3 min read

A Simple Way to Cut the Gordian Knot of Gender

Don’t read too much into this but by all means, read on
Woman bathing under a waterfall
The Missus in her ideal bathing environment | Photo by Seth Doyle on Unsplash

Greetings friends!

Nothing arouses indignation, opposition, and confusion as well as modern discussions around gender.

Woman, man, something indeterminate in between. For those in the throes of an identity crisis, it means everything. For many of us, it quickly becomes bewildering and exhausting.

I have every sympathy and almost unlimited tolerance for people to figure out what they want to be and how. (The limits appear when one person’s freedom encroaches on another person’s behavior. That’s a whole other topic.)

If you are not affected, not interested, or not hip to the latest fine differentiations in gender, this post is for you.

A simple test to divide man from woman

It occurred to me recently there is a simple and effective way to distinguish between a man and a woman. This revelation came, unsurprisingly as you’ll see in a moment, in the shower.

The way to tell a man from a woman is as follows:

  • No self-respecting woman would ever use a shower product that touts “3 in 1” or similar multi-functionality.
  • No self-respecting man would ever use more than two shower products, and we are deeply suspicious of the second one.

That’s it, and it’s pretty foolproof.

Why the shower test works

For men, a shower is a means to an end. As such, the more efficient we can be the happier we are. A three-in-one product is like a Swiss multi-tool. “You mean everything I need is right here in my hand?” Sold.

I have heard anecdotal reports that some women will use a combined shampoo and conditioner. But just see what happens when you ask if they’d like a body wash integrated into their hair product. I predict an uncontrollable full-body shudder of revulsion.

We don’t need to get into the why behind these reactions. I offer it as a simple test for anyone wishing to confirm where their loyalties lie.

Bonus question — post-bathing care

Should the aforementioned test leave any doubt, the post-wash ritual will conclusively settle the matter:

  • A man dries himself off and calls it good. Sometimes he remembers to brush his hair. Optionally there will be an encounter with deodorant — this depends on how fresh the shirt is. Possibly, the pit sniff test will reveal residual deodorant, obviating the need for a fresh dose.
  • A woman finds herself at the beginning of a ritual, the details of which differ, but all of which involve unguents and lotions. And an amount of time for their application that simply defies rational explanation.

Men will wonder why a freshly washed body needs face cream, body lotion, and anything else.

Women know that their skin will burst into flames of discomfort if they do not immediately start lathering.

I’ll end with a delicious irony

I must point out a great irony in this discussion. Although this method of distinguishing men from women is 100% accurate, it is based on a distinction without a difference.

What do I mean? Simply this. There is no difference between any of the products that men and women use in their bathing rituals. They’re made from the same ingredients, even in the same batch together.

Picture Proctor & Gamble’s (or Nivea’s, etc.) monolithic shampoo manufacturing facility, blotting out the sun. There’s a giant vat burbling and boiling, with a sturdy stainless steel mixer slowly churning the concoction.

The potion cools. A hazmat-wearing employee carefully takes samples and declares the batch perfect. What happens then?

The top five layers are successively siphoned off and bottled into a procession of women’s products. The sludge remaining at the bottom is scooped into “three-in-one” products and nothing goes to waste.

It’s all the same stuff.

But we’re sure different, aren’t we?

Be well.

PS — Bonus, bonus question: your reaction to my conclusion will also handily prove your gender. If you laugh in rueful agreement, you’re a man. If you also laugh, but secretly believe your skin care products are different, you’re a woman.

Oh, and if you don’t laugh, you’re a monster. You should read more of my stories to double-check.