It’s not the menu that’s threatening women’s longevity, it’s the men

Published 8:51 am Friday, June 29, 2012

I read several news reports recently about a study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington and the Imperial College in London that says while women are still expected to live longer than men, the gap is closing. The study concludes that life expectancy for women in Georgia increased by a little less than three years, while men increased more than five-and-a-half years.

Experts think some of the problem may be due to women having “limited culinary options,” especially those who live in some of the smaller counties in Georgia. I will be the first to tell you that I am no expert on culinary options. I have no culinary options (except to make an embarrassing scene if I am served broccoli). But having grown up in a family that deep-fried anything that moved, I think this is too simplistic an answer as to what is shortening (no pun intended) women’s life expectancy.

The experts took 20 years to reach their conclusions. With all due respect, I can tell them in two seconds it is not the menu that is the problem. It is the men. Blame the male of the species for driving women to an early grave. Men can be worse for a woman’s health than a triple cheeseburger with a side order of fries.

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Men were born irritating. We can’t help it. It is in our genes. Men have short attention spans which means we will surf through 187 channels several times a night even though we have no idea what we are looking for. That drives women crazy. They don’t understand men are hunters genetically and hunting something worthwhile to watch on TV is much less dangerous than hunting saber-toothed tigers. That is one reason men are living longer.

And then, there is our hearing problem. Men can’t watch television unless the sound is akin to the roar of a 747. That means we don’t hear women when they tell us about some big sale coming up. Instead, we go to the store and pay retail, one day before the item goes on sale for half-price. That kind of behavior is very stressful to women.

Men never ask directions when they are lost, which might be the biggest reason why women are not living longer. It does something dreadful to a woman’s nervous system that when we men are lost we refuse to pull into a service station and ask for directions. Get real.

In the first place, real men don’t use road maps. When our ancestors came from Siberia to North America some 16,500 years ago, they did not have the benefit of road maps or GPS. They certainly didn’t have service stations. They just crossed the Bering Bridge and hung a left at Alaska. That was when women first began to feel real stress in their lives, because the men were really heading for Houston and were too proud to admit they were lost. They claimed they intended to go to Alaska all the time.

If our ancestors could make it from Asia to America without asking directions, it would stand that we men have inherited the ability to get from Rincon to Roopville by following the path of the sun. Sadly, there is no explaining that remarkable skill set to the woman in the passenger seat holding the road map and doing a slow burn because you turned on the wrong road about 10 miles ago and are headed for Ray City instead.

Another likely cause of women’s stress is that men don’t like using drinking glasses any better than we like road maps. We like to swig our milk and our orange juice straight out of the bottle. Drinking out of the bottle saves wear and tear on dishes and prevents the spread of germs. That is because the germs remain on the bottle and are not spread to the drinking glasses. Sometimes, we men have to think of everything, hygienically-speaking.

Men are living longer because we don’t sweat the small stuff. And most everything, except college football and the Masters, is small stuff to us. As for those folks who are analyzing women’s longevity issues, they need to understand that cutting out M&M’s is not going to solve the problem of women living longer. What the experts need to focus on is getting men to use road maps. As we say in the health metrics and evaluation game — fat chance of that happening.

You can reach Dick Yarbrough at or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139.