The never-ending war between the sexes

There’s a new babysitting service available in Germany. For 10 euros — about 16 bucks Canadian — housewives bent on shopping can drop off their charges at the Nox Bar in downtown Hamburg. The deposit buys the women a few uninterrupted hours in the boutiques, while their “responsibilities” are treated to two beers, a meal and unlimited televised sports on the big screens mounted over the bar.

Obviously we’re not talking about the ladies’ children here. We’re talking about their mates. Men hate shopping — and women hate shopping when they’re saddled with a grumpy spouse in tow. Solution: park the lug in a sports bar. Everybody’s happy.

It’s simply a kindergarten for male grownups. It’s also graphic proof that men indeed are from Mars, women from Venus and seldom will their intergalactic paths commingle.

Men and women really are different, you know. Screw all that Alan Alda-sensitive-caring-male bushwa. Men and women are like the poles of a magnet — constantly pushing in equal but opposite directions.

My partner recently went away on a 10-day trip. I knew there’d be trouble when she got back. Sure enough. Not two minutes in the door and she’s muttering about a few emptbean tins on the kitchen counter, whiskers in the bathroom sink and a high-tide mark on the bathtub that looks like one of the rings of Saturn. Talk about neurotic. It pains me to say this, but women just aren’t practical.

Why should I make the bed every morning when I know I’m just going to have to unmake it at the end of the day? What’s the point of wasting hot water to do dishes after breakfast, lunch and dinner when I can just let pile ’em up and do them all in one marathon session Saturday afternoon? Okay, Saturday afternoon and evening?

Why doesn’t everyone hang undershorts on the lampshade if you know you’re going to wear them the next day? It makes them easy to find, plus they’re warm when you put them on.

In any case, it’s not my fault. I have an untreatable medical condition: I’m a man. Which means besides having two or three gender-specific anatomical doodads, I am mentally programmed differently than women. All men are, according to Michael Gurian. He’s a social philosopher who’s just published a book called What Could He Be Thinking? How a Man’s Mind Really Works.

Gurian says my brain simply doesn’t take in sensory details as efficiently as a woman’s. In other words, it’s not that I’m a slob; I literally do not SEE that smear of peanut butter on the fridge door or yesterday’s sweat socks draped across the chesterfield.

I’m at a chemical disadvantage too. Gurian claims that the male brain secretes only a tiny dribble of a powerful bonding chemical called oxytocin. Women’s brains are aslosh with the stuff. Oxytocin deprivation explains why men shy away from touchy-feely conversations. And it’s probably also why most of us would prefer a prostate exam conducted by a doctor wearing a hockey glove over the ordeal of sitting through one episode of Oprah.

Oxytocin isn’t the only chemical we get short-changed on. Gurian says men’s bodies produce less serotonin than women. That’s why we need more of what he calls “mindless” distractions to relax, like Monday Night Football and Schwarzenegger flicks.

Does Gurian expect his book to change Male Pattern Dumbness? No. He sees no future there. His book is an attempt to help women better understand the Homer Simpson in their life.

“Men get this already,” says Gurian. “They are living this brain but don’t have the conscious language to explain it.”

Oh, I don’t know. I thought George Burns nailed it pretty good. He said, “There will always be a battle between the sexes because men and women want different things.

“Men want women — and women want men.”