In what can only be considered the perfect example of a double standard, women are practically wetting themselves at the sight of Channing Tatum and his spunky co-stars dropping trou in the movie Magic Mike. And yet, should a man cock an appreciative eyebrow at a comely lass, he is instantly labelled a boorish pervert.

When I confronted my female Facebook friends about their disgusting behaviour, the answers ran along the lines of “It’s our turn to leer.”

That’s all fine and dandy, but if women are suddenly so desperate to treat men as little more than meat puppets, so eager to demean us for the sake of their depraved fantasies, then the least I can do is give them something to stare at. Which is why I’ve decided to become a male stripper, um, exotic dancer.

I mean, seriously, how hard can it be? I’ve done my research — and by research I mean I’ve watched the trailer for Magic Mike — and have narrowed down the attributes a successful exotic dancer needs to a mere three.

One: The ability to dance. No problem: I’ve been wriggling my booty ever since the Frug was invented. Why, just the other day I was gyrating around the bedroom with a look of pure intensity on my face. The routine featured me hopping on one leg while clutching my other foot with both hands. That particular shimmy may have been the result of a close encounter between a baby toe and a bed post but picture that performed in a thong and suddenly it takes on a whole new context.

Two: Muscular build. According to Gray’s Anatomy (the medical research text, not the TV series), all men possess the same muscles. Some of us just prefer to keep our six-packs wrapped in several layers of protective insulation.

Three: Hairless body. OK, this one could be a bit trickier, especially for those whose body hair most closely resembles a pelt. Once considered a desirable indication of virility, back hair is now somehow considered, well, gross. Apparently 21st century women prefer their men as sleek as an otter. Or as a 10-year-old boy.

But how does one achieve a fur-less body? Lawnmower? Line trimmer? Secateurs? A female acquaintance recommended laser hair removal. A full-body Brazilian, as it were. Maybe I’ve seen Goldfinger one too many times, but just the mental image of a red-hot laser scorching one’s nether lands is enough to cause me to shrink in fear. However, if that’s what it takes to make women salivate, then let the zap-zap-zapping begin.

So there you have it: I’m turning in my journalist’s notebook for a spangled g-string and taking to the stage. Prepare to be astounded.

There is only one small detail I have yet to work out. Magic Mike is set in America, a country which still uses $1 bills, perfect for stuffing into skimpy outfits. But no matter how skilled I am as a dancer, I still may find it tricky to shake my money maker with my stubbies full of gold coins. And then there’s that whole chafing thing to consider.

It will all be worth it, of course, when the women start screaming. Too bad the music will be so loud I won’t be able to hear what they’re yelling.

This column originally appeared in the August 8 edition of the Napier (NZ) Courier.

You’ve got to feel sorry for the inhabitants of Planet Man. No, really — I’m being serious here, people.

If we’re not being told to “man up,” we’re being accused of acting like testosterone-fueled louts whose brains — and eyes — never rise above the level of a woman’s swimsuit area.

That point has been hammered home to me lately courtesy of a number of stories on the Internet and in magazines about the various minefields we all tend to stumble through in order to form a relationship with a member of the opposite gender.

The first article (1) suggested women actually use a mental stopwatch during sex. Something along the lines of “One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thou . . . you’ve got to be kidding me!”

On the other hand, as it were, the Viagra Vanguard isn’t that popular either. I conducted an informal poll (OK, I asked two women) and the consensus is that, no matter how well-intentioned (or well-lubricated) the lovemaking, at a certain point friction becomes the most important factor. Plainly speaking, things eventually get rubbed raw. And by things I mean, you know, things.

Here’s another example of the pressure the inhabitants of Planet Man face on a daily basis: a woman’s reaction when we attempt to answer that eons-old question: Does my bum look big in this fig leaf/loincloth/animal fur/jeans?

Face it, guys, there are only two possible answers and they are both going to end in tears:

Him: No.

Her: You’re lying

Him: Yes.

Her: You’re dead.

If that’s not enough mixed signals for you, another story (2) related how Kiwi men are rated the eighth best husbands in the world. Based on — wait for it — their willingness to do housework.

In other words, my fellow penis possessors, what the ladies are saying is what impresses them most is not our performance in the bedroom but, rather, the length of our vacuum hoses and our stamina in the kitchen when faced with a sinkful of greasy dishes.

With that survey in mind, I’ve now taken to parading around the house wearing nothing but an apron and pink rubber gloves.

Which may explain why the neighbors no longer open their curtains.

Yet another story (3) featured the news that healthier sperm may mean longer life. Yes, apparently good semen quality will add years to our time here on Planet Man. Of course, more years means more housework but, hey, we’ll just have to take solace in the thought that at least all those swimmers churning in our netherlands are happy little buggers.

The story does not explain how to achieve healthy sperm, but I’m thinking exercise. I’m also imagining this conversation:

Her: What are you doing in the bathroom with the door locked?

Him: I’m living longer.

Her: You’re dead.

But just before she breaks down the door with the same frying pan that will soon be bouncing off your skull, you might want to take the advice of a blogger (4) who offered up a list of compliments every woman loves to hear. Even if you’re saying them from the other side of a locked bathroom door while swaddling your body in a protective cocoon of Charmin.

If you have  sensitive gag reflex, you might want to skip this part, but here’s the top five compliments that might save your life:

1. You’re irreplaceable.

2. You bring light to my life.

3. You are perfect just the way that you are.

4. I love your (fill in the blank with any of her body parts situated outside the swimsuit area — if you can think of any. I know, me neither).

5. I am so proud of you.

Yes, as a matter of fact I did throw up in my mouth just typing that list. but what left me shaking my head (apart from the fact that I want to meet the man who actually utters No. 2 — and then kick him in the nuts) is that the following compliment failed to make the list:

Him: For a fat girl, you don’t sweat much.

Her: You’re dead.

But after all the doom and gloom besetting Planet Man via these reports — if your rotten sperm doesn’t kill you, your wife will — I was pleased to find at least one tidbit of good news.

According to The New York Times (5), a potbelly (nicknamed the Ralph Kramden) is the new hot look for males. Six-pack abs are so, like, yesterday, dude.

The story noted that a taut belly and other metrosexual traits are now considered “prissy” and an indication that you “may have too much time on your hands.”

This revelation could, of course, lead to this conversation:

Her: You’re fat.

Him: I have no time for you because I’m busy.

Her: You’re about to be busy being dead.

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Reference sources:

(1) Men’s Business, by Matt Philp, Your Weekend, The Dominion Post, Aug. 8, 2009

(2) Kiwis 8th best husbands, Aussies worst, AAP, Aug. 4, 2009

(3) Men with livelier, more plentiful sperm live longer, by Anne Harding, Reuters, July 27, 2009

(4) 5 Compliments Every Woman Loves To Hear, by YourTango, Aug. 4, 2009

(5) It’s Hip to be Round, by Guy Trebay, The New York Times, Aug. 13, 2009

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