Man Guilt

There is a guilt that comes with being a man.  Not only do women have a tougher time than me, but I get a strong impression that I’m a member of the gender that is blame for her hardships.

In fairness though, I didn’t ask for it.  It was my parents’ fault.  Actually, it was my Dad's fault.  He gave me his ‘Y’ chromosome rather than his ‘X’ chromosome.

You see! Men are the ones to blame - again.  Women get it tough, and it’s the man’s fault.

Hence, I have this guilt about being luckier than 50% of the Australian population because I am male.  Well actually, that would be guilt about being among the minority gender because there are more women than men!  And the preponderance of women to men grows with age.

Why are there more women than men?

Because women tend to live longer.  About 5 years on average in Australia, but the result is observed widely in the world (see figure).

And so men are the lucky ones again - men get to choose from more potential partners than do women.

Hang on though.  If women are living longer on average than men, does that not count as being luckier than men?

If I was given the choice of living five more years or getting more choice of partners, I think I would go for the five extra years thank you very much.

In fact, I'd choose five more years of life over more chance of a boardroom seat which are typically occupied by men rather than women.

Hey, maybe the boardroom is the problem?  Maybe while members of the board might be winners in the money and social status stakes, they lose out on the life stakes. 

Seems dubious given that most men - just like most women - never make it to the boardroom.  That is, what happens in the distant stratosphere of the corporate world is unlikely to explain what is happening at the population level.

However, it certainly is true that where you work can kill you.  Every year, a number of people die while working.  

But get this, those unfortunates who die working, 95% of them are men!  This result is true of most nations, not just Australia.

Maybe men make poor work choices.  I mean, it is their choice to work in dangerous professions, right? 

But wait, if men make choices to work in dangerous professions, and women want the right to make the same choices as men, why are they not lining up to take up a 50% share of the jobs that are downright dangerous? 

I obviously do not want anyone to die, but if there have to be jobs that lead to deaths, should we not have equal representation in those jobs so that women share an equal burden with men?

Hmm, maybe it’s not so clear cut.  I live a shorter life than she does, and I get a higher chance of dying on the job than she does.

However, as a man, I may have a better chance of gaining a coveted seat in the boardroom.  A rather miniscule better chance it must be admitted as those boardroom seats are downright scarce altogether.

In review then, the picture is unclear.  I am doubtful about whether I am luckier than women in an overall sense.  I am pretty sure I am not to blame.  But I am certain that I have more guilt about my gender than she does!

Fatherhood Priorities Quiz

Do you have the right priorities as a dad? Take the following quiz and find out.
Multiple Choice
(1)   Consider the last few Saturday afternoons. Did you spend them...
(a)      …at work (1 mark)
(b)      …at the pub with your mates? (-4 marks)
(c)      …actively engaged in a sport or hobby alone or with your mates? (1 mark)
(d)     …at home with your kids? (1 mark)
(e)      …actively engaged in a sport or hobby with your kids? (4 marks)
(2)   When you first come home from work at night do you...
(a)    …grab a beer from the fridge, sit on the sofa, and flick on the TV? (0 marks)
(b)   …continue working on the report for the meeting tomorrow morning? (1 mark)
(c)    …talk with your kids about their day and yours? (2 marks)
(d)   …help your kids with their homework? (2 marks)
(e)    (c) and (d) above (4 marks)
(3)   If your child has a sporting match at 9 am on a Saturday morning, do you...
(a)      …go to work (1 mark)
(b)      …sleep in and let the missus take them? (-2 marks)
(c)      …go to the match with your missus? (1 mark)
(d)     …go to the match and let your missus sleep in? (2 marks)
(e)      … go to the match an hour early because you’re the coach? (4 marks)
Short Answer
(4)   What are the names of your children’s school teachers? (2 points per child)
(5)   What shoe size do each of your children wear? (2 points per child)
(6)   What are the names of your children’s best friends? (1 point per friend)
(7)   What is the name of your family GP? (2 points)

Interpreting your score:
20 +: Congratulations! You’ll go to your deathbed knowing that you’ve lived a life well spent raising your children to be happy, healthy, successful adults.
11-19: You probably live a balanced life, where your career and your role as a father mean a lot to you. 
 5-10: Plenty of room for improvement. There’s still time to get your priorities in order.
 0-1:  You’re going to be the guy on his deathbed questioning his priorities.

Come Fly the (Not So) Friendly Skies

Get this. Many airlines will not allow an unaccompanied minor to be seated next to a man, even if he is a father. Mirko Fischer was asked to change seats with his wife, who was pregnant and had asked for an aisle seat for more comfort. The problem? This left Mr Fischer seated next to an unaccompanied minor, which was a no, no according to company policy, so Ms Fischer had to switch to the middle seat before the plane could take off.
Mr Fischer sued on the basis of sex discrimination, and was awarded £2161 in court costs and £750 in damages. BA subsequently changed its seating policy. In turns out that Mr Fischer was not alone. Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, was also asked to switch seats on a BA flight, even though he was seated with his own children! One of his kids had to switch seats with him to occupy a seat next to an unaccompanied minor. Qantas and Air New Zealand have admitted to having similar policies in the past.
Now regardless of the assumptions and good intent on which this policy is, no doubt, based, it is patently absurd.  An airline flight is the last place a pervert would be able to molest a child.  In a plane? 10,000 meters above the earth?  Toilets the size of matchboxes, and uniformed flight attendants endlessly circulating about the cabin? So the policy is asinine on the face of it.  But the implication is obvious.  Men can’t be trusted.  Even a father of four young children is deemed, by his gender alone, to be more of a risk than a single, childless woman with a nose ring and a rather unusual teeth to tattoo ratio. He is a potential molester; she is not.