Lesiure Time is Not Equal Between the Sexes

By Robert Kirby, Salt Lake Tribune, June 17, 1999

With the national divorce rate at 50 percent and climbing like a Mark McGwire homer, yet another study proves that the strong physical attraction between male and female is one of God's best (if crueler) practical jokes. Others include France and Congress.

Not only are men and women at least five distinct and separate genders, we worship different gods, have opposing views on such exact sciences as toilet-seat positioning, and cannot agree on the relative merits of friends like Larry Erdmann.

Thanks to a recent study, we know that men and women have different amounts of leisure time. Please do not confuse "leisure" with "lingerie," a French word pronounced "lin-gur-ee."

"Leisure," another French word, is pronounced "lay-sur-ray," and comes from the archaic Gaul phrase "to lay about besotted with swine" or possibly "a round of debauched golf."

So, unless you are an idiot or a first-year student at Cal-Berkeley, it should come as no surprise that women have 50 percent less lay-sur-ray time than do men. If the persons who did this study were not Canadian, strong argument would exist for their being electrocuted for wasting federal funds.

Sixty married couples kept daily journals describing how they spent their week. On weekdays, men and women had about the same amount of leisure -- six hours, or about the same amount of time it takes to talk a 5-year-old into locating and donning a pair of pajamas.

Weekends told a different story. On Saturday and Sunday, women averaged 8.1 hours of leisure per day, whereas men kicked back a whopping 11.77 hours.

Several explanations were examined, including scientific accusations of a pathological male inclination toward laziness, and a God-probably-doesn't-even-know-where-it-comes-from female compulsion to nitpick.

Ultimately, it was determined that the disparity existed because men typically work a 9-to-5 schedule, and view their off-duty hours as a time for recreation, some involving getting lay-sur-rayed to the point of injury and incarceration.

Meanwhile, working women see themselves as having primary responsibility for the household. This includes cooking, cleaning, nurturing and other stuff that would be a lot more important to men if only there were a legitimate way of keeping score.

Seriously, this is why you never see housework in the playoffs. Men will sit in front of the tube and watch two yoo-hoos catch bass, but we can't be bothered to comb the hair of our offspring. You cannot figure a respectable set of averages in stuff like this. I tried.

Two years ago, I came up with a set of rules for cleaning the bathroom. I was doing great into the semi-finals, but then it occurred to me that there was no dignity in bragging to friends about beating bathtub grout by 23 points.

More important, there is the significant issue of product-endorsement money. Being guys, men understand that this kind of financial glory is possible only through diligent use of leisure time. You won't get it doing housework.

As you can see, the study on leisure time and the genders is seriously flawed. It is not that men are lazier than women, but rather that our values are structured differently. Or maybe it is that women actually have values.

It is genetic. Women take pride in nurturing. Men take pride in doing battle "vicariously," which is yet another French word that means literally, "Leave me alone. The Jazz are playing tonight."

Some women think men's enjoyment in doing battle through a painfully contrived conflict like golf is no longer necessary in modern society. They fail to understand that it is precisely this important biological skill that helps us stay married to them at least 50 percent of the time.

Back to Lori's Humor Page