had been propositioned by Flipper.
posted by maudlin at 1:02 PM on November 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


Breast milk doesn't come out of one hole in the middle of the nipple like a bottle. It squirts out of the areola in multiple streams in different directions, like a lawn sprinkler.

What?!
posted by you're a kitty! at 1:49 PM on November 22, 2009


It squirts out of the areola in multiple streams in different directions, like a lawn sprinkler.

Totally true. I'm sure the internet can give you more details.
posted by jessamyn at 2:41 PM on November 22, 2009


Woah. Pregnancy is going to be quite a trip, when the time comes.
posted by you're a kitty! at 3:19 PM on November 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, not a spinning lawn sprinkler.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:05 PM on November 22, 2009 [8 favorites]


Unless you're in the habit of wearing those burlesque nipple tassles.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:03 PM on November 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


From what I (male) can tell, I am far from alone in this: my feet get REALLY hot at night, even in winter or with the air conditioning on. Often, they feel cold at first, but if I keep them under sheets and covers, it only takes about ten minutes before they heat up and make me uncomfortable. So, if it's cold, the only way I can sleep is to be totally covered except for me feet (and head). I arrange the sheets and covers so that my feet can stick out.

I'm a lady and do exactly the same thing. 'moonMan used to make a game out of throwing things on my feet in the morning and watching me kick them off in my sleep. Now I get up first, but yeah, after the first few minutes of sleep I've kicked the blankets off of my feet. Makes it hell to sleep in hotels where I have to yank up eight miles of sheet to uncover my feet.

I don't think this is a gender thing. I think it's a foot thing.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:41 PM on November 22, 2009


It squirts out of the areola in multiple streams in different directions, like a lawn sprinkler.

Do they make that chich-chich-chich-chich-chich sound too?
posted by Bonzai at 6:01 PM on November 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


This thread is filled to the brim with some of the most spurious nonsense I've ever seen on the green.

I can pee anytime, anywhere and in any state of arousal. I have proven this on many occasions.

I don't give a flying fuck about sunglasses.

I'd rather piss on myself than piss in the sink. I'm not a frat boy, thanks.

I'd never 'go feral' in my own home, regardless of how long I lived alone.

I don't size all women up, sexually. The thought of this is actually a little gross (there are some ugly, ugly people in the world, inside and out).

"Blue balls" is only fictitious to humans who have never owned a set of testicles.

You can do better than this, mefites. You're embarrassing yourselves.
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:48 AM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't size all women up, sexually. The thought of this is actually a little gross (there are some ugly, ugly people in the world, inside and out).

I think you might need to give that one a little more thought.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:31 AM on November 23, 2009 [9 favorites]


>I don't size all women up, sexually.

I think you might need to give that one a little more thought.


....I should think chuckdarwin knows his own mind well enough to give an accurate statement about it, don't you think so?

Look: some guys DO size lots of women up sexually. By the same token, some WOMEN size lots of MEN up sexually (raises hand a teeny bit). I wouldn't say it's so much a matter of gender, though, as it is libido. And everyone's got a different-sized libido.

Also, for most people the fleeting "wow, they're hot" thoughts they may have are just that -- fleeting -- and not long-standing thoughts. You acknowledge to yourself that someone is hot the same way that you acknowledge to yourself that it's cloudy today. Or that the coffee is a little too cool. Or that the bus is a little late. Or that the puppy someone's walking is cute.

But not all people do this. Which means -- not all men do this.

QED.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:05 AM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also to Faint of Butt above:

Huh.

Okay -- I have heard this about men and women and complaining about problems, and in some cases I agree with the "men complain because they're looking for a solution, women complain to vent" to an extent (allowing for variations, of course, because that's what you do).

But. I couldn't disagree with you more about the "therefore, don't complain to your guy." What's wrong with communicating with him FIRST instead, saying "listen, I just need to vent about something a little, I'm working on solving the problem myself so the only reason I'm telling you this is because I gotta unload, okay? Cool." and THEN complaining? Because that's what I've always done with my partners, and it worked out fine. He knew that just listening was "solving the problem" in and of itself, I felt supported, everyone wins.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:10 AM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I should think chuckdarwin knows his own mind well enough to give an accurate statement about it, don't you think so?

Read the next sentence, beyond the one you quoted. You know, the one where he says that he doesn't size them up sexually because so many are ugly, inside and out. That's where the funny part lies.
posted by Forktine at 6:11 AM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Read the next sentence, beyond the one you quoted.

My apologies; it wasn't clear what you were reacting to.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:18 AM on November 23, 2009


I see that a number of people disagree with my earlier conclusion, and that's fair. I'll admit that I was coming from a fairly bad place when I wrote that. So please help me out: When the situation arises, what should the man (me) do? How can I listen to the venting, refrain from trying to help, and still avoid that feeling of crushing impotence? Really, it's awful.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:49 AM on November 23, 2009


How can I listen to the venting, refrain from trying to help, and still avoid that feeling of crushing impotence? Really, it's awful.

Easy! Tell yourself that your listening is what she needs. That's it. By listening, and nothing else, you have helped her deal with what's bugging her! No further action needed! You are not impotent, you are helping simply by being there.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:05 AM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


When the situation arises, what should the man (me) do? How can I listen to the venting, refrain from trying to help, and still avoid that feeling of crushing impotence? Really, it's awful.

I also sometimes feel helpless when someone is complaining to me -- I wish I could figure out the one thing to say that would comfort them. What I've found that simply telling them THAT -- "I wish I could figure out the exact perfect thing to say that would make you feel better, and I feel so bad that I can't" -- works well. It lets them know you really WANT to help, and that you wish they weren't going through this in the first place; and in my case, when people have said similar things TO me, it was exactly what I needed to hear, just the affirmation that yes, the things I was going through WERE fucked up and I DIDN'T deserve them.

Because - while I can't speak for everyone, I think a lot of the motivation for "venting" is just seeking a sounding board that "okay, I actually have the situation under control, but I'm not the only one that thinks that it's fucked-up that I have to go through it in the first place, right? I'm not overreacting, right?" So someone confirming that "yes, you are correct that this situation is fucked up" is comforting.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:08 AM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


The way to get yeast infections is to wipe back-to-front. You can still wipe front-to-back this way.
Nope, this is the way to get bacterial infections. The way to get yeast infections is to be prone to yeast infections, to get one via thrush (this happens w/ breastfeeding a lot), or to have your vaginal ph balance messed up by antibiotics. Yeast infections are different from bacterial infections, and in fact the treatment for the one can lead to the other.

Just want to make sure everyone's getting the infections they want.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:13 AM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


"I've got the clap
and the blue balls too.

The clap don't hurt,
but the blueballs do."

I just wanted to add, in my official capacity as representative of human males, that this sink-peeing thing is totally not real. It's some kind of anti-man propaganda.

There are so many messed up stereotypes in this thread, I don't even know where to start. Here's a funny little story.

On a recent visit to Arizona State University's Nelson Fine Art Museum, I found a couch near the sink with a placard above it. The placard looked just like all the little placards hanging next to all the fine (and also pretty good) art. It even had an artist's name and a little explanation about how the artist discovered that the ladies had a very nice little couch in their restroom. Along with a coffee table, a television with a constant stream of Martha Stewart, coffee service, hors d'oeuvres, a drive-thru Starbucks and full-time massage therapist. Anyway, apparently the budding artist was somehow outraged that the men's didn't have the same amenities. And so he took a couch from the curator's office and put it in the men's room.

I thought it was kind of nice. I mean, I had the kids with me, and boy it would be real nice to plunk down on that couch and take a few minutes off. On the other hand, it was a public restroom (eww) with a couch in it. Sure, I get the whole whiny vibe: they get something nice that we don't get. I'd have to be close to dead to actually sit on a couch in the men's, though. The ladies can have it.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 11:42 AM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, the couch usually isn't right next to sinks and commodes in the bathroom environment proper. It's usually in a separate, often carpeted, room, sort of a lobby or lounge, and sometimes there are vanity seats with mirrors as well.

Where space doesn't allow that, you'd find it on the same kind of empty, clear wall where there might only be a towel dispenser.
posted by Miko at 11:47 AM on November 23, 2009


I've had a couple of amusing discussions with my wife recently about colors. First, my wife asked for a specific pink shirt. I didn't see it, and only noticed what I would call a reddish-fuschia color. When she pulled out the shirt that I had seen, I still didn't see it as any sort of pink, except possibly as a "deep pink" that really borders on being not-pink. The second was with my sister and the sister's boyfriend, who was looking for his luggage. He described it as orange, while my sister-in-law said it was red. We found it, and lo- I agreed that it was a dark orange. My wife agreed with her sister, calling it perhaps a very burnt orange, but definitely more of a red.

In short: I have different terms for the world of colors than my wife, and possibly the same is true for the majority of men and women. It still baffles me, but I realize it really shouldn't, as she will pick out a way in which my outfits are "off" that I don't comprehend. I bow to her understanding, so that I may avoid some unforeseen faux pas.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:49 AM on November 23, 2009


I think the colour naming problem isn't sex specific. See also.
posted by maudlin at 11:53 AM on November 23, 2009


Many men collect parts and materials that might be useful someday, or are materials in search of a project. This stuff may look like junk, but, really, you never know when that large spring or this half inch this slab of steel might come in useful.

I have collected over the years enough railroad ties, bits of track, plates, spikes, and fish plates to assemble my own six foot long branch line. The ties make a nifty compost pile. I am going to think of a use for the rest real soon.

The joys of owning tools is very much a man thing. Own a hammer drill, for instance, and you will be looking for things that need to have holes in them.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 12:02 PM on November 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Nope, that one is definitely not male specific. Not only do I have baskets and boxes full of nifty junk that might come in handy sometime, I inherited some of them from my mother. There, that's two women who appreciate just how handy a spring, a small steel plate with holes in it, funky nails and some wire can be. Granted, my garage would be far more manageable if I didn't have these packrat tendencies, but, oh well, they're genetic. Also, nothing makes me happier than new tools. I like hammering and sawing and sanding.
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:44 PM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Nope, that one is definitely not male specific.

I agree, that love for tools'n'junk is one stereotype that doesn't hold true by gender. I love my tools and have a list of tools I'd like to get in future. I've got a lot of sailing and sailmaking gear, some good knives, some woodworking tools, general handy-tools for around the house, etc. And I collect and keep odds and ends and things that might be useful one day, for practical or creative purposes. I've had to ride herd on this interest, and being a renter does help me keep a lid on it. One of my grandmothers had a similar thing for equipment and materials, as did one of my grandfathers.
posted by Miko at 1:00 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


The joys of owning tools is very much a man thing.

Uh, no. It's very much a "people who like playing with tools" thing. And both my SO and I collect random bits of junk that may come in handy or look cool or could be used to make something.
posted by desuetude at 1:30 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


1. Above all else: be assured that men, when they are alone together, do not act like men in sitcoms act. That's lazy writing. Not everything is a threat to our masculinity. You might find my previous AskMe relevant.

2. I remember being fascinated when a male friend filled me in on the "which way do you dress" thing. As in, which side you put 'it' when you put on your pants.

Things like this are ridiculous. Yes, we love talking about our penises, but just because there are phrases for things doesn't make them universal. W/r/t this assertion (left vs. right), some of us dress "up."

3. Men have to think about what pockets to put their keys, wallet, and phone in and they are very particular about what goes where.

OMG this this this. It cracks me up to watch Project Runway and see the judges swoon over pockets on womenswear, like it's the latest thing. I'll switch things around in my pockets over the course of a day to make sure I have left/right balance, I'm not sitting on anything electronic, I don't have anything too bulky in a front pocket if I have to go up the stairs, etc. Sometimes I'll bring a jacket with me even when it's not that cold because that means I have more pockets to carry things in. Since purses are frowned upon and backpacks can often be unwieldy (rush hour + backpack + subway = agony), there's a weird middle ground for carrying a certain amount of stuff that takes a ridiculous amount of forethought.
posted by kittyprecious at 1:34 PM on November 23, 2009


Wallet in back right pocket, unless I'm wearing a suit, in which case it's left breast pocket. Cell phone in front right. Keys in front left.

If you ever see me and my things are not in this order, KILL HIM, HE IS THE IMPOSTER.
posted by spaltavian at 3:50 PM on November 23, 2009 [8 favorites]


this girl loves her tools. and i think my habit of collecting potentially useful junk came from my grew-up-in-the-depression-era parents.

also, people who think women cannot handle complicated machinery have never tried to wrangle an old sewing machine.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:09 PM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm trying to think of a way to test the backlit scrotum / lava lamp theory without involving a second scrotum or a burnt buttcrack.
posted by vbfg at 6:42 AM on November 24, 2009


Every boyfriend I've ever had has a certain amount of... I wouldn't say color-blindness, perhaps, but more color generalization.

In college, I once stopped by the Registrar's office to pick up the new class catalogue. I asked the guy behind the counter for one, but before he handed it to me, he held it up and asked me what color it was.

"Purple," I said.

He laughed. When I asked what was so funny, he said that every guy he'd asked had said purple, and every girl had said lavender.
posted by dephlogisticated at 10:50 PM on November 24, 2009


every guy he'd asked had said purple, and every girl had said lavender.

Interesting. I myself had trouble learning that lavender colors weren't truly "purple." But I wonder about another possible explanation for women's identifying this color as "lavender" in this setting, and that's office work.

Office papers have really specific color names, and in particular, the layered sheets that used to be part of carbon-paper forms had even more specific names that often dictated what you did with each piece of the form. In the office, you didn't call the sheets "white," "orange," "yellow," and "purple," you called them "white," "goldenrod," "canary," and "lavender."

This may not account entirely for the difference, but it could just be that females were more attuned to these names because the types of jobs they had were more skewed to jobs that used forms like this, and specific language for the paper colors.

But it might also be that women are more socialized, in general, to be attuned to subtle variations in color. Certainly women receive many more messages about clothing and makeup choices from parents, teachers, and peers starting at a very early age, and social competence in highly gendered groups of girls often hinges on one's ability to select and differentiate among colors, and marketing materials take pains to brand and identify color choices, especially in clothing catalogs and makeup shade names.
posted by Miko at 6:29 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm a male and I've got an extremely good sense of color (I'm a painter), but I don't call them "lavender" and shit. That's ridiculous. Different lavenders are different colors. The same lavender is a different color next to an orange than it is surrounded by black. The perception of color is not a static thing. Like what most think of as a deep red or blood red is really a little bit purple.

I describe colors by their relation to primary or secondary colors and how "dirty" (brown) "light" or "gray" they are.

There are other named-color-benchmarks that I find useful. Maroon is a good one because there are a great many things around that are a dirty purplish red to some degree. From exposure, I know and can identify the names of colors of brands of paint, but that's less useful.

Cornflower, for example, would be a light, grayish blue. Cerulean is greener.
posted by cmoj at 12:48 PM on November 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


There are other named-color-benchmarks that I find useful.

Still just as subjective and arbitrary, though, isn't it? I mean, different cornflowers are also different colors, and Wikipedia says cerulean "may be applied to a range of colors from deep blue, sky-blue, bright blue or azure color through greenish blue colors.... The word is probably derived from the Latin word caeruleus, "dark blue, blue or blue-green", which in turn probably derives from caelulum, diminutive of caelum, "heaven, sky."

There are taxonomies of color in both art and science that produce some pretty good specificity, but they require learning a shared value - artists refer to color mixing in terms of "hue," "value," and "intensity" and "chroma," talk about "tints" and "shades" built from basic hues, etc. I think unless one is referencing within a system like this, it's hard to argue that any colloquial color names are wrong, exactly.
posted by Miko at 1:33 PM on November 25, 2009


I think we're saying the same thing.

Colloquial names aren't wrong, just inaccurate. What I describe is the same as talking about hue, value and intensity, I just avoid the jargon when there are perfectly equivalent words in common usage.

Maybe, if it's true that most men are colorblind (physically) to some degree, It's because I'm not at all, but my point was that I'm a male and I differentiate minutely between colors.
posted by cmoj at 2:48 PM on November 25, 2009


Colloquial names aren't wrong, just inaccurate. What I describe is the same as talking about hue, value and intensity, I just avoid the jargon when there are perfectly equivalent words in common usage.

Accurately isn't really the point. This is really a series of ontologies. "Cornflower blue" doesn't imply that all cornflowers are the same shade, it simply means that we've agreed that a shade of light blue can be mutually understood using the invocation of the color of a cornflower.

A particular color of blue-green is called teal, which actually derives from the color of the eyes of a type of duck called a teal, but most people just know that the word "teal" refers to a color that's darker than turquoise. (Turquoise as a stone is of course quite variant in shades, but the name "turquoise" as a color signifies a sort of blue-green that we can generally agree is more intense and less green than teal.)
posted by desuetude at 8:42 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


As a fellow painter, all this color nerdiness makes me grin like a crazy person. Did you folks have the 128-pack of crayola crayons, too? My biggest collection even had the glow-in-the-dark and fluorescent colors (my dad hooked up a blacklight just for these).

Blue green vs. green blue. My favorite was blue green.

Midnight blue. Reminds me of phthalo blue now.
posted by lilywing13 at 2:01 AM on November 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


"'Blue balls' is only fictitious to humans who have never owned a set of testicles."

I love reading something that says that I obviously know something by virtue of my anatomy which I don't, in fact, know. I was born with testicles, and have lived with my testicles for the last 35 years, but I did not instinctively know what a "drinking giraffe" was despite protestations that I clearly must know, and I didn't know until this thread that "blue balls" is a real phenomenon. Now I know, but knowing has nothing to do with me owning testicles, and everything to do with people discussing the phenomenon on AskMe.
posted by Bugbread at 3:40 PM on November 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Accurately isn't really the point. This is really a series of ontologies.

So the idea is that women are more inclined in some way to map to the ontology and men would either describe colors in relative terms or hardly at all?

I'd taken the whole thing to mean that women were able to perceive colors more accurately, or that men were even, on average, physically less capable of color differentiation. I don't know how true any of that is. I was just saying that, from what I can tell, my (male) sense of color is about as good as it gets without being one of those super-differentiators.
posted by cmoj at 10:08 AM on November 27, 2009


I'd taken the whole thing to mean that women were able to perceive colors more accurately, or that men were even, on average, physically less capable of color differentiation. I don't know how true any of that is.

Well, men are several times more likely to be colorblind to some degree, so there's that.

(Other than that, I think the idea that "men don't know colors" is kind of dumb, though. I think we mostly couldn't give a shit which sweater you wear, just put it on so we can go already.)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:57 AM on November 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd taken the whole thing to mean that women were able to perceive colors more accurately,

I'm arguing against that. I'm arguing that women are much more socialized to be aware of the subtle gradations of color, and motivated by those socializing processes to learn to agree on shared terms for colors more often than men.
posted by Miko at 10:58 AM on November 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm arguing that women are much more socialized to be aware of the subtle gradations of color, and motivated by those socializing processes to learn to agree on shared terms for colors more often than men.

I think it's an even more context-specific than that. The subtle gradations of pastel lavenderish shades in knitted fabric is something relatively few men are going to be socialized into seeing, while those same men might well be socialized to see the equally subtle gradations in the six or seven shades of metallic orange used on 1960s muscle cars, for example.

Aside from the issue of color blindness, I'm firmly in the socialization camp on this.
posted by Forktine at 11:13 AM on November 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


That's a really good point, Forktine. My dad builds models and runs model trains, and since he's always painted his own models I've noticed that he is very much attuned to color choices and mixing exact matches, etc. He certainly has no disabilities with regard to color, and in fact there are entire articles in his "Model Railroader" magazines about making realistic waterfalls, grass, snow, etc. devoted to the finest gradations of color.
posted by Miko at 2:42 PM on November 28, 2009


We all want monkey butlers.
posted by milarepa at 6:23 AM on December 17, 2009


Not true milrepa. The gorilla is the butler and the monkey is the batman. I'm not sure who will be the majordomo, though. I'll have to think about that.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 7:54 AM on December 17, 2009


I don't know if this has been mentioned yet, but I recently learned from my husband that men shake hands REALLY hard. This blew my mind and made me reconsider my handshake and the way men have shaken my hand since. As a woman I had never considered this at all. Now I often try to shake a mans hand hard, because I don't think they expect women to.
posted by LZel at 6:09 PM on February 22, 2010


Not all men shake hands HARD. The ones that do are generally either salesmen or assholes.
posted by cmoj at 5:43 PM on February 23, 2010


Not all men shake hands hard. In fact, until last December I thought hard hand-shakes were largely a thing of myth. Then I was hanging out with my brother, and a guy shook hands with both of us.

"Ow." My (much smaller) brother said. "That guy had a really strong handshake!"

The man's handshake with me had been gentle. This was somewhat upsetting to me: I felt that if somebody was going to play the handcrushing game with my brother, he should also play the handcrushing game with the larger Judo light heavyweight standing right next to him.

So in short: Some men try to crush the hands of other men in a sort of dominance game. They apparently only do this to some people. It's kind of a jerk's game.

I would strongly urge you not to try to play the handcrushing game.
posted by Comrade_robot at 7:32 PM on February 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I felt that if somebody was going to play the handcrushing game with my brother, he should also play the handcrushing game with the larger Judo light heavyweight standing right next to him.

He was acquiescing to your superiority while asserting his dominance over the person who he perceived as weak/inferior to him.

This species of male asshole is unfortunately common in most business settings. Often seen wearing a bluetooth headset and yelling at baristas.
posted by naju at 7:59 AM on February 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think it's an even more context-specific than that. The subtle gradations of pastel lavenderish shades in knitted fabric is something relatively few men are going to be socialized into seeing, while those same men might well be socialized to see the equally subtle gradations in the six or seven shades of metallic orange used on 1960s muscle cars, for example.

Aside from the issue of color blindness, I'm firmly in the socialization camp on this.


That seems like a bit of a cop out (for members of either sex). In picking up a second set of drapes, I noted that the shade was different and my g/f at the time took this tone (*sigh*) that said (along with her saying so) that not only was I wrong but being a man I just obviously couldn't tell the difference and shouldn't try. She made the mistake of telling this terribly amusing story to her girlfriends who were over shortly after the trip but before comparing... and... oops. Different dye lots.

Of course, I could be shit with metallic car shades. I have no idea.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:17 PM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Re: the blueballs thing. My teenage boyfriend used to swear that it was incredibly painful for him to get aroused and not to orgasm. For years I've been under the impression that he was just manipulating me to have sex... but it was true?

Have you noticed all the men saying how much better they are at hand-jobs than their female partners?

These threads go together.
posted by endless_forms at 9:40 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


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