New Man's resident comedy writer explains chick flicks, shopping, menopause and childbirth. Be afraid ... be very afraid.

After years of exhaustive research, scientists have recently concluded that, due to a bunch of comp-licated factors involving X and Y chromosomes, men and women have completely different genders.

The full story was published in the October edition of a medical journal called Duh!

I, for one, am tired of these periodic taxpayer-funded "studies" that "discover" glaringly obvious facts. I don't need researchers to tell me that women think differently than men ... or that a dozen Winchell's donuts does not constitute a balanced breakfast (unless you have an even mix of chocolate and maple).

In an effort to provide readers with some truly useful information, with no public funding involved, I hereby submit to you my own findings based on 23 years of empirical research involving my wife.

Here are the 12 main things I know about women:

ONE: When you are getting dressed to go out on a date with your wife, and you are pulling on what you believe to be a perfectly appropriate shirt, and your wife says, "Oh, you weren't planning on wearing that were you?" the only appropriate response is, "Uh, no, I just wanted to air it out."

While you may labor under the illusion that you are a competent adult male who is capable of choosing his own attire, your wife understands that you are a fashion-impaired ignoramus who desperately needs apparel guidance. She also views you as an opportunity to continue engaging in a pastime she enjoyed as a child--dressing up her dolls.

To her, you are a gigantic "Ken" doll (albeit with more parts). On the plus side, if your spouse gets to dress you up for a date, she will likely find you so adorable she will want to remove those clothes from you later that night. So by all means let her choose your clothing.

TWO: Women are permitted to make impulse purchases; men are not. Women can go to a craft fair and buy an artsy item to hang on the wall--perhaps a wooden Uncle Sam sculpture made from a weathered piece of fence--even though that item was not on the shopping list.

However, if a guy makes an impulse purchase of an item that would be perfect for one of his colleagues at the office--for example, a charming rustic wooden sign that reads "Your village called; their idiot is missing"--his wife will mutter something about "flushing money down the toilet."

And if a husband makes a further impulse purchase later that week, such as a new PT Cruiser, his wife will quite often become downright snippy. Furthermore, for some reason these male shopping whims tend to make your spouse less romantically inclined for at least a couple of days, even if the PT Cruiser has an exceptional stereo system and, after all, she always said she likes music. So avoid impulse purchases.

THREE: Women are risk-averse and overly concerned about peripheral details, especially when it comes to sex. For example, if a guy pulls his wife close and whispers in her ear, "Give me one reason why I shouldn't make passionate love to you at this moment," his wife will likely reply: "Well, we really haven't thought through the implications of potentially having another child at this point in our lives. Plus, we are standing in the grocery aisle."

FOUR: If you do the dishes, your wife will inexplicably find you irresistibly cute and will want to make out with you. I suspect that when the guys at the Palmolive research lab created their "new and improved" dishwashing soap, they loaded it up with pheromones.

FIVE: While men enjoy normal movies involving submarines, explosions and daring rescues, women prefer movies involving British actors, shrubbery and agonizingly slow plots. And they want you to watch these movies with them.

The only benefit to these movies is that your spouse will be all weepy and emotional and want to be hugged. This can lead to a romantic interlude if you can avoid slipping into a shrubbery-induced coma before the movie is over.

SIX: If your wife asks you to go to the mall with her, what she really means is that she wants you to go look at the shoes she is not going to buy, the dress she is going to decide against and the several purses she analyzes but rejects.

She calls this "shopping." To you, the term "shopping" conjures up an image of actually handing money to a clerk and bringing home a bag of stuff. If you mention this to your wife, she will give you a bemused smile and patiently explain that you know nothing about shopping.

SEVEN: If your wife reluctantly agrees to go to an air show with you, and one of the main events involves a helicopter dropping an Oldsmobile several hundred feet onto the tarmac in a metal-crushing, glass-smashing spectacle of awesome destruction, your wife will look at you and say, "I don't get it."

And, when you attempt to explain why it was one of the coolest things you have ever seen in your life, and how you would give your right nostril to see them drop a HUMMER, especially if it burst into flames on impact, and how your dream job would be piloting the helicopter that dropped vehicles to the unyielding pavement, your wife will reply, "I still don't get it."

And then she will say that you owe her three movies involving British actors and shrubbery. At this point, it is OK to weep.

EIGHT: When two pregnant women are visiting, and pregnant woman No. 1 says: "I can't believe I've put on 39 pounds. I feel like a blimp. How about you?" And pregnant woman No. 2 says: "Forty-five pounds. I feel like one of those huge sea lions you see on those nature shows."

If, while they are laughing together, you chime in by saying, "I guess it is pretty amazing how much weight women put on during pregnancy," pregnant woman No. 1 will say, "How DARE you," and pregnant woman No. 2 will say, "SHOOT HIM!"

It is safer to say nothing for the entire nine months.

NINE: Although women say they crave spontaneity and little surprises, if you try to accommodate that desire by jumping out of the closet and yelling "boo," you can usually regain most of your limb function after a few months of physical therapy.

TEN: If menopausal woman "A" is driving west at 35 mph, and menopausal woman "B" is driving east at 42 miles per hour, and both of them forget why they even got in the car, and they end up pulling into Baskin-Robbins at the same time, and both of them get double-scoop chocolate-rampage sundaes and then start commiserating about hot flashes, how come when they get home they are mad at their husbands? (Hint: There is no answer to this question. But if you give her a foot rub and fix her some tea, she will forgive you.)

ELEVEN: It is precisely because women are so different from men that men cannot help but be fundamentally changed by the day-in-and-day-out experience of living with these utterly wonderful, bewildering, fascinating creatures whom God tells us to love with the very passion and commitment that Christ bestows on the church.

Living with my wife has required me to sacrifice, to change, to take huge emotional risks and to utterly commit myself to another human being. In short, she is the main means by which God is building Christlikeness into my character.

TWELVE: As you get older, your wife will insist that you have annual prostate exams. She will say that this is because she loves you and does not want you to take risks with your health, but I think it is simply retaliation for childbirth.


Dave Meurer is author of Stark Raving Dad! and soon-to-be released The Clueless Guy's Guide to Good Spousekeeping.

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