I think I know how I was supposed to react when 57% of U.S. women said they would rather give up sex than their mobile device for a week, according to a survey released Wednesday. But I didn't. The story that I read did not reveal how old the 4,000 women in the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany and Brazil were who responded to the survey. I suspect they were not 18 to 24 in any large number. For most men I know, especially the ones married, having sex once a week is a distant memory anyway, as I assume it is for their phone-loving wives.
But smartphones, I think, meet my personal definition of cheating: "A situation in which you transfer your emotional intimacy to another (with or without sex)."
I can see how women can easily transfer their emotional intimacy to their cell phones. After all, the devices answer when asked a question, they don't fart in bed, they don't leave the toilet seat up, they don't hog the remote, they don't belch like it is a tryout for the chorus of “Aida,” they don't leave their sweat socks on the floor of the mudroom, nor think they are screamingly clever and irresistible after a few bourbons.
To be connected to someone who offers comfort and empathy is but the punch of a button or a few keystrokes away -- obviously more important than missing a night of the old in-and-out.
On the other hand, men could give up the night of weekly sex they are not getting anyway for far more inanimate objects -- mostly because we don't have to get emotionally involved or display some sort of "sensitivity" with them. Here’s just a short list:
Power washers: Almost nothing in life is more masculine than 3,400 lbs of raw water pressure applied to nearly anything. Blasting dirt off the driveway or stains off the deck is an incredibly satisfying experience and requires no pillow talk afterward. Even if the label on the lawn furniture says DO NOT POWER WASH, we both know you can get away with it -- as long as the "Didn't you read that tag?" police is elsewhere repotting a plant.
Belt sanders: Take what you can do with a nail file, multiply it by 1,000, and spread out over a vast area -- and you have the lust-satisfying experience of stripping off veneer or paint to reveal a smooth-as-a-baby's-butt denuded wood underneath. Rubbing your hand over that new surface is simply erotic.
Pick axes: Matters not what needs to be crushed, removed, or deepened -- taking a green-wall-clearing swing of a pick ax is a sublime experience. The sheer sweat-inducing physicality of the repeated whacks and resulting destruction is masculinity in its finest hour. Only sissies wear gloves to lessen the blisters. (Yes, it’s OK to sever the phone line or the invisible dog fence. What moron put them there in the first place?)
Snow blowers: It’s clear no one in your warm house appreciates that you’re out there in the frosty elements providing a vital escape route to the grocery store -- or, with any luck, school bus. It is work that MUST be done, even if you can't truly figure out the geometry that will prevent you from rethrowing the same snow four times. Let your neighbors wait for the plow guys to show up in five hours. Your drive is cleared and ready. A little sand on the hill is like adding just a touch of perfume at the nape.
Perhaps the only good thing to come out of a survey that asks if anyone prefers technological devices over something else is that they didn't put our kids up against -- well, anything.