Dave Barry’s Guys vs. Men is a humorous essay that describes the major characteristics of “guyhood” even though he admits he can’t define exactly what it means to be a ‘guy’. In the essay, Barry uses plenty of gender stereotypes of men, guys, and women. His take on the existence of gender is comical. For instance, he says that “If God did not want us to make gender-based generalizations, She would not have given us genders”. Barry explains that ‘man’ sounds like a very serious and important word when it “primarily consists of possessing a set of minor and frequently unreliable organs”. There is another way in looking at males than just “aggressive, macho dominators”. For example, Dave Barry states that guys like neat stuff. Neat stuff includes “mechanical and unnecessarily complex”. The example he uses is his computer. Barry has the latest model and exaggerates that it is “capable of supervising the entire U.S. air-defense apparatus while processing the tax return of every resident in Ohio”. Yet, soon after a new computer model is released, he will upgrade to this newer version just because he is a guy and that is the guy thing to do. Another characteristic Dave mentions in his essay is that guys like really pointless challenges. Guys tend to have to be better than everyone else. They are competitive human beings who have to outdo each other in everything. The example he gives is that he overheard a coworker talking about an article in the newspaper that was about a football player being able to run the forty-yard dash in 4.38 seconds. His coworkers all went out to the park on company time to see who could beat the time. He overheard one of the guys say his time was 5.75 and Barry said that he could beat that time. Barry made a fool of himself because he popped his hamstring while running.
On a more serious note, Deborah Tanner’s Cross Talk is more informational than comical. In her essay, Tanner talks about the source of gender differences, cross-gender communication in the work-place and how to handle meetings. Tanner compares boys and girls in their early years. She explains that girls tend to play with indoors with a small group or just one-on-one. A girl’s best friend is the center or her social life. They talk a lot and exchange many secrets. Boys tend to play outside in large groups. Boys usually engage in competitive games such as sports.
Deborah Tanner states that “men are inclined to continue to jockey for position, trying to resist following orders as much as possible”, while women do what they think their bosses want, whether they are ordered to do so or not. Tanner explains that women who are in higher positions than mean tend to give orders as a suggestion. For example, instead of saying “Take out the trash.” they usually say “Would you mind taking out the trash? I’d greatly appreciate it.” Women assume they are respected because of their authority and find their requests misunderstood by male workers. Women that have male bosses prefer to be asked than ordered around. Women are accused of being manipulative when making indirect request and are accused of being aggressive when making direct requests.
My use of language definitely hinders me. I tend to use an apologetic language. As a woman, I can be shy and very modest. This hinders me because I never get what I really want. Like in Tanner’s essay, sometimes being in a higher position or being a leader of men can be difficult because requests can be misunderstood and not respected.