Skepticism

Oprah: How to be More Manly

Oh look, a quiz to find out what women can learn from men, courtesy of OPRAH! Or Oprah’s copywriters. Let’s start learning, girls!

Believe it or not, there are a few manly virtues worth swiping. Characterizing some traits as classically male means generalizing shamelessly, but a number of interesting women think we can learn a thing or two from the hairier sex. Take the quiz below and see what testosterone filled advice just may help you out.

1. While shopping at a ritzy boutique, you spot the perfect handbag—but it’s far too expensive for your pocketbook. When the sales clerk asks if she can wrap up the bag, you:
Feel pressured into buying the bag.
Decide the bag isn’t “perfect” after all, and pretend to be interested in something else.

B, but really I’d probably just grab it and run. Handbags are more important than freedom.

2. You have five projects going on at once. Your deadline is approaching and you are feeling extremely overwhelmed, you:
Close your door at work, cry, and feel much better.
Try to make light of the situation by laughing, cracking jokes, and as soon as you leave the office you break down.

Um, why do both options involve breaking down? My answer is C: talk to coworkers and boss and find solutions for reassigning projects to people with more time, and also to see which deadlines might be flexible. But I’m just a stupid girl, so what do I know?

The amazing thing is that after submitting my quiz, I discovered that B is the correct answer (which I guessed): “Stoicism certainly works for you. You are in control of your emotions—which is key at work.” Excuse me? Breaking down when you get home from work is not something that “works” for me. If your job causes that much emotional distress, get a new one, sister.

3. While out with friends, you begin talking passionately about one of your favorite topics. When your husband chimes in, he continually plays devil’s advocate. You:
Feel attacked and wonder why he’s putting down your ideas.
Shrug it off. He’s exploring your ideas, not tearing them apart—nothing personal.

Sorry, but I’m going to have to go C again: Tell him to cut it the hell out. Later, we can talk about what annoyed me and why he should not be such a dick in the future.

4. You’ve just started a new entry-level job, you:
Make as many connections as you can. You aggressively pursue opportunities to work above and beyond your responsibilities because you feel you have a lot to contribute—and people will appreciate you more.
Start to make connections, but stay within your boundaries. You feel if you work hard you will be rewarded—you don’t want to seem too pushy.

I prefer to just quietly change the grease traps and not spit in the special sauce.

5. Faced with an uncomfortable situation, what are you most likely to do?
Avert eye contact, mumble, or act shy.
Face things squarely, make a joke, or distance yourself.

Why is “break down crying” not an option?

6. In conversation, you’re more likely to:
Talk the entire time.
Sit back and listen.

Again: break down crying.

Okay, actually I chose A, “Talk the entire time,” even though I only do that when drinking. In everyday conversation, I act like a normal human being and engage the other person with a combination of talking about myself and being genuinely interested in him. The correct answer? B. “You could learn from the silence of strong men, you know, the strong, silent type.”

Oh, shut up.

7. You’re captain of your community softball league, and you’re in the playoffs. One of your starting players gets injured, and you have to choose a replacement. Janet is a know-it-all, but you’re sure she will get the job done. Mary has worked hard to improve her skills, but you risk losing the game. Who do you choose?
Janet
Mary

Janet. There are no second chances when it comes to community softball.

8. You are the head of business development for a major corporation. You just gave the presentation of your life to a potential client. You:
Let everyone know how well you think it went. You go ahead and say you think you have the deal.
Keep your thoughts to yourself. Even with a stellar performance you’re unsure of the client’s feeling and therefore, the final outcome.

Wait. Girls can’t head business development for major corporations!

According to the quiz, I’m man enough to succeed in business. Hooray, thanks Oprah!

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Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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34 Comments

  1. I'm just concerned that there was no option involving "have a good cry" when it came to picking between Janet and Mary. We all know "girls" are indecisive after all, and there's nothing they like more than having a good cry together! Why, I'll bet they'd forget about the whole softball game and the manager, Janet, Mary, and every other lady in attendance would have a big ol'cryfest.

    Then they'd play light as a feather, stiff as a board and make out a little.

    Tell me where I'm wrong. :-D

  2. I think they're talking about in an "alternate plane of existence" or something involving quantum mechanics, Joshua. Thank God I'm a Goddam American, and not living there! Hyuk Hyuk. What are women doing on the internet anyway? Hmmm… I call shenanigans!

  3. "While out with friends, you begin talking passionately about one of your favorite topics. When your husband chimes in, he continually plays devil’s advocate. You:"

    Have the waitress distract him by bringing him a large piece of red meat, then turn your attention to your friends as he chows down like the caveman he is. Continue your conversation, occasionally turning to him and saying, "Good boy!"

    Duh.

  4. In conversation, you're more likely to:

    Your answer: Sit back and listen.

    Comments about your answer: You are the strong, silent type. Chances are if someone asked you what you were thinking, you'd have some pretty interesting things to say!

    Luckily they won't because I'm a silly girl and no one cares what I think!

    3. While out with friends, you begin talking passionately about one of your favorite topics. When your husband chimes in, he continually plays devil’s advocate. You:

    Feel attacked and wonder why he’s putting down your ideas.

    Shrug it off. He’s exploring your ideas, not tearing them apart—nothing personal.

    I think this is my favorite. What about "Engage him in conversation. Listen to his ideas, consider them and challenge him back. It's that type of intellectual stimulation that drew you to him in the first place." Oh, I forgot, the only kind of stimulation allowable for women involves purses and shoes. Stimulation of either the sexual or intellectual kind is icky and wrong.

    I hate Oprah with the fire of a thousand suns.

  5. They almost caught me on that last one, too.

    For that matter, what’s a woman doing coaching a softball team? Sure, they can play softball, sissified sport that it is, but coaching is a man’s work.

  6. Ok, here’s the real man choice:

    1-C: note down the make and model number then go home and look it up on ebay.

    2-C: publically admonish yourself for not being able to manage your time worth a damn, and ask for help or an extension.

    3-C: enjoy your partner’s assistance in propping up the other side of the debate; you might learn something.

    the others are less stupid – when I was making up a third man-like option all I could be was fecetious, so I haven’t bothered.

  7. I’ll add to the “None of the Above” list.

    1. C. What do you mean, I can’t afford it?! I’m the head of business development for a major corporation! One of each color, please.

    2. C. Instead of wasting time laughing or crying, I sit my butt down in my chair, prioritize my projects, work through my to-do list, and celebrate afterwards with a nice dinner and a well-earned shot of top-shelf whiskey.

    3. C. My husband is not OUT with me and my friends. They irritate him, and he’s perfectly happy playing computer games with HIS friends, so why mess with a good thing?

    4. C. Offer to do the donut run. Fresh air, break from work, and I get to pick out my favorite donuts. Donuts transcend gender boundaries.

    5. C. I am far too confident in myself as a strong and empowered woman to even HAVE an uncomfortable situation. Situations get uncomfortable around me, not vice versa.

    6. C. Not bother tracking who talks more or who listens more, have a fabulous time, have one too many rum & Cokes, and lose fifty bucks playing poker. That sounds like way more fun.

    7. What, you can’t replace a starter partway through? Geez, lady! Let Mary start, cheer her on, and pull her if she screws up! Was that so difficult?

    8. C. “Well, even if the whole thing tanks, at least I have this great bag!”

  8. 5. C. I am far too confident in myself as a strong and empowered woman to even HAVE an uncomfortable situation. Situations get uncomfortable around me, not vice versa.

    Improbable, you cracked me up. Well done.

    So Phil tried to deny me, but it won’t work… How much will it cost me to get you two to do a duet together?

    More money than you have, I’m guessing! Ha . . .

  9. The whole "men and women are different and here is what we can learn from it" thing jumped the shark ages ago. It's been hijacked by people with various agendas. Whatever truth there is in it has been smothered by the people who have discovered it makes a good bludgeon to make other people change to suit them.

  10. Mmm. Just what I’ve always wanted in a girl– Manliness.

    Come to think of it, that may work! I guess the whole vagina and breast thing is kinda a turn-off, but I’m sure gay-guy/woman bed-death would hit quickly anyway.
    Then again, I’d start having an affair with some guy… and so would she.

  11. 3. While out with friends, you begin talking passionately about one of your favorite topics. When your husband chimes in, he continually plays devil’s advocate.

    You:

    Don't have any friends because you're too busy improving your life through quizzes on Oprah.com

    But one day you will have friends. And you can tell them all about how you used to drown puppies in the river, but now you're on the fast track to sainthood thanks to online 10-question 2-option questionnaires.

  12. How about the option that involves growing up and not being manipulated or manipulating and taking responsibility or some such non gender specific reasonable choice???? Me thinks people get what they deserve in social and work interactions more often than not, and not being up front about work not done or spending what you don’t have are not gender specific issues. And my wife calls me on my blustering bull shit arguments better than any of my golf buddies so why would I even be there?

    Well, for the record; I like my women the way I like my coffee– Bitter.</blockquote

    I like women my women like my coffee also…. Strong, assertive, complex and well rounded.

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