A woman’s guide to the jungle
As I approached the tram stop I saw two guys with their caps on backwards at 45 degrees to their shoulders and their jeans halfway down their buttocks.
One of them was balanced between the back of the tram shelter and the wall behind it, with a foot on each and about a metre off the ground.
He exuded energy. Spare energy.
When I drew near, he jumped down from the wall with feline agility and began to move around. This allowed me to identify him as one of the type of men who walk around as if there is a thin piece of balsa wood affixed between their upper thighs. This imaginary piece of wood forces them to walk with their thighs 10-15 cm apart and their reproductive organs permanently thrust forward.
It is as if they expect that at any moment, and at very many moments, they will be called on to commence coitus and they don’t want to be wasting any time on the back swing. I gave them a wide berth.
Like hunters learning to track, like fishermen confidently proclaiming what is and is not a good eating fish, women build up know-how about breeds of men. I reflected on how much knowledge about men a woman could build up over the decades.
How little we know at the outset. How the ability to size up a line up evolves most richly in the courting phase or phases of life, and how it is also never more valuable than in that phase.
On reflection, it seemed ironic that in the ordinary picket fence course of events, just when a woman’s know-how about the breeds peaks, its application largely ceases – or is expected to. It is as if just when a woman has really learnt to shoot, her license is revoked.
The hunter and the fisherman are passing on their know-how, more than likely to their offspring. Not so with women’s know-how about men. There are a few impediments to such knowledge transfer.
First, the average youth cannot conceive that their elders know anything useful about the opposite sex. Second, in the unlikely event that such knowledge seems possible, the appeal of discussing it with our elders ranks right after the appeal of slamming your hand in a car door.
There is an opening here for a field guide - a trusty companion for anyone seeking to identify the various breeds of men, and particularly for those involved in courting. The principal difficulty with such a guide is that one woman’s divorcee is another woman’s fiancée. Accordingly some entries may prove contentious.
As a result the guide would need to function as a reference book rather than a rule book.
The scope of the work calls for a collaborative effort. But to get the ball rolling I have commenced drafting the first few entries – each of which concerns a common breed that warrants caution.
First, The Caveman: A breed that communicates through physicality. By this I don’t mean they study dance or are skilled at massage. I also don’t necessarily mean men who like fighting. I mean the type that punches their best friend to say hello. Who consistently confuse their knuckles with their tongue. It is proposed that this type of confusion is usually the tip of their confusion iceberg.
Next we could include the mammone – which is a term taken from the Italian to refer to those men who are tied to their mother’s apron strings. I’m not going to comment on why this word originated in Italy, but you could just ask any Italian girl. Your ears are the surest protection against the mammone, for the best you can do is be alert for the key warning clauses, which include: “My mother has always wanted” and especially “My mother doesn’t like it when I…”.
Maternal respect is vital but the mention of a man’s mother in any substantive way during courting is a warning. Except in the case of younger men when you are talking about a “*@!# I think that’s my mother, I thought she was at work.”
The next breed of note is the Motorist. He is the type that manages to drop the type of car they drive into the conversation when chatting someone up, or otherwise endeavouring to impress.
This is a major red light. An exception to this is when it is done for comic purposes, for example, I once met a guy who went into detail to explain to me that he drove a 1992 panel van which could be started with a screwdriver and that his spare key was a teaspoon.
The final breed for today is the Groomer. A woman needs to exercise caution with a man who far outstrips her in terms of personal grooming knowledge, investment or effort. Perhaps you are a scruffy lass in need of a personal grooming role model and a partner. In which case, I may do you a disservice. But just remember that while it is a wonderful thing for a man to come out of the closet, it is not such a wonderful thing to be the woman who is unwittingly banging her head on that closet.
The foregoing is a tiny sample of possible entries and arguably a rather negative one. Yet the slant seems warranted in the same way an early guide to the jungle might be expected to deal with the tiger before the marmoset.
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