On Unnamed Mannerless Males and a John

22 Feb

A man-boy with a plaid paunch slides into his car in the faculty parking lot and purposely drops a pile of fast food wrappers outside his open door. Why, I wonder, does he not get out and take those two easy steps to the nearby garbage can? Is it gas? Given the trashy leftovers he’s left behind, I imagine there must be something that doesn’t smell right coming out of him about now.

It is not just his lazy littering that causes me to pause. This is a university lot where I must first look out, not for oncoming cars, but for fresh splatters of saliva where the male population have hocked a mouthful onto the asphalt. The sound of a young man calling up a new wad of slimy phlegm in his throat makes me click my open toed wedges faster to my destination than the cover of darkness or any threat of a would be mugger jumping out of the bushes.

The lack of proper everyday etiquette amongst the opposite gender transcends social lines. It transcends race and even monetary ones too. No matter how many times I ask my husband and stepsons to refrain from doing so, they continue to loudly blow their noses in their napkins at the dinner table. During the summer they wear “wife beater” t-shirts making them not so unlike those exotic European women who suddenly lift their slight arms and shock the rest of us, at least those of us in the U.S., with heavy clusters of matted hair. My meal ruined, the sounds and sights of it all makes me almost dry heave.

As for my late father, a successful lawyer and businessman in his day, he never once spent a buck or two on a box of sticks with a dab of cotton at the tip. An absolutely pointless expenditure, he might’ve said. His house key dug far deeper and produced far more from his inner ear canal than something so dainty and decorative it’s collected in a glass jar on the woman’s side of the bathroom countertop. Not to mention his sturdy house key was environmentally friendly in the sense that it could be reused countless times over.

And when it comes to the bathroom, if a guy resides under this same roof, there is always to be found a well-stocked magazine rack. One time in class I asked a young male student where his textbook was and he replied reflexively, even unabashedly, “I left it on top of the toilet tank.” For upon the john is arguably where many a man experiences his biggest mental and otherwise bodily breakthroughs.


Leave a Reply


  1. Naoko

    February 23, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Yeah, I always watch out for those men who spit on the ground. It’s annoying and disgusting. I usually walk around them so I don’t have to step on their freshly produced saliva.

  2. Lupe G.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Hystericaly funny. You could be writing about
    the guys I know!

  3. amber

    February 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Love it! My boyfriend uses a key too. Gross.

  4. Cheri

    February 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    That is hilarious and so true! My dad uses the end of a pen to clean his ears!

    • Paula

      February 23, 2012 at 4:35 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Cheri. And to think so many people absentmindedly put the caps of Bics in their mouths. Thanks for commenting Amber, Lupe and Naoko!

  5. Miles

    February 28, 2012 at 9:34 am

    I am not a male who does the aforementioned, however I do have certain friends of my sex who frighten off women with their foul manners! I was entertained by this piece. Well written and very amusing.

    All best,


  6. Helen D.

    March 15, 2012 at 9:23 am

    You clearly have fun with language and are not the stuffy literary type though you
    obviously have the talent to do so.

  7. Michelle

    March 17, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Men with manners are hard to come by. I feel like I will be scrutinizing my 10-year-old son now before it’s too late.

    • Paula

      March 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm

      Probably a good idea, Michelle. Was fun at YH last night.

      • Michael from Britain

        April 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm

        I’m an avid follower of your blog, typically a silent one, I’m afraid. I’m a fastidious dresser and dare I say I’m not one of the men you’re describing. However, I look forward to your memoir coming out.

        • Veronica

          May 12, 2012 at 2:23 pm

          Hysterical! I can’t stand men who wear their waistbands below the equator!