The One-Sided Power of Love

Originally published in the Chesterfield Observer - February 2011  

Men dread the middle of February, and not just because the Super Bowl is over, and baseball season is a month and a half away.

The reason: Valentine’s Day. Look, we went Christmas shopping for our wives just 59 days ago (do the math), and now we have to do it again?

To these men I say: What’s wrong with you? Valentine’s Day is the ultimate celebration of how good men have it in life!

In the game of love, men are always the Harlem Globetrotters, and women are always the Washington Generals.

Blame it on the power of love. Blame it on evolution. Blame it on God (but do it tactfully, you know, just in case). But the result never changes: Women are stuck with men. It ain’t fair, but that’s life.

And it really isn’t fair. I mean, look at us men! We’re uncommunicative. We’re typically smelly and often disgusting. We’re hairy and getting hairier, except ironically on our heads. Not every older man is hairy, but that’s just because they work at it. In truth, there comes a point in every man’s life when he starts getting razor cuts on his ears, and not because the razor slipped up there from his cheek.

Poor women. How did this happen?

There is the theological perspective: In the Old Testament, Adam and Eve eat of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden (it’s not productive right now to get into a he said-she said-He said on whose idea it was). God punished both, but Eve got the worst of it – not only would she now have to endure painful childbirth, but God said that in sorrow (and I quoteth) “thy desire shall be to thy husband.”

That’s right: God’s punishment for women was that they would desire their husband! And they call Him a merciful God?

I’m sure there are examples from other religions, but my deadline for this column was last night, so I’m going to push on.

There’s also evolutionary grounding: Recently the Washington Post reported that “when kissing, a woman is attracted to a man who smells like he has different immunity DNA.” For example, men are not immune to making rude noises, but are immune (generally) to shopping, as in: We HATE to shop. I’d rather watch The View than shop. And I’d rather chop off my toes with a cold butter knife than watch The View.

So blame it on DNA, which stands for “Don’t (got) No Alternative.”

Finally, there is the power of love, a theory introduced by Dr. Huey Lewis in 1985 and reinforced seven years earlier by Scott Peck in, his book The Road Less Traveled, in which he describes the irresistible, tsunami-like – but temporary – feeling of falling in love. Thank God for temporary insanity!

So it’s a lock theologically, genetically and pop culturally. This is why an otherwise sane man would incur the Pajama-Gram (mail-order sleepwear) TRIPLE risk: 1. Giving unmentionables (presumptuous); 2. Guessing on the size (I don’t know my own sizes); and 3. Mail-ordering said unmentionables (making the inevitable mistake unfixable).

Yes, love is a wonderful thing.

Especially for men.


Retrospective Notes for The One-Sided Power of Love

  • My editor thought “disgusting” was too strong a word to use when describing men. That editor is a woman. Classic Stockholm Syndrome.
  • Now, in 2015, the “Washington Generals” reference has as much relevance to most readers as a reference to Martin Van Buren, who, for the benefit of those same readers, was neither a Washington General nor a piece of furniture.
  • I wrote this in 2011 and, in 2015, The View inexplicably is still on the air.
  • Regarding my reference to Genesis 3:16 and the sorrow of God making women desire their husbands as punishment, my editor wrote me and said, “I’m not sure that’s what that means….” See, this is the problem with some editors: They are always so insistent on accuracy, or at least reasonable interpretation. Honestly, it gets in the way of making a point sometimes.
  • In retrospect, I should have added additional information on how insane it is for a man to order pajamas for his wife by mail order.


Chuck Hansen’s books are available at Nose-Sucker Thingees, Weeds Whacking Back & Cats in the Bathtub (a collection of humor essays) and Build Your Castles in the Air: Thoreau’s Inspiring Advice for Success in Business (and Life) in the 21st Century