• Carmen Marie Fabio

Life is short

It’s hovering around -22°C outside but my husband’s legs are still in summer mode (or in denial) as he comes in from shovelling snow wearing a jacket, hat, boots, gloves... and shorts. Now I knew a fellow years ago who had the same predilection for year-round bare-leggedness, even going so far as ice-skating with all the required protective gear – and shorts. The one time I saw him wearing a proper suit at a formal event, the words, “I didn’t recognize you with your pants on,” were out of my mouth before I realized what I was saying. I thought he was an anomaly.

But what began for my husband as a comfort issue of the relatively mild fall weather, combined with his physical line of work to be conducive to that particular garb, has morphed into a year-round choice that has people casting him sidelong glances and the audible ‘click’ of car-door locks as he walks by. It didn’t help that the guy working at the dépanneur dared him to actually wear his shorts all winter. What’s even more remarkable, to me anyways, is that he’s not alone.

In a classic case of Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon (yes, that’s an actual thing) I’m starting to see guys everywhere this winter wearing shorts. Maybe they all go to the same dépanneur. Males have a natural tendency to respond to dares more than females do and the intelligence level of the subject matter seems to be immaterial as all good judgement gets cast aside in meeting the challenge.

In my informal household research, my boys have revealed myriad childhood dares – both given and received – of licking and/or eating odd things, making a fool of oneself in public, and lighting things on fire.

“Then there’s the penis game,” said my youngest.

“What the heck is that?” I asked, fairly certain I didn’t want to hear the answer.

“Basically, someone says ‘penis’ to you very quietly then it keeps going back and forth getting louder each time. I just played it yesterday in phys-ed,” he told me matter-of-factly. “I won by screaming ‘PENIS!!’ at the top of my lungs. No one even noticed.”

Girls just don’t do this type of thing.

The internet is rife with gleeful examples of guys obliviously behaving like guys, engaging in high-risk, Darwin-award winning behaviour.

Even the esteemed British Medical Journal published an article in 2013 citing men’s reduced lifespan due to “judgement errors” in comparison with women.

A decade ago, Scientific American released a study that found for every boy a woman has, her lifespan is reduced by an average of 34 weeks.

“You guys are killing me,” I told my family after crunching the numbers. “I’m gonna die two years earlier because of you.”

“Yeah, but those are the last two years,” said my husband with gleeful oblivion, “and they’re crappy anyways.”

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