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Women Behaving Manly...

You know how it goes. It?s Saturday night, and you?re headed downtown to meet your buddies for a monster game, your state?s most blood-soaked rivalry. You walk into the bar, nod at each of the 12 TVs tuned to the pregame, spot the guys in your favorite booth?then feel your heart sinking faster than a three-point drainer. Squeezed between them, with that annoying ?I belong here? smile and oversize Starter jersey, is your friend?s new girlfriend. And, for the past few months, your new girl friend.

Instead of listening to your instincts and walking out, you smile, sit down, and resign yourself to another tedious night utterly devoid of the mindless ball-busting you?d been hanging your week on since Monday morning. As if the chick?s presence wasn?t buzz-kill enough, she proceeds to make matters worse by prattling on about point spreads and zone coverage as though everyone at the table needed to be reassured of her deep insight into sports. Oh, and she loves wings. Strip joints? ?So fun,? she giggles. ?I even got a lap dance!? By the end of the night, you?ve got a bad case of the douche chills and leave without bothering to say goodbye. The next morning you wake up completely unaware that the previous night you were a party to a crime. An offense known as gender theft.

A Nation in Crisis
After years of creeping gender theft, we?ve reached a tipping point. Evidence is everywhere. Girls crashing poker games. Coed bowling leagues. Fishing expeditions with mixed genitals. There?s nowhere left to be a guy anymore. Of course, the problem isn?t that women want to lose their paycheck at cards, throw a gutter ball, or let the big one get away. It?s that these guys? girls are not only unwilling but also seemingly unable to interact without the company of men.

Truth is, the fabled ?guys? girl? is actually somewhat of a misnomer. Guys like girls to dress and act like girls, not Steve Irwin. We like them to have their own lives. And we want them to respect a man?s right to solo leisure pursuits?no explanation needed. So how did this she-dude evolve?

Like all things loathsome, it started in Hollywood. ?I know when it became popular in modern times,? says John Devon, who?s not a scientist, but whose girlfriend inflicts herself on his monthly golf outings. ?It was with There?s Something About Mary.? That?s not to say anything was wrong with Cameron Diaz?s sexy yet down-to-earth character. The problem is, certain girls take it too far.

As bitter as the news may be, there isn?t a strip club pilgrimage, hunting trip, or ?the White Stripes are just warmed over Led Zeppelin? debate in history that?s been dramatically improved by female participation. That?s not to say men don?t love, need, and grow from being in the company of women, of course?just not all the time, and especially not in traditionally male environments.

?There?s a hard-line feminism that wants to deny that men and women are different and insist that we fully integrate,? says Christina Hoff Sommers, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and author of The War Against Boys. ?I don?t see why the hard-liners should get their way. Men should resist pressure to forfeit their guy time by including women.?

Tough as it may be to pull off, a man?s best solution is the simplest one. ?Just tell your girl you need time to yourself,? says Sean, an insightful 31-year-old New Yorker. ?If she can?t handle the fact that you need a private life, get rid of her.?

In Search of Emotional Rescue
All relationships attain value based on the amount of time one person spends with another. That?s why you?re not as close to your college buds after graduation when they move to Atlanta. Women obsess over time; it?s what they use to gauge the success, or failure, of their relationships. That?s why many women try to dominate their guys? recreational hours, why they become ?football fans? or pretend not to hate your dickhead friend Brian.

?The problem with letting girls invade your time is that they start expecting you to do all their things, too,? says James, a 24-year-old gender-theft victim from the Midwest. ?Ever been to a coed baby shower? Suicide is less painful.? These so-called Jack-and-Jill events are emblematic of women being all too willing to shelve centuries-old female traditions. But why?

Some girls insist on unisex everything out of sheer insecurity, but there are larger, institutional forces at work. After a generation of ?we?re all the same? gender brainwashing, it?s not just girlfriends crowding into guy time. It?s coworkers, friends of friends, and whatshername feeling girl-pow­er pressure to jam themselves into every traditionally male social situation imaginable. There?s a legit danger in allowing this to continue. Any female presence alters male behavior, and usually in a female direction.

Here?s just one example: We all know women use more words in a day than men (20,000 to 7,000, according to a recent study), but it?s the style of female commu­nication that depreciates time spent with the guys. The ?talk it out? model of interaction practiced by women is not only ineffective with men but can be harmful to the way guys deal with issues. Quack therapists would probably disagree, but most men have always known that ignoring troubles really does make most of them go away. Introduce 13,000 extra words over happy-hour pitchers and you?re not just dealing with girls acting like guys?you?re watching men being conditioned to act like women.

?We?re being instilled with an expectation for what our behavior should be like,? says Dr. Scott Haltzman, a psychiatrist and the author of The Secrets of Happily Married Men. ?But the world will be a better place for women if they sometimes let men be men.?

Hope for the Future
Chilling with the fellas doesn?t mean being the type of clueless Neanderthal parodied in beer commercials, or cheating on your woman. It?s about feeling relaxed enough to drink beer and run your mouth without being judged, whether that means a 30-minute commentary on your favorite jailbait pop stars, jokes about retarded kids, or the uncomfortable admission that you?re getting your ass kicked at work.

?Most American men accept the basic precepts of feminism,? says Sommers. ?But if men lose the special camaraderie of hanging out with the guys, it?s going to foreclose on another enjoyable part of life in the name of misguided sexual principles.?

To that point, gender theft isn?t about championing a woman?s right to wear a jock strap or walk the halls of power. It?s about women denying men access to a key component of a normal and happy life: independence. (FYI, that includes separate e-mail accounts.) On a more basic level, it?s about socializing with poorly dressed, annoying tomboys, and having the courage to call bullshit on the trend. Because gender theft isn?t a victimless crime. It affects the most vulnerable members of society: you.