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Author Topic: Theory: The differences between the sexes
Jade Dragon
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Icon 3 posted March 08, 2002 00:17      Profile for Jade Dragon   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ok, bear with me on this one, but I have a theory that my friends and I have put together by pooling our experiences together (both male and female friends)....

The big difference between the sexes, and therefore the big reason why they often don't understand each other basically boils down to this:

Men have one-track minds.
Women are multi-tasking thinkers.

Ok, ok, don't flame me yet! <ducking>

But if you think back, waaaaay back to our wilder ancestors, men were often the hunters and this necessitated a sense of concentration, of keeping the hunt foremost in their mind.

Women were often the gatherers and keepers of the clan. Their responsibilities often include many many things, from having a child strapped to their back, to digging for roots, to caring for elders and medicinal and spiritual practices.

(Ok, so I am simplifying things a bit, but I'm trying not to turn this into a post-doctorate thesis...)

So, keeping in mind that perhaps we have kept some small subconcious portion of our genetic predispositions and/or genetically inherited talents over the generations, some of this all makes a bit more sense.

Even nowadays for example, if you take your average male -- they have a hard time concentrating on more than one thing. Take TV for example -- it just sucks them in like a black hole! Gaming, videos, sports, sex -- all prime examples of where males lose view of reality and focus on *just one thing*...

Now women, on the other hand, are still multi-taskers at heart -- they still often juggle a career and child care, along with much, much more. How many have seen a mother (yours or someone else's) that had a baby on one hip, cooking supper with one hand, the phone on their shoulder and helping the other kid with their homework?

Women also have a brain that seems to constantly work on multiple levels -- we might be thinking about how to solve that weighty problem at work in the background, pass by a window with a sale and calculate how much that would be with tax, all while talking on the cell with a friend. (I'm not stating that these are always "deep thoughts", just lots of them, all the time...)

I myself often find it hard to sleep at night (unless I'm totally exhausted) because I am still going over my mental list of what I need to do the following day and I also replay today's events.

As my other half so quaintly put it:

"You know when a women asks a guy what they're thinking? And the guy says: *Nothing* Well, he's generally right -- guys brains are often like the late late night TV channel that goes beeeeeeeeeep. Nothing there. Except of course when they are thinking of food or sex."

So women are usually much more "multiple channel" thinkers than guys, often over-reading the emotions or reasons why guys do particular things. "Oh, he didn't call me because he doesn't like me anymore!" When it is more likely he lost your phone number, or he totally forgot because he got caught up in a game of Quake or Doom.

I've proposed my theory over the years to dozens of friends and acquaintances, and most agree right off the bat. Some take a while, but come back and usually say, yeah, you seem to have somewhat of a point there...

Now I'm not saying that this theory is absolute. There are always variables to consider, and there are many people who aren't "average". But, I'd like to hear your feedback on this theory, and why you agree or don't agree with it, OK?

Let's try to keep things civil -- after all, it's just a theory, but it would be interesting to add more data and opinions, once you seriously consider how this rates with your own experiences as either a male or female. And of course, we ARE geeks now aren't we? So that should add an interesting viewpoint, right?

So, let's open the floodgates...

------------------
~ Jade Dragon

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spungo
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Icon 1 posted March 08, 2002 03:12      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You're probably right - although I can multi-task to an extent, i.e., by thinking of food and girls at the same time. Also, I'm capable of thinking about several women at once...all in a sorta heap...ummm...ok, I gotta stop now....

But, in general, I'd agree. "..what, you want me to drive and talk to you at the same time? - Oh, look! An IHOP!!!"

------------------
"He's got no books, no radio, no TV - what the hell is he laughing at in there???"


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Icon 1 posted March 08, 2002 05:10      Profile for Swiss Mercenary     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hmm, this seems to explain a lot, about my friends.

I must admit that I do find myself multi-tasking, but never on more than three to four things at once.

Seeme to fit a lot of my friends, especially the non-Geek ones.

I think that you will find most Geeks will not really agree with this assesment for themselves.
Definitly fits them jocks though


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Geordie

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Icon 1 posted March 08, 2002 05:30      Profile for Geordie     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have heard this theory expounded by women before and I think it has some supporting evidence although I am not sure whether the reasons are biological or sociological. As a general way of presupposing behavior it is useful I guess, but i am not sure whether

ooooh doughnuts


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Stormtalon
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Icon 6 posted March 08, 2002 08:59      Profile for Stormtalon   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Jade Dragon is calling us guys single-minded, not 'easily distracted.' Yeesh, you'd think we're all ferrets or something.


Stormtalon


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annie
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Icon 1 posted March 08, 2002 10:47      Profile for annie     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Dragon:

So women are usually much more "multiple channel" thinkers than guys, often over-reading the emotions or reasons why guys do particular things. "Oh, he didn't call me because he doesn't like me anymore!" When it is more likely he lost your phone number, or he totally forgot because he got caught up in a game of Quake or Doom.

I agree with pretty much all you said, but I'm not sure whether this part of it works for me or not. Are you saying that women tend to "over-read" the emotions of because they are "multiple channel thinkers"? I'm just not sure I make the connection here.

I mean, it does make sense that he wouldn't call you because "he has a one track mind" and all he can think about at the moment is his Quake game, that part I get. But what is it that makes the girl think that because he hasn't called her he hates her etc? Where do those thoughts come from?

I guess what I'm saying is that it makes sense that this is one of the differences between men and women, but is it actually one of the causes of all the miscommunication that seems to happen between the sexes?

Surely most of us have had the experience where we say one thing to a member of the opposite sex and we think we're being as clear as day but he/she completely misunderstands us anyway? How does that happen?


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Tech Angel
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Icon 1 posted March 09, 2002 02:43      Profile for Tech Angel     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Dragon:
Ok, bear with me on this one, but I have a theory that my friends and I have put together by pooling our experiences together (both male and female friends)....

The big difference between the sexes, and therefore the big reason why they often don't understand each other basically boils down to this:

Men have one-track minds.
Women are multi-tasking thinkers.


For what it is worth, the average length of the corpus collossum -- that big bundle of nerves that connects the left and right halves of the brain -- is shorter in females than in males. This allows the female brain to more readily exchange information between the left (logical-analytical) hemisphere and the right (emotional-creative) hemisphere. In short, the two halves of the brain are better suited to cooperate with each other in accomplishing mental tasks.

The greater separation of the hemispheres in the male brain allows them to focus better on a singular task, whether analytical or creative, in isolation of other activity.

Neither approach is better or worse than the other -- we're just different. And of course this is just "on average" -- any particular male corpus callossum could be shorter than that in a particular female.

So there is physiological evidence to support this "multitasking/single-track-mind" distinction of yours.

'Course, that doesn't really explain why men insist on never asking for directions...

------------------
"Progress is made by two kinds of people: those smart enough to know it can be done, and those too stupid to know that it can't."


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Angry Rooster
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Icon 3 posted March 09, 2002 03:43      Profile for Angry Rooster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Tech Angel:

'Course, that doesn't really explain why men insist on never asking for directions...

Because his right hemisphere likes to pretend his left hemisphere will figure it out eventually, but due to the longer corpus collossum, doesn't get the message back that this a stupid idea in time to stop himself from stating he knows where he's going to such a degree of certainty, that he can't possibly take it back, even when logic tells him that, oh say, he's never been in this country before, and he can't read the road signs.

I seem to suffer mildly from the single minded thing, but only on the short term... I'll often have serveral current things in my life to ponder over, each of them getting focused on in tandem for a brief period of time. (And boy do I have some free time to cycle them at my job...)

On the larger scale, I seem to have a problem staying focused for extended periods of time on my projects... things such as "actually learn about Linux" and "fix that pinball machine" never get past the "wow, you have a lot of books, and a partition you never boot into" and "great, now you just have to work on your electronics skills"

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--Angry Rooster
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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted March 09, 2002 09:52      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well, as a [male] geek, I tend to think that I am someone multitasking, otherwise I'd use an OS that didn't have good support for it - Linux. I will say that I do often find myself immersed in a project, and I do not wish to be disturbed while I am working on a major coding binge. But my boss often points out that I like to keep my head on a couple of projects at the same time, and this is often true. I will keep my priorities on one project, but if I find something interesting, I will find time to pursue it, and follow up on it in my spare nanoseconds. This nature of mine has led to a cool skunkworks project that would never have been approved otherwise, but that my boss loves the idea of. By researching it on the side, I got it good enough to show him and get him to let me pursue it.
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quantumfluff
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Icon 12 posted March 09, 2002 20:58      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Nope. I don't believe your theory, and I can disprove it in two words - "remote control". If men are one-track while women multitask, how is it that men can watch 37 TV programs simultaneously, while women only watch one?
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TechnoGram
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Icon 1 posted March 09, 2002 21:42      Profile for TechnoGram     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by quantumfluff:
Nope. I don't believe your theory, and I can disprove it in two words - "remote control". If men are one-track while women multitask, how is it that men can watch 37 TV programs simultaneously, while women only watch one?

nope. men watch 37 programs one after the other, not simultaneously, and then one after the other again, and again...

y'all are singlemindedly pressing buttons, not really concentrating on the shows.


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donnab
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Icon 5 posted March 09, 2002 21:53      Profile for donnab         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Tech Angel:
For what it is worth, the average length of the corpus collossum -- that big bundle of nerves that connects the left and right halves of the brain -- is shorter in females than in males. This allows the female brain to more readily exchange information between the left (logical-analytical) hemisphere and the right (emotional-creative) hemisphere. In short, the two halves of the brain are better suited to cooperate with each other in accomplishing mental tasks.

The greater separation of the hemispheres in the male brain allows them to focus better on a singular task, whether analytical or creative, in isolation of other activity.

Neither approach is better or worse than the other -- we're just different. And of course this is just "on average" -- any particular male corpus callossum could be shorter than that in a particular female.

So there is physiological evidence to support this "multitasking/single-track-mind" distinction of yours.

'Course, that doesn't really explain why men insist on never asking for directions...


Tech Angel,

Would this left/right brain connectivity theory explain why I am able to be both an artist & a mathemetician - as well as many other things - all at the same time?

Interesting.

Also, I have noticed that men have no problem asking for directions on Yahoo, but will not stop and ask a "real person".

Donna

------------------
Donna


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Icon 6 posted March 09, 2002 22:36            Edit/Delete Post 
The difference is........
Man has 2 brains: One stationary between the ears the other swings between his legs.

Females just have the one between the ears that's stationary .


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Jade Dragon
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Icon 1 posted March 09, 2002 23:19      Profile for Jade Dragon   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Bubba's X:
The difference is........
Man has 2 brains: One stationary between the ears the other swings between his legs.

I've heard a saying that God (Goddess) only gave Man enough blood to run one "brain" at a time... <snicker>


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Tech Angel
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Icon 10 posted March 10, 2002 11:21      Profile for Tech Angel     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by donnab:
Tech Angel,

Would this left/right brain connectivity theory explain why I am able to be both an artist & a mathemetician - as well as many other things - all at the same time?


Donna,

Of course, that connectivity is not a black-and-white affair. All people can multitask or be single-minded -- it's just that men "as a group" tend to lean toward more focused activites or interests, while women as a group lean more toward processing more information (including feelings), but in a more general way. Likewise, boys/men tend to be "better" at math skills while girls/women tend to be better with linguistical tasks. But that doesn't mean any one particular woman couldn't whip the pants off any one particular guy at mathematics. And any one male author could be far better at using language than any one particular woman. (Though the reason for the "boys like math, girls like writing" semi-myth is also rooted in their culturally-defined social roles.)

And then you get into the differences between left- and right-handers, and the effects of having the language center located in the left hemisphere and other functions in the right, and why different people have different learning styles, and ... and ... oh, it's all so complex and multidimensional!

(This brain stuff interests me, as if you couldn't tell. )

But I still think the most intriguing aspects of the differences between men and women are those widespread and well-accepted differences that "everyone" observes and knows but that can't really be nailed down to a particular cause. They could be because of differences in the brain, or they could be culturally-imposed, or perhaps a combination of the two. Why do men seem less likely to ask for directions? Why do women seem to be less decisive than men? (Notice I included the word "seem" in each case, to play it safe. ) Is it nature? Is it nurture? Is it just a socially-convenient myth?

I don't know, but it leads to fascinating conversations and an endless source or humor: "Moses wandered in the desert with the Israelites for 40 years before they reached the Promised Land. See, even back then men refused to ask for directions!"

------------------
"Progress is made by two kinds of people: those smart enough to know it can be done, and those too stupid to know that it can't."


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Max Heck
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Icon 1 posted March 10, 2002 17:05      Profile for Max Heck     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hmmm..

Well, I do have to agree with TechAngel in that it's a spectrum... I'd take that a step further, and say it's an N-dimensional bell curve, with your "average" Jack or Jill representing the peak, and us weirdos happily fanning out in all directions. Pretty much the same way I've argued sexuality is, in other places on the net. (don't ask)

Yes, there's anecdotal stories that lead one to believe "yes, women are one way, men are the other" but yeah, that really is generalizing.

I've been friends / lovers / associates with women who were extremely focused on tasks, I've also been with women who were extremely vague and confused. (Actually, these have been the same women!) I've been with women who were exceptional writers, and I've been with women who got their degrees in mathematics from Ivy League colleges. (Again, sometimes the same women)

Ya know what?

I've also met men who were the same way.

I think the trick is to enjoy what different people have their strength in, and appreciate it.

(shrug) my two cents.

Max.


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The Pope of Perl
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Icon 1 posted March 10, 2002 17:51      Profile for The Pope of Perl     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame, though I hope everyone knows that) said the same thing in The Dilbert Future.

I'd have to say that normally, I multitask (yes, I'm a male) on a number of things if they're not too mentally consuming. (I'm not going to try to learn complex analysis while hacking the Pentagon.) For simple things, I can truly multitask, like when I'm giving a customer back his change while trying to figure out what is wrong with a broken guitar. Otherwise, I multitask like a computer by mentally switching between tasks. I especially multitask when one of the things I'm doing (and have to do) is boring. Of course, I don't bother multitasking when I actually have to focus on something.

(Apologies for bad structure in this post. I'm sick, and have barely enough energy to type.)

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He's back, and this time it's personal!


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ZorroTheFox
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Icon 1 posted March 10, 2002 19:57      Profile for ZorroTheFox   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
there are just too many difference between the sexes as well as within the sexes for any theory to be accurate, but I still enjoy seeing someone try to explain them..........Z
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Charisma
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Icon 1 posted March 10, 2002 20:34      Profile for Charisma   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Awww... I was hoping this thread was just about women... oh well...

Hey! Food!

------------------
"Hacking is not a
crime... no wait, it is."


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Tau Zero
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Icon 1 posted March 11, 2002 13:27      Profile for Tau Zero     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Dragon:
I've heard a saying that God (Goddess) only gave Man enough blood to run one "brain" at a time... <snicker>

I can't seem to find it via any search engines, but I think you mean this:

"A man in erection cannot think; there is no blood left to go to his brain."

It would not surprise me if this is a Heinlein quip, attributed to Lazarus Long.


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quantumfluff
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Icon 1 posted March 11, 2002 19:14      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by TechnoGram:
nope. men watch 37 programs one after the other, not simultaneously, and then one after the other again, and again...

Ah, but that's exactly what multitasking actually is. The only time you really focus on two tasks at once is if you have multiple CPUs.

In this case we use the spinal stem to control the remote control buttons (think a channel program (pun intended) from the 360 architecture), while the brain unit concentrates on analyzing the data. This, of course, means advanced image processing to select the car chases and the women with big knockers.


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donnab
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Icon 1 posted March 11, 2002 19:17      Profile for donnab         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Tech Angel:
Donna,
But I still think the most intriguing aspects of the differences between men and women are those widespread and well-accepted differences that "everyone" observes and knows but that can't really be nailed down to a particular cause. They could be because of differences in the brain, or they could be culturally-imposed, or perhaps a combination of the two. Why do men seem less likely to ask for directions? Why do women seem to be less decisive than men? (Notice I included the word "seem" in each case, to play it safe. ) Is it nature? Is it nurture? Is it just a socially-convenient myth?

I don't know, but it leads to fascinating conversations and an endless source or humor: "Moses wandered in the desert with the Israelites for 40 years before they reached the Promised Land. See, even back then men refused to ask for directions!"


Tech Angel,
I literally laughed out loud upon reading your post.

After 14 years of driving junk cars and saving up, I decided to buy my "dream car". I went out and bought a Camaro Z28 with a Corvette engine. Since then I have received the following reactions from men:

An male engineer where I work told me, "If you let someone who really knew how to drive take you for a ride in that car, you would see what it could really do."

Another male engineer suggested that my husband was just letting me drive his car.

The service tech at the place I bought it, after driving it into the service bay and telling me that he had never driven one of those "Corvette engines" and saying how when he stepped on the gas that "the car nearly took off out from under him" asked me, "Can you just tell me one thing? Why does a nice little lady like you want to drive a car like this?" I looked him in the eye and said, "I LIKE driving fast cars."

Looks like I'm in for this for the long haul....

Men. You gotta love 'em.

------------------
Donna


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Tech Angel
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Icon 6 posted March 12, 2002 01:04      Profile for Tech Angel     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by donnab:
Tech Angel,
I literally laughed out loud upon reading your post.

After 14 years of driving junk cars and saving up, I decided to buy my "dream car". I went out and bought a Camaro Z28 with a Corvette engine. Since then I have received the following reactions from men:.......


Rather presumptuous of those fellows, wouldn't you say? I think the volumes on their stereotypes are turned up too loud.

You know what I've noticed, though, over all these years? To a large number of men, the sexiest women around are those who are feminine in every way, save for one. For some reason, having a single decidedly masculine trait or interest or talent amongst the more taken-for-granted feminine ones seems to turn them on. Don't know why, but you see it in the media a lot (take a look at the female heroines in action movies). And I'm not just talking about a pretty face with the ability to kickbox. (bringing it into relevance here...) Men also seem more than a little intrigued by a woman who knows her way around cars, or who can outprogram her colleagues.

So enjoy your Z28 -- you go!

- Angel

------------------
"Progress is made by two kinds of people: those smart enough to know it can be done, and those too stupid to know that it can't."


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FatGnome
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Icon 1 posted March 12, 2002 09:16      Profile for FatGnome     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well my 2 cents on the issues at hand...

Well from what I have seen if you take things like math or any other subject that you have to go step by step in a single order that never changes usualy (meaning on average) men will get through the problem faster than women will. This is because all of our processing power goes straight to that one problem and we generaly don't have the ability to let something else get in the way. Girls on the other hand will probably and usualy also think about something other than the problem while completing it. Depenind on how "hard" the problem is this may or may not be a factor though. I mean something simple like finding the roots of Polynomials doesn't take a genious but takes time for the pencil to write down (I am talking about long hand and not using a calculator)

On the other hand something like writing a short fictional story may be easier for a woman because she would be thinking about several differant plot twists or new charecters that they could put in. Guys will tend to get one story with a set group of charecters in it and off with those and not deviate even though there may be a better idea out there. The woman will probably find the better idea in that case.

As for coding in my experiance most of my guy friends will go on Coding binges and will be shut off in their rooms doing nothing but writing code because they simply forget to go eat or get ahold of their girl friends on the phone. They turn out excelent code in a small amount of time although they get sick fairly often. Women on the other hand tend to still go out and eat and socialize instead of killing themselves over some visual basic program that the proff. just gave them. They will usualy take only a day longer and will turn out just as good of a program as their male counter part.

These are all examples of out "wilder ancestors." traits. This isn't realy a new theory I have heard it all my life because my mom said that a "game" she and her friends used to do was that the girls would call guys half-wits (because they only use one half of their brains at a time) and the guys would call the girls scatter-brains. They just did it in fun but they learned about it in phsyc class.

Oops almost forgot that I have class to attend (I keep getting sucked into message boards)


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Icon 1 posted March 12, 2002 20:09      Profile for Bregalad     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Tau Zero:
I can't seem to find it via any search engines, but I think you mean this:

"A man in erection cannot think; there is no blood left to go to his brain."


I heard it from Robin Williams as:

"God gave man a penis and a brain, and only enough blood to run one at a time."


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