Being a dude is awesome. You get to pee standing up, you’re constantly finding hair in exciting new places, and you never have to worry about menstruating on anything valuable. There are a lot of perks, but probably the best part about being a guy is our innate ability – most likely hard-coded into that Y chromosome – to make sweeping assumptions about ourselves and our abilities.
We’re all busy people. We don’t have time to sit around and think things through before taking action, nor do we have the patience to formulate ideas, test them, and rethink our hypotheses depending on the results. That’s why just assuming that we know how to do everything is such a lifesaver.
Let’s say you were planning to go on a four-day hiking trip. I mean, sure, you could probably sit around reading maps, developing fire-starting skills, and learning how to tie a bunch of fancy knots before setting out, but that’s really going to eat into the time you set aside to play Left 4 Dead 2. Besides, you’ve already wasted several valuable zombie-killing minutes by throwing some underwear and canned beef stew into a backpack.
Needless to say, this is quite a predicament. Or it would be, if you didn’t have the misplaced belief that you possess the backwoods know-how of a veteran Navajo scout. Before you know it you’ve left behind all thoughts of dying of starvation in some forgotten corner of the forest, and are once again balls deep in zombie corpses.
It’s great to be a guy.
The cool thing about these assumptions is that they work even in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence. Case in point: myself. Despite the face that I’m completely out-of-shape, spend most of my waking hours sitting in front of a computer, and have absolutely no formal training on the subject, I assume that I could probably hold my own in a swordfight.
Now I know I’m not going to be able to defeat an Olympic fencer, but if a brawl were to break out and swords were somehow involved, I think I’d do okay. At the very least, I’ll bet I could dispatch a few rapier-wielding mooks before the police show up and put things in order.
Another example: I, like all men, operate under the assumption that should the need arrive, we can tap into some sort of collective unconsciousness and become instantly adept at karate. I like to buy my pants accordingly. Whenever I need to buy a new pair of pants, I always pick the biggest dressing room so that I have sufficient space to try out a few kicks to ensure the pants allow a full range of motion.
As far as I’m concerned, there’s just no sense spending money on pants if you can’t wear them to fight a gang of ninjas.
The question then is why have men developed this trait? I have to assume (see what I did there?) that this serves some vital evolutionary need. Assumptions imbue confidence, allowing us to go out there, take chances, and show all the other species what’s up. Along the way we’re going to lose a few guys to hilarious accidents, sure, but that’s the price of progress.
How far would our cave-dwelling forebearers have gotten if they hadn’t assumed they could take out a mastodon? We’d probably still be dragging our knuckles around the Fertile Crescent, pissing our pants whenever we got downwind of a predator. Would we be where we are today had Columbus not had to balls to go bumble-fucking around the Atlantic until he collided with the Americas? Probably not. Baseless assumption and opposable thumbs are the only thing that sets us apart from the animals.
Now it’s time to do your part. Get out there and assume that you could win a fight with a bear, provided the bear is a little tired and you have a decent sized knife.
You can catch more of Dave’s most excellent drivel at DelSquacho.com.