A word to the wise

My dear female readers, you must become dumber, or boys won’t like you.

If you have not been blessed with God-given stupidity, you must learn to fake it.Let’s practice.

You’re shopping for produce with a possible mate. Hold a bunch of bananas in the air. Furrow your brows.

Ask: “How much do you think these will cost?”

The male might ponder the sign stating bananas are 50 cents a pound and guesstimate that your bunch runs about two pounds.

With any luck, he’ll reply, “About a buck.” Now is your chance to make him feel admired. Say something like: “Oh. You are so smart. What a genius you are.”

This will endear him to you forever. Scientific fact. No arguments, please.

Perhaps you’ve read about recent studies that show men in high-powered jobs prefer subordinate, old-fashioned women. The higher a woman’s IQ, the lower her prospects for that Goal of All Goals—marriage.

I read one recent report on this to my Significant Republican, who married me 22 years ago despite my intentions to go to, um, college. He said that fawning, dim-witted women bore him. (Good answer, honey.)

Perhaps, I told myself, researchers’ findings were tiny leftover examples of backward thinking.

Guess not. Seems I encounter new gender propaganda every day. When I go to the movies, guys are falling in love with housekeepers. When I read Cosmo, I get “10 Tips to Keeping Your Guy Happy in the Sack.”

None of this should surprise, considering what we’re teaching our kids in school. Recently I read online the famed congressional report that found 11 out of 13 “abstinence-only!” sex education programs used in public schools contain errors and distortions. Yes, there’s the little boo-boo that condoms don’t do much to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and the implication that AIDS can be contracted through contact with infected sweat or tears. One program frightens teens with the falsehood that an abortion will lead to premature birth, “a major cause of mental retardation,” in subsequent pregnancies.

But what’s truly remarkable about the report commissioned by Rep. Henry Waxman isn’t just the above bad info. It’s the reinforcement of tired gender stereotypes.

Federally funded abstinence-only programs teach young women that their emotions render them less rational than men. That little girls need financial security and little boys need sex. They learn: “To admire a man is to regard him with wonder, delight, and approval. A man feels admired when his unique characteristics and talents happily amaze her.”

Your tax dollars at work.

One fun bit was excerpted in Harpers magazine. The following “humorous anecdote” is included as a teacher’s supplement to the “Choosing the Best” series.

The tale begins: “Deep inside, every man is a knight in shining armor, ready to rescue a maiden and slay a dragon. When a man feels trusted, he is free to be the strong, protecting man he longs to be.”

So. A knight wants to slay a dragon and rescue a princess in distress. The princess stops him. She suggests the use of a noose. He slays the dragon using a noose. Taking advice from a woman lowers his self-esteem. “He is depressed and feels unsure of himself. He would have preferred to use his own sword.”

He leaves the kingdom. He comes upon another dragon, another maiden. She offers no advice. He slays the dragon with his sword. He marries the maiden, “only after making sure she knows nothing about nooses.”

The textbook (published in 2003) concludes: “Moral of the story: Occasional suggestions and assistance may be alright, but too much of it will lessen a man’s confidence or even turn him away from his princess.”

Ladies, this is your cue to giggle insipidly. Don’t know about you, but I feel more stupider already.