For many years, I faithfully drank eight glasses of water a day. I was told it was good for me. I never really knew who first said that, or why. Now I find out that it's just a rough guideline from a 1945 government report; which also pointed out that we get most of the water we need from just eating food. I'm beginning to wonder if the same thing is happening in that turbulent new arena of gender handicapping: that women are rising and men are toast -- their masculine roles as fire starter and bear killer usurped by a new age of female power. Like the water rule, it's been repeated so often, we've come to accept it as fact. But also like the water rule, conventional wisdom about the decline of men ignores an important qualifier.
At first I thought it was just me. Then I looked around at my friends. One lost his job in his 40s. He's being supported by his wife who commutes to the city. Another friend is a writer. He sits at home while his wife goes off to work. My friend Robert was forced into early retirement when he was 57. He's the house husband; she's the breadwinner.