Confessions of an Actual Man

Very Sincere Too

(Editor’s note: Y’all need to smile more!)

by Fred Reed

Like a wolverine digging at a rabbit’s hole, this column seeks truth, wherever it lies. (Of course, if truth lies, how can you trust it? These are deep waters.) To this end, I have been reading feminists about what slugs men are, and bandits, and slaves of vanity, and cause loose fillings and sunspots and roach infestations. In the past I dismissed these tiresome viragos as mere creatures of bile and ill-breeding. This time, I thought, maybe I should listen to them. After all, ugly short-haired unmarried women are people too. Pretty close anyway.

As I pondered, I was overcome by the consciousness of sin. Yes, I thought, it is true. We men are the slaves of vanity. I wanted to deny it, but I could not. The facts cannot be evaded: We, sorry male malfeasors all, are hopelessly vain.

Confess it, fellows: Men spend millions on boob jobs, on moisturizing lipstick that gives us the freshness of the roses of morn, on perky push-up bras that divide and lift at the same time. Yes, we do. Television groans under ads for new, new shampoos that make our thinning hair swirl like corn silk in gentle zephyrs. Whole generations of Africans have died in the diamond mines of Kimberly so that we men could have gaudis and baubles and dingly-dangles to put in our ears. Oh, the shame of it.

Women, far more sensible, are happy with scuba gear, a big-bore Kawasaki, and two-for-one Coors. Maybe a Ruger Redhawk.

It is not just vanity that corrupts men and makes us a burden on a suffering world. No. There is worse. We do not play well with others. No one can doubt it.

I have often read that women cooperate, quietly working together to get the job done, while men are aggressive and need to butt heads, trying to be the alpha male. This must be true, I reflected. Sociologists say so. There can be no greater fountain of truth than pigeon-chested academic worms in psuedo-universities. That’s what I think, anyway.

Sure enough, the evidence is there. If you peer into the sordid sprawl of history, you find that you can hardly swing a pool cue without hitting a civilization founded by cooperating women. Sumeria, Rome, the Tang Dynasty, the Raj — all built by women working quietly and maturely together, while men fussed and fumed and did their nails. The NFL, the space program, Microsoft and Google, all products of cooperating women.

There is yet more. Men need to bear up, be brave and mature, and face truth: Women are more practical than men. Someone said that men are romantics pretending to be realists, and women, realists pretending to be romantic. Yes. Honesty compels us to grant it. Men are like little boys, always wanting to go higher and faster, to explore jungles and invent exotic aircraft. Always childlike, we love to race alone across the late-afternoon deserts of Arizona on a Harley, with the air furnace-hot and sunset burning out from incandescent reds to rolling waves of oranges on celestial beaches, the night rising from behind distant mountains. Women want granite counter-tops. These last, and are easy to clean.

This practicality of the distaff wing of our race of nuclear-armed primates is pervasive, profound, and probably of remote evolutionary origin. For example, women are attracted to money, than which there is nothing more practical. In fact, money is the only aphrodisiac that gets the job done. Ask any sailor who has spent shore leave in the Philippines.

It works like a charm blessed by the Seventh Orisha. I am an ugly man of sixty-five years with thick glasses that make me look like a poorly-designed frog. But give me a Ferrari Testarossa, a flashy suit with an Italian name like Giovanni or Armani, and a roll of hundred-dollar bills to tip for beers at pricey restautrants. Gorgeous groupies of twenty-five will crawl in their hundreds through my windows. Practical, they are. Very.

Men are ever impractical. In countries where I have lived, such as Vietnam, Mexico, and Thailand, the difference is unmistakable. If an American man encounters a Thai lass who is cute, smart, kind, funny, and a hell of a lot of fun, he will marry her, support her without the least resentment, and think he has prospered mightily. He is a man, and thus a romantic. No practicality. If an American woman has ever married a Thai below her social class in the expectation of maintaining him, this has not been recorded. It just isn’t a paying proposition.

An evil misogynist or anyone rational would call this racism. It would be terribly unfair. I’m just not sure why.

The sexes approach problems differently. A friend once worked at a computer help-desk for a large association of realtors, who apparently are not any brighter than they need to be. She said that about twelve people, evenly divided between men and women, worked in this pit of reparative cybernicity. She further said that she had noticed that the women worked from a list of possible answers. Is it plugged in? Is the power on? And so on. Some of the questions were technical, and the women were not stupid, but they worked from a list and, if nothing applied, they threw up their hands. The guys by contrast regarded computers as really neat puzzles, controllable complexity of the sort that fascinates men, and liked to solve crazy new problems.

This difference is why a female bureaucrat will just say, “Nope, can’t do it. Sez so here,” while a man will think, “How can we get around this sumbitch rule?” It’s much more practical and efficient just to say, “Nope. No can do.”

Male immaturity. Always fiddling with high-by-pass turbofans or III-V semiconductors instead of working quietly from lists.

Like a six-year-old, a man has to know how everything works. This defect of the male psyche is close to universal. A woman wants her refrigerator to cool her yogurt, her stereo to play the BeeGees, her car to run and not make funny noises. Ever practical, she isn’t interested in thingy-whichies, in the compression-cooling-expansion cycle, or source-gate-drain of transistors, or what a valve train is. It isn’t that she couldn’t learn these things easily enough, but that she has no practical reason for learning them.

I reckon women are just more complicated than men can understand. It could drive us to drink, if we needed driving. Their is a subtlety that we men, with our blunt-trauma minds, can’t get our fingers around. Women want to get married, but they don’t want to get married, and they are furious at men but want to be loved, which presents technical problems. It’s too many for us. The Iraqis say “Women want roasted ice.” Maybe we underestimate Moslem civilizations.

Now, from experience, I know that feminists will be madder than wet hornets, this being their only condition, because I have spread this repast of understanding on the tablecloth of the internet. If I weren’t so charitable, I might suggest that they dish it out much better than they take it, that they feel entitled in perpetuity to distemper —but I am the soul of charity, and won’t even hint at it, though it’s God’s truth.

All original material©Violeta de Jesus Gonzalez Munguia

5 Responses to Confessions of an Actual Man

  1. Rick Gleason says:

    If you’re holding a valid Man Card, it’s time to hand it over…

    • Dear Rick:

      Uh…This may sound a little contradictory, but you are not allowed to resign from the Order of Manly Men without my permission. If you are unwise enough to question my word BOTH Fred and I will send you chartreuse mohair socks. (Chartreuse is a pale lemony green and mohair is very fine flulffy wool which grows on goats. Manly Men do not know things like that unless they raise such goats which they probably inherited from their grandmothers.)

      Life is really very simple, particuarly if you have enough sense to find yourself a Southern girl. She only has two rules:1. You are always right. 2. She always gets what she wants. I’m sure you can live with that?

      I only have two rules when it comes to my dear Charles, clearly a prince among men or he would not have won me: 1. The COB is always right. (The Chief of the Boat is the senior enlisted man on a nuclear submarine and a very big deal.) 2. When the COB is not right, see Rule 1 and give him ample time to do what I told him to do in the first place (such as turn Left) and then I leave it to him to figure out eventually that he is going the wrong way. At that point he announces in a satisfied tone, “If I turn Left up here we’ll be almost there.” I smile sweetly, being quite aware that four Right turns put us back where we were to begin with. What do I want most? To get where we’re going as quickly and efficiently as possible (Only if someone is bleeding profusely.) or to enjoy just being with him? Silly question.. Being happy is more important than being “right.” NOBODY ever mentions that I told him to turn Left in the first place. It didn’t happen, just like no one mentions when the dog passes gas, whether the dog did it or not.

      I find men very inspirational, Rick, and thank you for for giving me a subject for one of the two articles I have to write tonight. What’s different about me is that I genuinely LIKE men. You know wonderful things I do not know, and if I am nice to you eventually you will tell me or show me. I’m a delight to teach because I really am very bright (how could I not be, hanging on your every word?) You are strong enough to open mayonnaise jars and can reach things over my head.

      Yankee girls are a lot more trouble, but probably “Gee, you look pretty” no matter what she is wearing and a five dollar sheaf of flowers from the grocery store once a week would help. Don’t give her a chance to ask, “Does this dress make me look fat?” You can’t go wrong with “You look great”before she asks. Good variations are “You look so good in that color,” a compliment on her legs, or “It was your beautiful eyes/hair that…’

      Learn to play the game, people. The one who says something nice first wins!

      Thanks again, Rick, for the enjoyment you gave me, and I hope you will agree that I have not transgressed Southern Belle Rule Number One: “Thou shalt not bore a gentleman!:”


    • Dear Rick:

      Aren’t you adorable? Unless you meant you’re in love with Fred, in which case I think you have a slight problem because his wife may object. More probably she would smile indulgently because I’m sure humanoids of all 17 genders (or however many it is we’re up to) fall in love with Fred with predictable regularity and have for years. One exposure was enough for me!

      However, should I be the subject of your infatuation, I regret that I am very married to the only 20 I know on my list of 20 things a man should have or be, not one of which involves how much hair he has, what he drives, what he weighs, or what his income is–and no, I’m not joking about any of that. If I were acquainted with the Duke of Bath and he conceived a mad passion for me, I might talk to him long enough to disqualify himself, because that is a really spectacular moat around his castle, the library is magnificent, and the accent…still, an unmarried duke must have something seriously wrong with him not to have remarried at his age. For a while the Sultan of Brunei MIGHT have had a chance on the understanding that I got to be Head Wife, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and set foreign policy but it would be so crass to abscond with the treasurary before the Muslim Brotherhood got there, don’t you think?

      As it happens handsome men of your age–mid-thirties?–fall in love with me with charming regularity, but you may be #6 on the list if you wish. I always explain that the lady who is perfect for you will be ready in about 20 years if she is working on it because character and personality develop with age. I wonder, sometimes, if anything happened to my darling Charles, would I marry the one who really does see me as ageless and infinitely desirable although what he fell in love with is my mind, first, and go live in Chile. I think I would! I know he would. I’m 71, and if I’m ever going to do anything really outrageous I should take the next chance offered me, don’t you think? Besides, imagine my children pointing out that he and I are not of the same race, either. I could turn to him in shock and exclaim, “You never told me you aren’t white!” My children would not be amused, but he and I would. I know exactly what he would say: “I’m NOT? Nobody ever mentioned it before!”

      Thank you for a lovely compliment, and if you develop a reprehensible taste for my prose I write frequently at and daily at

      No matter what the NOW crowd says what is really wrong with the world is that there are nine superior men for every superb female, and that is probably a sanguine estimate. Ah, to live in a Robert Heinlein world of group marriages. As one of his characters said, “I can love all the men who are worthy of it.” I figure there are probably six age-appropriate men in America who would be deliciously happy married to me…and I would drive the rest crazy.

      Again, Rick, my thanks, and Charles says that he admires your taste but I’m his. BIG hug and take your time and find someone truly wonderful.


  2. Dear Fred:

    If anything ever happens to Juanita and Carlos can we be room mates? “With benefits,” as I think the youngsters say? Get MARRIED? Whatever for? It would ruin a beautiful friendship. I think you are magnificent and you would think I am the most superlative of my sex…if we could figure out what that is. No, it isn’t that I find women at all attractive (or many men) and I accidentally married the only perfect 20 I know (You’re disqualified because you are already married.) The problem is that I am far more like you think men are than most men, except when it is more efficient to be a “helpless” South’n Belle. I know my rights!

    You missed a major discrimintor, which is what we do when told that we must not mix two chemicals because if we do they will go “boom.” Women don’t even think of mixing them. Men and I want to know immediately where the Clorox, Ammonia, brake fluid and lye are. Of course we don’t know where anything except our tools are. Women are responsible for saying “On top of the refrigerator where you tossed it.”or something dull like “We have lived in this house 3 years and X has NEVER been anywhere except (some stupid place only a female would put it.)”

    You may not even be a 19, now that I think of it. Well…Maybe I’ll only dock you a point and a half because you didnt insist I haul around a junior grade cannon . I’ll bet you a week as a houseguest (our place or yours) that…your Redhawk is a double-action .45 Long Colt that you reload yourself. I am smiling in my repulsive feminine way because I’d show up for a match with a .22 Browning Nomad. it is really very simple: “stopping power = “dead.” I shoot dueling fashion, of course, but I absolve you (after years of being a rabid fan) of using Weaver stance, looking like Red Skelton. (Never change your photo, please.) My stance presents the smallest target, looks as elegant as all get out, and drives men berserk.

    What’s better than guns? Guns the government doesn’t know you have. In theory that is a problem where you live, but I am certain that a regular donation to the Capitan of the Rurales clears up that slight confusion in the laws..My rounds stiil cost a nickel apiece, encouraging practice. I will never understand why men don’t go first for the head shot, supposing the opponent isn’t in full armor. Even then, I’m petite, so supposing the bandido has a face shield if I drop to my left knee I should be able to put a round up under the chin, don’t you think? I;m a great believer in thinking these things out ahead of time. Such as our new librar/computer room which not only has ample room for a billirds table but the length to accomodate an in-door shooting range. Designed it myself.

    Terrific article, of course. How could it not be?

    One reason my 20 adores me is that he said, recently, “You ask the damndest questions!” Well, I want to know, and girls are still given very inferior educations. We had to replace a part on the John Deere last night and I could see instantly what the design flaw was in the piece that failed. We can learn if you treat us like rational beings, you know. How hard could it be? A wire had abraded because the spiral insultion had slipped. If those driving it had had ME for a mother they would have recognized the smell of burning insulation, a scent I teach when a child is six. (Turn machine off. Unplug. Come tell mother.) Anyone paying attentionn would have stopped immediately at the first whiff. A quick repir, and the part would be good for another 6o years.

    Thank you again for all the pleasure you have given me over the years, and if you ever want to visit Bryan-College Station (a real bore, other than me) ask Russell for my e-mail address and I’ll be glad to put you up in one of the motor homes or RVs I refer to as “guest quarters.” Guests are not required to entertain me! I have ample ways to do that. Still, if you get an urge to go hawg or deer hunting, go fishing, play rancher, or just raid our enormous library or find great company, ya’ll come. Russell, you’ve had the same offer for ears. LBT

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