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Tuesday
Oct122010

The Turtle

Some men are like turtles.
 
There is a protective shell covering the more squishy parts of their anatomy and they have a tendency to hide when company arrives. But I notice that turtles live longer than the more capricious members of the animal kingdom. For example, mayflies flit about like there is no tomorrow, which for them, there isn't.
 
"Live with abandon," they say. "Leave the ice cream on the counter! Spend the credit cards to the max! Fly in rough neighborhoods!"
 
Turtles may lead a decidedly more solitary existence but they get more of it (64,000 times more).
 
I have never heard a clutch of females of any species haranguing tortoises for their reclusive ways, though I will confess I am not fluent in reptilian tongues. Turtles are ok with who they are and no one seems to belittle them or prod them into therapy.
 
So why are human women discontent with husbands who withdraw into their shells? I know I have wasted a lot of perfectly good adrenaline getting mad at John for sneaking past his adorable family to go play video games. Wordwarp vs. warm blooded children? No contest in my book.
 
But then some researcher found out that being with people can actually be a stresser for males. (I think he fudged the data to get his own wife to leave him alone with his X-box.) Even John Gray says it's true, and he told me his book has sold more copies than any non fiction title after the Bible. So he must know a thing or two, about marketing if not male tendencies.
 
John (that's Gray, not Odhner) says it has to do with hormone levels. Two things raise testosterone levels for men: fighting dragons and sitting on the couch. Testosterone reduces stress. If our particular household runs out of dragons, or blown fuses, or mysterious nocturnal noises, John (that's Odhner, not Gray) needs to replenish his supply by doing absolutely nothing, which is camouflaged by sitting in front of an LCD screen with glassy eyes at midnight.
 
At least I know where to find him, which is more than I can say for the mayfly.