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Groping, Wife-Beating, and Octo-Mom Porn? Maybe It Ain't the "Fairer" Sex...

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I'm hardly an expert on women, though I've married several.

In this lull between Valentine's and Mother's Days (Octo-Mom and her $1 million porn offer or not) it seems a tribute is in order. Even to clueless men, recent news stories clearly subjectify both the superiority and the plight of women in our current culture.

It was only yesterday, during the presidential primary campaign, that sex was the hot topic. With Hillary Clinton -- who represented uber/ur-woman during her feverish, forceful push for the presidency -- recently over in Asia wowing entire populations and repairing our tattered national reputation, gender seems to have taken a back seat to the ongoing national debate on race.

Still, London's Daily Mail has a story titled: "Why do women feel so ANGRY? Welcome to the age of female rage." Author Elizabeth Stewart is royally pissed about "a world that still doesn't acknowledge how hard women work, in and out of the workplace."

Ms. Stewart has a big job, and her hubby works, too. But he "doesn't do vomit. Or Nappies. Or snotty noses, chewing gum in the hair, laundry, meal planning," etc., etc. Improbably, she still loves her husband - "adore" is what she says. "But there are times I could cheerfully strangle him for simply having the luck to be born a man." At least she can find some cheer in there somewhere.

We (men) are also lucky, particularly blokes like Ms. Stewart's husband, because of the indulgences of women. And now we can point to science, something our desperately-seeking-logic minds can embrace, as to why. "Men process beauty on the right side of their brains," according to researchers in today's digital edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, "while women use their whole brain to do the job."

Aha. While I have no actual feelings about this, I feel driven to make a point.

If I can just get any piece of my cerebellum working on it, I think this means women have a broader and more liberal set of criteria for defining beauty. That explains, in part, all those attractive women with unattractive men (attractive inside and/or out, of course). There's even a raunchy web site devoted to that subject with photos that aren't exactly R-rated but are pornographically clear in making their case.

And for that great favor that women provide men, that more generous view of us, all the while still yoked by some second-class status issues at home and in the workplace, what do we do in return?

In Berkeley, according to Chronicle reporter Henry Lee's story, some scoundrel has been "accosting women from behind and touching them after lifting their skirts." Of course there are much worse assaults that go on, but there's something that seems infuriatingly humiliating about this kind of thing, especially when he's done it 13 times, mostly to women "walking from weekend fraternity or sorority parties between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m.," the Berkeley police tell Henry.

And while we're on campus, here's another indignity heaped on young women, noted in the University of Mass. Daily Collegian: Herpes from Beer Pong (a.k.a Beiruit.) I'm not sure what that is, exactly, but I know it involves tossing balls into cups of beer, then drinking the beer. "My problem is that when I play beer pong," says freshman theater major Simone Shenny, "it's usually at guys' houses who probably have never, EVER dusted or cleaned all the grime that is all over the place. So when we throw the ball and miss the cup, it sometimes goes under furniture and into disgusting corners."

Nowhere near groping on the disrespect meter, but ick.

Progress likewise can't be measured by the Dallas Morning News story about a man who was finally forced to shut down a Texas business "that sold wife-beater t-shirts." No kidding. It was called wife-beaters.com and "gave a discount to anyone who could prove they were convicted of wife-beating," the story says. Patrick Greene, a San Antonio man who got the site banished from the web, had unsuccessfully gone to the FBI, the Texas Attorney General and the Better Business Bureau before finally complaining to the company that hosted the site, citing their prohibition on "objectionable information" in their own policy.

Mr. Green should get an honorary NOW membership. No word on whether Chris Brown had placed an order.

But there is good news for women in the pile-up of stories. The Brisbane Times reports that a British survey found that women's sex lives improved as they got older. While aging men desperately hunt down and gather testosterone injections and blue pills, Britain By Health Plus magazine found that 77 percent of the 2,000 women surveyed said "that their sex life was best in their 40s...women in their 40s want to have sex more than younger women."

And it's not angry sex, either.

"It's great sex," said a 48-year-old woman named only Philippa, the best of her life. "But it's not with my husband. To be absolutely honest, he's the last man on the planet I'd want to have sex with."

The study's theory is that "nurturing" female hormones diminish as women get older, letting that male/all-about-me testosterone bull through. "When those nurturing hormones melt away," the story says, "women are led to the epiphany that they have been putting their own needs in second place for decades." Not any more.

This leads to a more satisfying sex life and more affairs, according to the magazine.

So gentlemen, show some respect: dump the wife-beater shirts and keep your hands off strangers. Try doing more laundry and meal planning and maybe your testosterone and her testosterone will live happily ever after.