*Originally published at Wait But Why
There are plenty of age-old debates—Democrat vs. Republican; Pacino vs. Deniro; who are you more attracted to, hot Disney characters or hot mannequins; if you had to choose, would you rather have your legs amputated but live wherever you wanted to, or keep your legs but be forced to spend the rest of your life within the borders of the Democratic Republic of the Congo—but there’s one debate that leaves me torn like no other:
In the end, is it better to be a guy or a girl?
Every time I think I’ve got it for sure, I think of something else and I’m like, “Oh wait, no.” It’s a very tough debate. Let’s break it down by discussing some of the realities facing each gender:
14 Reasons it Sucks to Be a Guy
1) You might go bald.
There are four types of guys:
Guys who are bald and embrace it: These guys are completely out-of-the-closet, openly bald men. They bring up their own baldness, make jokes about it, and you can refer to them as bald and it’s completely fine.
Guys who are bald and think that no one else has noticed: There are a lot of these. These guys share a common trait: their comb-overs. Comb-overs come in many different shapes and directions, and underneath each one stands a man who is pretty sure that no one else can really tell that he’s bald. They enjoy hats, detest wind, have very strict instructions for their barber, and it is not at all okay to bring up the topic of their baldness.
Guys who are currently balding: These guys are an unhappy bunch. And while it sucks to go bald young, in a way it’s worse for older guys, who have spent their entire life assuming that they were on the other team. This whole group has no sense of humor whatsoever about the situation.
Guys who assume baldness will never happen to them: This group knows the percentages. They can see the bald heads all around them. And yet, guys who have a full head of hair see baldness as something that mainly happens to other guys. They don’t feel super-confident about this of course—they’re very nervous people. But deep down, if they had to bet on it either way, they’d bet that their hair stays.
In any case, girls deal with none of this.
2) You die earlier.
People don’t talk about this enough. A guy’s average lifespan is seven years shorter than a girl’s. Seven years. That’s like 10% less life. Sucks.
3) You have to carry more stuff.
Guys end up carrying the large majority of suitcases, couches, tables, chairs, boxes and bags. And they have to pretend like heavy things are easy to carry. Every time I carry something upsettingly heavy for a girl, I lift it all quickly and walk all upright and force a normal facial expression on so the girl will think, “Look how effortless he’s being while carrying that heavy thing—he’s strong.” But it’s not effortless, it’s effortful. Unlike many of these, this one is actually fair since guys are stronger, but being stronger doesn’t mean that carrying things isn’t shitty.
4) It’s okay for people to kill you.
People love to group “women and children” together into this group that it’s not okay to kill. I don’t really get this one. Why are the lives of women and children more important than the lives of men? Dudes hate dying just as much as everyone else.
5) No one cares about the groom.
On the wedding day, the bride is the big star. It’s “the best day of her life.” She’s “so beautiful.” And then there’s the groom. No one really gives a shit about the groom.
6) You have to park.
When you get to a restaurant, the girls get to step out right in front of the restaurant and head in while the guy has to go park the car. Imagine a girl letting her boyfriend out of the car and driving on to park. Not likely.
7) Sometimes you have no choice but to get your ass kicked.
When you’re a young guy and you’re out with friends and someone you’re with gets in a fight with a group of guys, you have no choice but to go and get your ass kicked with him. Or if you’re with a girl and some guy who’s bigger than you does something mean or disrespectful to the girl, you’re like, “Well, now I have to make a big show of standing up for her and get my ass kicked by this dude.”
8) If you’re an animal, you sometimes have to fight someone to the death to get laid.
With people, no matter how weak or lame or dumb or ugly a guy is, there’s some girl out there for him. But there are some animals that only have these rare, precious chances to mate and their only hope is to fight some other dude to the death and win. That sounds pretty terrible. Apparently, when a panda woman feels like putting out, she pees under a tree and then climbs the tree and watches while all the guys rush over to her filthy pee puddle and beat the shit out of each other so that one of them can finally get laid. For Christ sake. Have some self-respect.
9) You have to give up your seat a lot.
Everyone is equally tired and enjoys sitting down the same amount. But guys have to leap out of their seat when an old person or a kid or a woman carrying a lot of stuff gets on the train. The real big douchebags enthusiastically give up their seats to girls their own age, because “I’m the kind of guy that gives up my seat to a woman.”
10) From time to time, your balls take part in a collision of some sort.
This is like getting food poisoning, in that when it hasn’t happened in a long time, you start to think it’s not actually that big of a deal. Then it happens and refreshes your memory. And then there’s the waiting period. You know when you stub your toe and you have a brief, one-second moment before the pain hits to reflect on the fact that you just smashed your toe into the leg of the table? When balls are struck, even lightly, a guy has an even longer waiting period to reflect. So long that sometimes you’re like, “Wait—maybe they weren’t really struck.” Then it quickly becomes clear.
11) You have to buy drinks for girls who are probably not interested in you.
A large portion of drinks that a guy ends up buying are for girls who are most likely not really into him. One time I was at a bar and I was talking to this girl and was heading to the bar with her to get drinks. On the way to the bar, she grabbed the arm of her friend and pulled her along so her friend could snag an extra drink while she had me there. I made a U-turn and left them both standing there.
12) Okay, no I didn’t.
I bought them both drinks. But I should have made the U-turn.
13) Girls can slap you and it’s okay.
Constantly in movies and TV shows, a guy will do something dickish or inappropriate and the girl slaps him and storms away. What the hell? Why is that okay? I’ve never been slapped, but I imagine that it would make me really, really angry. It’s not that girls don’t also get slapped in life—but at least the world views it as very not okay. A guy getting slapped always gets a big laugh.
14) No one cares whether you want to have the child or abort it.
The pro-choice argument is that an individual abortion decision should be “the woman’s choice”—not “the parents’ choice.” And obviously there are clear reasons a pregnancy is far more personal to the woman than the man. But having a child—raising it, paying for it, and loving it for the rest of your life—that’s equally personal to both the woman and the man. It affects both of their lives deeply and permanently, so it’s kind of dickish to leave the whole decision up to one member in the couple. The issue for men is that you can’t really force a woman to have a baby that she wouldn’t otherwise have because the man wants her to have it, and you can’t really force a woman who wants to have a baby to abort it if the man would like to (though it has been argued that the man in that case shouldn’t have to pay child support). The end result is that the man’s opinion becomes moot. Shitty situation for men.
So it’s not looking so good for guys. But let’s shift—
14 Reasons it Sucks to Be a Girl
Reallll happy I don’t have to deal with childbirth. And women also have to deal with pregnancy for nine months. I know, now everyone’s like, “You’re going against your own point with the whole abortion thing.” But I’m not—after these nine months, there are like nine decades where the child is alive and that outweighs any one year. And suddenly, I’m in an impassioned abortion debate with myself. I have a job, if you’re wondering.
2) You can’t pee in public.
Some of my most liberating moments have occurred when I was peeing outside somewhere. The other day, someone posed the thought-provoking question, “When do you feel most alive?” I, for one, feel at my most alive when I’m peeing off a cliff, gazing upon a beautiful view. Women just don’t get to experience that. And in public, they can’t just “go check out the bark on that tree” like guys can. They have to either hold it in or turn their relationship with all guys in the vicinity into a thenceforth platonic one. And while we’re here,
3) The cleanliness of a public restroom is of great importance.
Whenever I’m in a filthy public restroom, my main thought is, “I’m really happy I’m not a girl.” No one is psyched to step into a disgusting gas station bathroom, but a guy doesn’t have to interact with it nearly as much as a girl does.
That said, even as I type this, I know it’s one of those things where girls have some bizarre shared secret method for peeing into a filthy public toilet so that they don’t have to make any contact with it. It’s complex and confusing for me, and I’m not really interested in discussing it further.
4) If you’re middle aged, when you hang out with a bunch of women you all sound like you’re clucking.
I know this from experience. When I was growing up and my mother would have a group of women over, it produced the exact sound of a crowded chicken coop.
5) Your friends talk about you behind your back and root against you.
Sure, guys do this too, but to varying degrees and not all the time. Girls, on the other hand, always talk about their friends behind their backs and root against them. It’s just what happens. Some people incorrectly believe that this mainly happens with teenage girls and that more mature women have grown out of it. But adult women have only learned to keep it more to themselves. Deep down, they’re still happy that their attractive friend has gained some weight.
6) You have to deal with menstruation.
This just seems like a terrible thing to have to deal with. I get upset with just the small sliver of this whole world that I am occasionally made aware of. I also shudder at the thought of what went on centuries ago, before tampons and all of the helpful products. I need to move on.
7) You have to spend a lot of your life grooming yourself.
If a typical girl counted up the cumulative hours, money, and effort she spends grooming herself in some fashion, shopping for clothes, picking an outfit, putting on makeup, painting her nails, dealing with the hair, and “getting ready to go out,” the result would be staggering. And this is not even to mention all the creepy things girls do that I’m not thinking of or am not aware of. Even the sassiest guys wouldn’t come close to equaling what a girl deals with. The grooming is the worst part. A guy can just leave the surface of his whole body the way it is and it’s completely fine. A girl can’t. Sucks.
7a) You have to dedicate time and energy to shoes.
I was gonna be all like, “This is part of the last item but it warrants its own item cause shoes are incredibly boring and girls are captivated by them,” but then my girlfriend just looked over my shoulder and saw me typing this heading and was all like, “That’s kind of an obvious clichéd thing to say about girls,” and now I’m self-conscious about this item. Whatever, girls have an uncanny fetish with shoes. Next.
8) You can’t really travel around foreign countries alone.
I say “really” because girls actually kind of can travel around most foreign countries alone. It’s perception more than anything and actually not especially dangerous. But it is more uncomfortable than it is for a guy and the fear alone prevents many girls from ever trying.
9) Gaining weight makes you really unhappy.
Members of neither gender are particularly pleased when they’re overweight. But in Western culture, at least, it impacts a girl’s life more than a guy’s. In the Middle East, on the other hand, I was told that all those women who are eternally covered up in public are often encouraged to pack on some pounds, and that it’s not considered a bad thing. Maybe oppressed Middle Eastern women aren’t more miserable than liberated Western women after all.
10) You’re sometimes paid less than a man for doing the exact same job.
This would make me incredibly angry.
11) You have to spend time in close contact with a man’s gross body.
This is why the grooming item is so especially unfair. After all your work, the hideous, hairy, pale guy is the one who gets to enjoy it. When a guy shares a bed with a girl, he’s sharing a bed with a lovely, smooth, soft and generally attractive creature. Most girls, though, have to constantly look at and touch the bodies of naked men. I feel like they don’t quite realize how bad a deal this is for them.
12) You have a biological clock.
I’m anxious just thinking about this.
13) You’re obsessed with dessert.
I suppose this isn’t necessarily a negative thing, but it warranted mentioning. I’m full at the end of dinner and don’t really want another course, and I don’t really get it.
14) If you’re a Chinese baby, you might be killed.
This goes alongside “If you’re an Afghani woman, you might be beheaded if you try to be a teacher,” “If you’re a Chinese woman back in the day, you had your feet bound when you were young so they can’t grow,” “If you’re an eight-year-old in Saudi Arabia or the Utah desert, you might be wed to a 47-year-old man,” “If you’re a Cambodian teenager, you might be sold into sex-slavery by your parents,” and a number of others. In certain places today and in the past, it is shitty to be a girl.
So where does all this leave us? Nowhere. I’m even more torn than I was before. All I’ve learned is that being either gender kind of sucks. And it’s not like being one of those people who it’s hard to tell what gender they are is a summer walk in the park either. The jury’s still out on this one, sorry.
Photo: JD Hancock/Flickr