Women driven to success while men steer their way to happiness

October 02, 2007|By TIM ROWLAND

All right ladies, here's the 411. You got us. You win. Studies suggest it, reality confirms it, you have proved superior to males in just about every conceivable way.

Men now account for only 42 percent of the nation's college students. Women are more diligent at their studies. They get better grades than men.

Reports indicate that women are more driven, more competent in the workplace, better problem solvers, more attentive to detail and feelings, better multitaskers, more dependable, better cooks, parents, bakers and candlestick makers. Your brains are more flexible than ours. Women are staying single in record numbers, reckoning they have little need for a full-time man about house.

Fine. We men stipulate all that.

So, Little Miss Wonderful, how do you explain this?

Men are happier.

Yes, that's the latest finding, reported by The New York Times.

As a male, I wish to show that I can be just as intellectual and accomplished as any female, so I have prepared a succinct and perceptive response to this news:


Nyah, nyah, nyah.

Ooohh yes, finally got there didn'cha? Rose riiiight to the top of the mountain, leaving the male species twitching and unlamented in the dust in your single-minded pursuit of world domination. Or at least control of the remote, one or the other.

But The Times reports the alarming news that there appears to be a widening "happiness gap" between men and women.

Sifting through "traditional happiness data," researches noted that in the early 1970s, women were slightly happier than men. Now, that circumstance has reversed itself and the trend seems to be increasing.

I don't know what "traditional happiness data" is, but any quick check of "traditional 'duh' data" could have told you that the more women entered the work force and expanded their power, the less tickled they were likely to be.

Here's stay-at-home housewife, cooking and cleaning and all that jazz. Then she gets a full-time job - but still finds herself doing the cooking and cleaning. And researchers are surprised to find she's not happier?

What, the fulfillment one finds in working eight hours a day at the mall and then coming home to a sink full of dirty dishes just isn't as thrilling as it might first appear?

Men, by contrast, "have gradually cut back on activities they find unpleasant. They now work less and relax more." And we're the dumb ones? Dumb like a fox.

This is why I think America is ready for its first woman president. She wants the job? Fine. Us guys will just sit here on the couch and watch the game, where our toughest decision will be whether we want nacho- or ranch-flavored Doritos.

Face it, success is overrated.

The higher you rise on the ladder, the more responsibility you have, and the more responsibility you have, the harder you have to work and - in the immortal words of the late Junior Sample - "work, well, that just kills me."

And it's not just among adults that this happiness trend holds. Research shows that, as the years have gone by, boys have gotten happier, but girls have not. And the reason also parallels the adult world.

It used to be, The Times says, that all a girl had to do was look hot. Now, she is expected to look hot AND get good grades.

All this makes me think that a person can be lazy and happy, or driven and frazzled. What kind of choice is that?

As for me? Well, pass the Doritos.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or via e-mail at You can listen to his podcast, The Rowland Rant, on

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