DNA: The Moral Difference between Guys and Girls

DNA: The Moral Difference between Guys and Girls

 

Where is that fine line between girls and women and guys and men? How does attending church dressed in pigtails relate to hitting the arcades and playing pointless video games? While these appear to be troubling questions; the answers have a fair amount of details.

In examining essays regarding morality and gender, Dave Barry and Kathleen Norris give vivid examples within their writings, expressing the important key points at hand. Barry shines a shimmering light on the average “guy,” while Norris illuminates us with her colorful take on girls in church.

Now, the question is, what can we take from these open-minded beings while learning about ourselves? Dave Barry shows the brighter side of being a “guy,” in his essay, “Guys vs. Men;” in addition, Kathleen Norris paints for us her picture of little girls being dragged to church.

Dave Barry clearly states that his essay, “Guys vs. Men,” is directed towards guys, claiming that there are already enough serious books based on men. According to Barry, men are more prone to relate themselves to Manhood. Barry believes the direct result is found in sheer stupidity. “The Men’s Movement” is a major factor is dubbing a band name for males, says Barry. The writer wonders if guys even do have so-called inner-most feelings, referring to his point that guys don’t think much.

Barry explains four major characteristics that connect guys to guyhood; one of the four being that guys enjoy having neat stuff. The example Barry gives involves owning computers, each guy wanting one having more power than the last. Barry claims that typing unnecessary words is completely absurd for his powerful pc. According to the writer, the computer would much rather sit and hum with extreme impatience. Barry knows that while his current computer is suffering from easy work, he will be investing in an even more qualified computer. For the author, NASA’s Space Shuttle is the prime example of guy drive to simply watch humans float in space. Barry shares his insight on “Guy Heaven” with the fact that guys can play around with any mechanical contraption, getting it to work once every blue moon, resulting in breaking, giving guys the ageless excuse to do it again. Barry make a reference to women in the sense that without guys, there’d be no Star Wars or nuclear weapons, just as without women, there’d be no rearranging of furniture every week. Barry digs into this idea by simply saying that a woman would gladly lift her couch and chairs, a job most men are built for. In addition, she would keep her fifty-three year old computer without wasting money on a more powerful one. The writer states that guys find they live in different houses periodically while still maintaining the same address. Barry rightfully admits that he is making gender-based criticisms, feeling that had God wanted not to, she would not have given us the option of genders.

The second characteristic Barry explains is that guys have a need for pointless challenges. Barry overhears his co-workers babbling about how fast they can run a forty-yard dash. The writer explains these guys are middle-age journalists whose greatest workout involves a vending machine. According to Barry, this all started when one co-worker, Mike Wilson, turned in a story regarding a high school star football player who can run the forty-yard dash in 4.38 seconds. Barry was tired of hearing the constant bragging between his co-workers, so he spoke up by shouting that he could beat Tom’s time of 5.75 seconds. During his run, Barry’s left hamstring popped, resulting in Tom and Mike having to help him off the field. Tom was kind enough to give Barry a call at home just to say, “You didn’t beat my time.” Thus, proving the point Barry made accusing guys having needs for pointless challenges.

To start off his next guy characteristic, Barry states that guys do not have a moral code. The writer explains that guys do have that capability to do bad things, they just choose not to, except when they try to be Men or simply stupid. Barry believes this Moral Code that guys haven’t quite grasped yet, was invented around a million years ago by women while the guys were busy with their burping contests. Barry uses his dog Zippy as an example to demonstrate why guys still haven’t been able to follow this ancient code. The writer explains that Zippy, a male dog, is told not to get into the garbage or crap on the carpet; however, Zippy still disobeys him simply because he doesn’t understand why he was told not to. To Barry, guys and dogs are the same with the exception of height differences and amount of hair. Barry admits that, for the most part, guys are scum; especially when it comes to how they respect their mates. Barry wraps his present thought regarding that when out of town; guys with an open opportunity—will still manage to poop on the carpet.

The final characteristic of guys Barry explains is that, commonly guys aren’t the best at communicating their feelings, if they have any at all. Barry gives a helpful example of why women find this statement so agonizing. A guy minds his own business by reading his newspaper when the phone rings. After sharing a brief conversation, the guys hangs up the phone just as his wife walks in. Naturally, the wife asks, “Honey, who was that?” Her husband responds with, “Phil Wonkerman’s mom.” Barry briefly explains that Phil is an old friend they haven’t heard from or seen in over seventeen years. The wife asks what Phil’s mom said. All the husband could reply with was, “She said Phil is fine.”

Barry shows that by the tone of the guy’s voice, he’s hinting to his wife he wishes to not be disturbed. The wife ignores this, and refuses to let his simple answer go. Barry explains the reason why the guy did not give his wife a detailed answer was because the truth is that Phil murdered, was a drug addict, cheating with a nun, and was promised to a Grateful Dead member. However, according to Barry, the wife was much more interested in every single detail. Barry gives, yet another example explaining that when women come to a reunion, they sit and talk for what seems like hours to guys, while guys who reunite would much rather see who can beat Level 24 on the video game, “Arkaniod.”

To conclude, Barry restates that guys and men share different psyches of the male mind. The writer feels it would be beneficial if more males would settle for being guys rather than men. Barry says that on the plus side, women would be much happier with guys because they can now relax; knowing that very little goes on in their heads. Barry restates his major point being that both genders should have a better understanding of the term, “guyness.” Barry leaves his essay with the fact that every statement you will read is either based on real tests, or he simply just made it up. Either way, Barry claims he can be trusted because…well…he’s a guy.

Right off the bat, Dave Barry brings clarity to his point that “guys” and “men” may share the same DNA, but are different in every other way. For example, guys are more lenient to the idea of belching contests while men go off being “manly” by becoming stupid. However, belching isn’t even the half of it. Guys will go out and empty their wallets on a computer that outdates their current one by six months. What is the point? The point is that guys apparently enjoy “neat stuff.” They will go and pay for a useless piece of technology and then complain when their wives decide to give their living room a new makeover. Men would probably just waltz in, yell at their wives for a second or two, then proceed to their usual comfy chair and watch football.

To see who can out-run who, men would just state the winner by simply picking the one who looks like he’d win, hands down. On the other hand, guys won’t just settle for that outcome. No. They must bring out the stopwatch and have a full-out race. When one guy runs his mouth too much, he may end up paying the price by having to be carried off the track. Guys don’t care just as long as they can guarantee their win over their opponent.

Another simply pointless challenge I see guys do every day is video games. Ever wonder why at arcades, guys are always betting their silly monopoly money on who can win the most battles on Street Fighter? Because guys will give anything to beat any opponent they are faced against. Even a girl. I can recall a time when my boyfriend and I were playing an easy game of Air Hockey. The object is to be the first player to reach seven points. Naturally, I thought of myself as a good opponent. I won the first two points and my boyfriend won the next three. He was really starting to sweat it. I could tell he wasn’t just going to let me win on any account. He was all about beating me…at an easy game of Air Hockey. How pointless is that? Pointless is correct. Guys can and will do anything to beat their opponent, male or female.

Yet, a “pointless challenge” isn’t the only thing that gets a guy fired up. Ever heard of the Basic Human Moral Code? Well, I hadn’t either, until I read Barry’s essay, “Guys vs. Men,” and within the pages, he claims this code was written by women way back when, while the guys were off having stupid fun. This historical code of morals must be pretty darn ancient, since no man can ever quite crack it. However, women are somehow born with it encoded into their DNA structure, because women know when guys are not getting it, and thus, results in guys getting into Big Trouble. Barry doesn’t specify what the Basic Human Moral Code entails, probably because he is a guy, and guys don’t have this infused into their brains. Instead, the women do. Well, being a woman, myself, I believe the Basic Human Moral Code must have something to do with manners and etiquette, and such.

I love Barry’s example of his dog, Zippy. In his essay, he clearly says that Zippy is a “guy” dog, who loves to poop anywhere and gets into the trash. While this is a reminder that “guy” dogs are just their human counterparts on all fours, they are not the only ones. Female dogs get into this kind of mischief as well. My family’s dog, Rascal, from what I can remember, always got into our trash, and never had any sense of control of where she was going to crap. My point is that even though Barry uses this example to explain that guys are the same whether human or mutt, I have seen firsthand that female dogs do it too.

One of the most aggravating concepts a woman cannot seem to grasp, besides her dog’s behavior, is that of a guy’s mind. In clearer detail, that of a guy’s sensitive mind. In reference to Barry, he portrays a woman who wants to hear every single intricate detail of a conversation her husband was having on the phone. How rude is this? A woman should not expect her husband to honestly tell her exactly what he heard from the party on the other end. She should respect her husband for telling her who he talked to. Some guys might not even do that. If she really wanted to know the whole truth, she should just redial the phone and get an answer herself. This way, less pressure is put on the guy.

I do believe that when guys get together for a reunion, they would rather cut the chit-chat and get on with the video games. Women, on the other hand, will sit down and get real emotional real quick. Guys don’t see this ever happening in “guy world.” It’s just simply not done.

Barry’s main point does give away the generalization of his essay. I agree with him when he states that both genders should better understand “guyness.” Then all women would finally comprehend why it is that guys take the time to find an appropriate spitting spot. This still is very confusing to me. The fact of the matter is that “guys” and “men” are different with the exception of DNA, but “guys” and “women” are completely different; even down to their DNA. How true that statement is.

Kathleen Norris questions faith through the eyes of a young pig-tailed girl in her captivating poem, “Little Girls in Church.” Norris begins her first stanza stating:

I’ve made friends

with a five-year-old

Presbyterian.

 

The poet succeeds in developing this delicate picture of two young girls dressed in nothing short of Shirley Temple curls and frilly outfits that itch. Norris also states the friend her young narrator met, is Presbyterian. Norris goes on in simply saying the young starlets are bored. The poet paints the image of the naïve Presbyterian using a borrowed pencil to draw a moon surrounded by stars; below, the pencil is being maneuvered across the paper to create the landscape of a grassy field. The narrator names the stars one by one, using large printed letters.

Norris continues her poem explaining how the Orthodox liturgy is typically casual as well as intimate:

Just last week,

in New York City, the Orthodox liturgy

was typically intimate,

casual. An old woman greeted the icons

one by one

and fell asleep

during the Great Litany.

People went in and out,

To smoke cigarettes and chat on the steps.

 

The poet is making it a point that the Orthodox liturgy is so casual that attendants are free to take time to have a casual smoke while an elderly woman greets icons, eventually falling asleep.

Norris deepens her irony within this poem by provoking her readers’ attention:

A girl with long brown braids

was led to the icons

by her mother. They kissed each one,

and the girl made a confession

to the youngest priest. I longed to hear it,

to know her name.

 

By explaining her irony, Norris describes a third girl being forced by her mother to confess something of meaning. These “icons” the poet mentions haven’t a name nor a description. Norris simply uses the icons to portray “idols” young Presbyterians follow, believe in, and ultimately confess to.

In her second stanza of this poem, Norris begins to show her relation to the young girls previously mentioned:

I worry for the girls.

I once had braids,

and wore lace that made me suffer.

I had not yet done the things

that would need forgiving.

 

Norris puts herself back in the shoes of a five-year-old girl all prettied-up in similar braids and a dress that bared suffering lace. Regarding the previously mentioned confession, the poet reveals she has yet to sin for forgiveness, unlike the young girl with long braided hair.

In the final scene from her poem, Norris shows that believability is truly in the eyes of the beholder:

The music brought me back

from time to time,

in the great breathing body

of a congregation.

And once in Paris, as

I stepped into Notre Dame

to get out of the rain,

the organist began to play:

I stood rooted to the spot,

Looked up, and believed.

 

It didn’t last.

 

Norris truly connects to her narrator in this passage; she opens our eyes to the believability that one single shred of joy from our early childhood can forever change our ongoing outlook into our adult lives.

In reading Kathleen Norris’ intriguing poem, “Little Girls in Church,” her words bring me back to my early memories of church. I clearly remember getting all excited to go to Sunday school because I’d get to see my friends and sing church tunes.

During morning church service, my friend and I would doodle similarly to the young girls in Norris’ poem. Instead of the moon and stars with grass down below, we’d draw the two of us hand in hand, symbolizing our long-lasting friendship:

I give her a pencil;

She draws the moon,

Grass, stars, and

I name them for her,

Printing in large letters.

 

Norris writes that her narrator meets a young Presbyterian. I understand Presbyterians follow their religion, as Buddhists and Hindus follow theirs. According to Norris, the narrator and her friend are dressed formally for church. My father strongly believes that when in the presence of God (or inside the church in the face of the pastor) one should dress in nothing short of formal wear.

In Norris’ poem, she describes the little girls dressing up very formally to attend church:

She tugs at her lace collar,

I sympathize.

 

A girl with long brown braids

Was lead to the icons

By her mother.

 

Formal wear is exactly the word I would use to describe my father’s clothes minutes before he leaves for Sunday morning church; hair combed to the side, suit and tie, the whole nine yards. Indeed, one should dress with dignity and respect when under the “watchful eye” of our lord. That, in no way, means that by wearing jeans to church, you are disrespecting the Lord. The Lord never does his work in a suit. So why should we do his work in suits and fancy clothes? The answer is we shouldn’t have to. It should be a choice decided by each individual, not imposed by a group “standard.”

Norris continues her poem by stating that “people went in and out, to smoke cigarettes and chat on the steps.” This could be a simple result due to the common services held every Sunday. This socializing at church is branded into the brains of adults who were raised by church-going parents. If all these parents are going to do is just get some “fresh air” and chat amongst themselves, why bother leaving the comfort of their suburban home? Again, this is what parents trained their offspring to learn so that come their adult years, they will wind up repeating this common cycle.

The question is, why are we constantly told that in order to engage in conversation with God, we must be present in a church? In reference to a movie titled, “Stigmata,” the girl, Frankie, who is possessed by the dead priest who investigated the missing scriptures of God, states the following:

The Kingdom of God is within you and all around you. It is not within buildings of wood or stone. Split a piece of wood and you will find me. Look beneath a stone and I am there.

 

To me, these statements alone speak the honest feelings that I believe that no matter where you are, physically, God is and always will be with you, spiritually. Truthfully, I side with my mother when it comes to God. Both of us strongly believe that God has the time in his busy schedule to listen to those who see the bigger picture besides attending church. My friends would always pester me because when I pray, I tend to not fold my hands as they do. Instead, I just place them on my knees and as I close my eyes, I tell God about my day. I never hear a verbal reply from him, but I know quite well that God is more creative than that.

Back in 2006, my grandpa Bill passed away. The night my family was informed, we all stood by each other and hugged as though we would never let go. Not a day goes by that I don’t wish I could’ve been there to tell my grandpa, face to face, heart to heart, that I loved him. I believe that God gives us signs like these to reassure us that we are human beings with emotion beyond our control. God helps us ease the pain over periods of time. Norris puts a twist on this fact in stating:

Church was for singing, and so I sang.

I received a Bible, stars

for all the verses;

I turned and ran.

 

In truth, “running” is what I did. I ran away from my problems because my hero’s heart failed him. I wasn’t ready to give him up to God when he left our family. Now, like Norris, I have learned the lesson is admitting the responsibility of a loved one’s death is not a burden, but a miracle.

Norris reveals in her second stanza that she worried for these girls she wrote about:

I worry for the girls.

I once had braids,

and wore lace that made me suffer.

 

I will pray for you, if I can.

 

She relates to them by telling us she once was there, all dolled up in lace and braids, running away

from the Bible and church altogether. I feel as though Ms. Norris is speaking to us in a tone that reveals her honesty about church and religion. Its sounds like she is confused about the idea of church, as she states the line:

I stepped into Notre Dame

to get out of the rain,

the organist began to play:

I stood rooted to the spot,

looked up, and believed.

 

As these beautiful lines suggest, believing one time is all it takes. God may not come to church in a suit and tie, answer the second you think you need him to, but remember this: God will always love you. He will never turn his back on you. Even when you find you’ve turned your back on him. Norris echoes these thought in her final line:

I will pray for you, if I can.

 

Norris’ poem, “Little Girls in Church,” in its entirety:

 

I

 

I’ve made friends

with a five-year-old

Presbyterian. She tugs at her lace collar,

I sympathize. We’re both bored.

I give her a pencil;

she draws the moon,

grass, stars, and

I name them for her,

Printing in large letter.

The church bulletin

begins to fill.

Carefully, she prints her name

on it, KATHY, and hands it back.

 

Just last week,

in New York City, the Orthodox liturgy

was typically intimate,

casual. An old woman greeted the icons

one by one

and fell asleep

during the Great Litany.

People went in and out,

to smoke cigarettes and chat on the steps.

 

A girl with long brown braids

was led to the icons

by her mother. They kissed each one,

and the girl made a confession

to the youngest priest. I longed to hear it,

to know her name.

 

II

 

I worry for the girls.

I once had braids,

and wore lace that made me suffer.

I had not yet done the things

that would need forgiving.

 

Church was for singing, and so I sang.

I received a Bible, stars

for all the verses;

I turned and ran.

 

The music brought me back

from time to time,

singing hymns

in the great breathing body

of a congregation.

And once in Paris, as

I stepped into Notre Dame

to get out of the rain,

the organist began to play:

I stood rooted to the spot,

looked up, and believed.

 

It didn’t last.

Dear girls, my friends,

may you find great love

within you, starlike

and wild, as wide as grass,

solemn as the moon.

I will pray for you, if I can.

 

In conclusion, Dave Barry shed the reality on “guys,” regarding his claim based on “guyness,” and Kathleen Norris poetically portrayed young girls and the truth behind the cross. The question was, “What can we take from these open-minded beings while learning about ourselves?” Simple. We can take the knowledge that “guys” are less “manly” and little girls shouldn’t be forced to wear itchy clothing. Guys learn there’s a reason why they act the way they do and girls learn lace and braids bring back church bells.

Truthfully, the fine line between male and female is DNA and attending church dressed in pigtails because your parents forced you to, results in ditching the formal wear and hitting the arcades.

Amanda Hansen

Amanda B Hansen is a writer & poet who currently resides in Omaha, NE. 
She is a recent graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She holds a Bachelor's in General Studies. Her certifications include English, Music, & Creative Writing. 

Amanda currently splits her time being a full-time Customer Service Adviser at her local Walgreen's, and being an Editor/Social Media/Writing Contributor for Fine Lines Journal in Omaha.