Men throughout the ages have been chastised and ridiculed by women for their natural-born reluctance to ask for or follow directions. I am not here to dispute the fact that this fear is one of the dominant male characteristics.

I just think it is about time that a man stood up and cried, in a stern voice, “We don’t need no stinking directions!”

No denials, no arguments, just some good old down home facts to point out how fruitless a life of direction-following can be. We are not sheep, we do not bleat, and as strong individuals we will fight to the death to avoid shepherds of any kind. Even paper ones.

I started thinking about this longstanding stigma when I happened to recollect some time I spent last summer sitting in a park next to an obviously retired couple who were attempting to put up a portable umbrella cover.

At first it did not seem like a noteworthy event, just a routine act of picnic mechanics.

I offered to help but the man shot me a look that said, “Help? I don’t need no stinking help.”

His wife thanked me and shot me a look of foreboding, knowing what was coming I guess.

It started becoming interesting when 20 minutes passed by with only two aluminum poles connected together, and the brightly striped fabric still lying on the ground. Something was amiss it seemed, and the female half of the duo was obviously gritting her teeth to keep from barking in front of witnesses.

The other half did not look unduly perplexed, but he was showing an amused expression when his back was to his wife. I think he was wise to keep his amusement to himself, for there were numerous bludgeons strung about.

He had no interest in looking at the colorful box his wife kept trying to show him, obviously content to decipher the mystery without any guidance from a cartoon drawing.

I didn’t exactly admire his independence, but I at least partially understood it.


If I were him I would have had to succumb to the directions before I started yanking my dwindling hair supply out. I decided after another 10 minutes went by with only one more pole being attached that it was all an act.

He must have owed her a payback for something, and was just taking care of the bill in the only way he had at the moment.

Act or not, I can’t think of more than a handful of men who would have stooped to reading the directions for a simple device like an umbrella cover. Any self-respecting male will gladly take triple the time to construct something rather than read the directions.

It is just not the manly manner.

There is also the added bonus of irritating some female to within an inch of a murderous act. Innocently, of course, and protecting your back at all times.

The only thing a man hates more than following written directions is asking for directions when those around him think he is lost. He may even be lost, but he will rarely admit it.

Cruising around aimlessly for an hour or two, but in a decidedly determined manner, is preferable to choking down the portion of crow asking directions from a stranger requires.

Eventually the destination will be reached, and no amount of verbal abuse will pressure the driver into abandoning the masculine code.

With Christmas fast approaching, the percentage of disoriented males will rise dramatically.

I will be one of them, for I never saw a mall parking lot that I couldn’t get lost in.

But I will find my own way out, thank you very much, and I don’t need some dumb directions to do it.

(2) comments


Honestly, the few times when I have finally caved in to pressure to go ahead and ask for directions, the results were essentially useless.

You might be surprised to learn that nearly everyone who works in a gas station or convenience store that is strategically located for the purpose of providing guidance, is new to the area and never goes anywhere except home and to work.

Ron McCollum

Well said Brother, well said...............

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.