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Original Issue

It's Men Just Being Men

Went on Oprah the other day. It's true. All I can figure is she thought I was Pat Riley. Like I'm going to set her straight?

The show was called Why Do Men Go to Strip Clubs? And Other Burning Questions. Jay Leno, singer Brian McKnight and I were dragged onto her stage in front of hundreds of seething women and made to answer for our gender.

You remember the scene from Hitchcock's The Birds? When the guy tiptoes through thousands of birds who are ready to tear out his pancreas at the slightest misstep? That's what the Oprah set was like.

Why do men go to strip shows so much? a woman would bark. (My answer: "I only go once a year, to look at the new fall line of shoes.") Or Why don't men cuddle after sex? ("Much too hot.") And What do men think about after sex? ("Is Subway open this late?") Suffice it to say, my pancreas was living on borrowed time.

The problem was, we never got to the show that Oprah should have done: Why Do Men Obsess So Damn Much about Sports That Women Want to Clamp Their Noses in Curling Irons? I'll open it up for questions now.

Q: Why can my husband discuss the Vikings for two hours but us for only two minutes?

A: Men like things simple. Black/white. Win/lose. But relationships are gray/slippery. Not once has a ref brought the two coaches together and said, "While it's true you won 49-0, I felt the way you treated him in the third quarter was a projection of your own insecurities, so, actually, you lose and he wins. Shower up."

Q: Why do baseball players touch their groins with the same frequency as Michael Jackson?

A: When Randy Johnson's 97-mph fastball is about to be hurled at you, you tend to check and secure your valuables.

Q: Why did my husband cry when the Red Sox won the Series but not at our wedding?

A: If you had turned him down for 86 years, he might have.

Q: Do men consider belching a sport?

A: Yes.

Q: What's the deal with men and the remote?

A: See, when we were boys, we had popguns, dart guns, BB guns. Now most of us only have the remote. It feels good in our hands. We're not switching channels to see what else is on, we're shooting the thing that is on. Bang. You're dead. Next victim.

Q: Why do men wear jerseys to the game? Do these nimrods think the coach will suddenly put 135-pound accountants in?

A: For the same reason women wear tennis outfits to the U.S. Open. What, you think Martina is suddenly going to say, "Hey, you, in the $500 Neiman Marcus tennis dress and $5,000 tennis bracelet, I need a doubles partner"?

Q: My boyfriend is constantly saying, "Hold on, Honey, only a minute left in the game." Twenty minutes later it's still on. How fricking long is a sports minute?

A: An NFL minute is 17.3 minutes in real time. An NBA minute is 43.8. Neither of these, though, is as long as the "I-only-need-a-minute-to-fix-my-hair" minute. When men hear that, we take our coats off and finish doing the taxes.

Q: Why must our infant son wear eye black during Eagles games?

A: Most men don't fight wars anymore. But there's something embedded deep within our cerebral cortex that still drives us to storm castles, wear ridiculous paint and chant lustily. O.K., so now it's White Castles and eye black and J-E-T-S! But you get the idea.

Q: What is my husband thinking when he takes his sand wedge to bed with us?

A: He's thinking, What if there's a fire in the garage?

Q: Why does my husband always insist that I touch the calcium deposit on his clavicle?

A: I'm not sure you're grasping the historic significance of that calcium deposit. It's from the Slippery Rock B Division Intramural Flag Football Championships. It was his diving catch that forced the overtime that allowed Phi Psi Delta to go on and defeat Six Guys Your Girlfriend Wants. He broke his collarbone on that play. That's his Purple Heart. Indulge him.

Q: When is my husband's high-school linebacker teammate, Hurl, ever going to get off our couch? It's been two months!

A: You don't understand. They're Walla Walla High Fighting Panthers. They vowed to never, ever give up on each other. And aren't you glad he's big on vows?

Q: Will the trash take itself out?

A: Babe, there's only a minute left in the game.

• if you have a comment for Rick Reilly, send it to

Oprah dragged Jay Leno, Brian McKnight and me onto her stage in front of hundreds of seething women and we were forced to answer for our gender.