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Isn’t That Just Like a Man!
by [?]

I understand that Mr. Irvin Cobb is going to write a sister article to this, and naturally he will be as funny as only he can be. It is always allowable, too, to be humorous about women. They don’t mind, because they are accustomed to it.

But I simply dare not risk my popularity by being funny about men. Why, bless their hearts (Irvin will probably say of his subject, “bless their little hearts.” Odd, isn’t it, how men always have big hearts and women little ones? But we are good packers. We put a lot in ’em) I could be terribly funny, if only women were going to read this. They’d understand. They know all about men. They’d go up-stairs and put on a negligee and get six baby pillows and dab a little cold cream around their eyes and then lie down on the couch and read, and they would all think I must have known their men-folks somewhere.

But the men would read it and cancel the order for my next book, and say I must be a spinster, living a sort of in-bred existence. Why, I know at least a hundred good stories about one man alone, and if I published them he would either grow suspicious and wonder who the man is, or, get sulky and resent bitterly being laughed at! Which is exactly like a man. Just little things, too, like always insisting he was extremely calm at his wedding, when the entire church saw him step off a platform and drop seven feet into tropical foliage.

You see, women quite frequently have less wit than men, but they don’t take themselves quite so seriously; they view themselves with a certain somewhat ironical humor. Men love a joke–on the other fellow. But your really humorous woman loves a joke on herself. That’s because women are less conventional, of course. I can still remember the face of the horrified gentleman I met one day on the street after luncheon, who had unconsciously tucked the corner of his luncheon napkin into his watch pocket along with his watch, and his burning shame when I observed that his new fashion was probably convenient but certainly novel.

And I contrast it with the woman, prominent in the theatrical world, who had been doing a little dusting–yes, they do, but it is never published–before coming to lunch with me. She walked into one of the largest of the New York hotels, hatted, veiled and sable-ed, and wearing tied around her waist a large blue-and-white checked gingham apron.

Now I opine (I have stolen that word from Irvin) that under those circumstances, or something approximating them, such as pajama trousers, or the neglect to conceal that portion of a shirt not intended for the public eye, almost any man of my acquaintance would have made a wild bolt for the nearest bar, hissing like a teakettle. Note: This was written when the word bar did not mean to forbid or to prohibit. The gingham-apron lady merely stood up smilingly, took it off and gave it to the waiter, who being a man returned it later wrapped to look as much like a club sandwich as possible.

Oh, they’re conventional, these men, right enough! Now and then one of them gathers a certain amount of courage and goes without a hat to save his hair, or wears sandals to keep his feet cool, and he is immediately dismissed as mad. I know one very young gentleman who nearly broke up a juvenile dance by borrowing his mother’s pink silk stockings for socks and wearing her best pink ribbon as a tie.

How many hours do you suppose were wasted by the new army practicing salutes in front of a mirror? A good many right arms to-day, back in “civies,” have a stuttering fit whenever they approach a uniform. And I know a number of conventional gentlemen who are suffering hours of torment because they can’t remember, out of uniform, to take off their hats to the women they meet. War is certainly perdition, isn’t it? And numbers of times during the late unpleasantness I have seen new officers standing outside a general’s door, trying to remember the rule for addressing a superior, and cap or no cap while not wearing side arms.