Tom Purcell, 10/6/2014 [Archive]

What Women Want

By Tom Purcell

Boy, are the folks at the syndicated game show "Jeopardy" in trouble after introducing a new category: "What Do Women Want."

In one prompt, Alex Trebek gave contestants these clues: "Some help around the house; would it kill you to get out the Bissell bagless canister one of these every once in a while?"

Answer: "What is a vacuum cleaner?"

In another, Trebek said: "Time to exercise perhaps in a class in this discipline named for founder Joseph, who initially called it contrology?"

Answer: "What are Pilates?"

In a third, he said: "A pair of jeans that fit well, like the 535s from this brand."

Answer: "What are Levi's?"

It didn't take long for the grievance community to launch a full assault on the lousy sexists.

"What is equal pay? What is the right to make my own health decisions? What is treated like a human?" tweeted one woman.

"What is to be an equal member of society?" tweeted another woman.

"What is paid sick leave, equal pay, affordable child care, respect?" tweeted a third woman.

Sheesh.

One woman suggested that "Jeopardy" create a "What Do Men Want" category that is "equally belittling and superficial."

I couldn't agree more — though the reaction would a little different.

Trebek: "Arms and legs harvested from inhumanely-treated poultry, submersed in hot lard and served with fluids known to cause poor judgment."

Answer: "What are hot wings and ice-cold beer?"

Trebek: "A private room in a house outfitted with large display monitors, fermented adult beverages and no women.

Answer: What is a man cave?"

Trebek: "The lyrics are: 'It's hard to kiss the lips at night that chew my butt off all day long.'"

Answer: "What is a great country song?"

Male tweeters and bloggers would respond with joy and hilarity if "Jeopardy" applied such stereotypes to them.

Unfortunately, we live in a time when we are expected to disregard one truth: that men and women are different. We are supposed to believe that there are zero emotional or mental differences among the sexes.

Why, just as many men as women worry about sweeping the rug and keeping the house spotless — even though humorist P.J. O'Rourke says typical males clean their place about once every girlfriend.

Just as many men as women like to wear stylish, color-matching sweatsuits in Pilates classes — and have a group latte afterward to discuss baby showers, relationships and the spring sale at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Just as many men as women are asking their spouses these days if their Levi jeans are making their backsides look fat.

So it's no wonder women are so offended by a silly game show.

AOL news sums up their indignation well: "Rather than focus on serious topics like equal rights or significant achievements of women, the new section was filled with stereotypes of housework, fitted jeans and Pilates."

OK, fair enough. Here's what is also fair: This heated overreaction is telling about where we are as a nation and a society.

We are becoming masters at responding with indignation to matters that are small as we lose the ability to distinguish small matters from those that are truly large.

Right now the Middle East is going up in flames, the Ebola virus is running amok in West Africa and looking to expand, ObamaCare is killing any hopes of economic vitality and we are nearing $20 trillion in debt — an amount we can never repay.

But too few are indignant about our very real challenges.

I'll bet more people would find offense with these "Jeopardy" clues:

Trebek: "Absolutely nothing."

Answer: "What are men really thinking?"

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© 2014 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, author of "Misadventures of a 1970's Childhood" and "Comical Sense: A Lone Humorist Takes on a World Gone Nutty!" is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. For info on using this column in your publication or website, contact Sales@cagle.com or call (805) 969-2829. Send comments to Tom at Purcell@caglecartoons.com.

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