By David Shapiro

Saturday, December 7, 1996

Don’t try to tease
women about weight

Sadly, I've learned most of what I know about women from the daily pop psychology feature on the radio.

I just found out, for instance, that men and women have different concepts of humor. Men use humor aggressively like a weapon. That's incomprehensible to women, who are just too literal-minded and use humor mainly to giggle about men.

Men are always joshing each other about balding heads, expanding waistlines and incompetent athletic ability. Try telling a woman that she's getting thin on the top, thick around the middle and throws like a girl.

A writer was outside my office showing off to the ladies by making idiotic scissors motions with his fingers. "It's hard because your brain doesn't want to do it," he boasted.

I needled, "I guess the fact that you can do it confirms that you don't have much of a brain."

He gave a short laugh and stomped off. Later I got an e-mail from him lightly suggesting that my column represents the dabblings of a dilettante and doesn't measure up to his "professional" work.

The innocent way he worded it made it impossible to retaliate overtly. All I could do was admire his comeback and stomp around.

That same day I noticed a woman co-worker was using a plastic diaper bag as a purse. This was too good. I opened with a jab about how her green bag didn't match her purple outfit.

She responded with her big brown eyes. Looking terribly hurt, they said, "Here I am minding my own business, not bothering you, and for no reason you viciously attack me. Why are men such beasts?"

Talk about sucking the fun out of a situation.

I had to go to the Big Island last week. A French gentleman ahead of me at the car rental counter obviously didn't understand a word the rental woman was saying. He smiled apologetically. She cranked up the volume.

"Will you drop the car in Hilo or Kona?"



I couldn't resist. "I don't think the problem is his hearing," I said.


On my flight home, an older guy was having trouble stuffing his bag into the overhead bin. A flight attendant told him, "You can't put the bag in there. It doesn't fit."

"If there was room, it would fit," he responded with perfect logic.

"That's my point," she said. "There's no room so it doesn't fit."

"It would fit if there was room."

This went on another half-dozen rounds. The agitated flight attendant yelled into one of his ears while his wife elbowed his ribs and shouted into his other ear to stop disgracing himself. The guy's grin was wide. He was jerking around two humorless women at once and loving it.

The humor gap makes problem-solving in the office a challenge.

A fellow who sits near the women's restroom complained about the odors getting into the air vents over his desk. He demanded that I act.

If it was the men's room, I'd send in a can of Lysol with a joke about the odious management chore confronting me. But with women, that could cost me my life.

The serious approach wasn't much of an option either. I couldn't very well march in there and lecture, "Now see here, Madam . . ."

So how did I get out of it? Easy. I insulted the big sensitive schnozzle of the guy who had griped and walked away from the whole thing.

David Shapiro is managing editor of the Star-Bulletin.
He can be reached by e-mail at
Volcanic Ash runs every Saturday in the Star-Bulletin.

Previous Volcanic Ash columns

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