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THE MAN TRANSLATORYOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO MANLAND
By ALISON GRAMBS
CITADEL PRESS BOOKSCopyright © 2008 Alison Grambs
All right reserved.
Chapter OneBefore Your Departure
A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. -Lao Tzu
So, you've cleared some vacation days with your boss, purchased your ticket, and are finally on your way to Manland. Whether it's a day trip, a weekend jaunt, or a permanent vacation, you are raring to go. But before you board that proverbial plane into the jungle that is the male habitat there are a few things you need to take care of.
1. Notify your loved ones that you are leaving on a life-threatening trip, so they can send out a search party if you don't return.
2. Toss out all house plants. Better you mercy kill them, than leave them to die of neglect.
3. Make sure the dog and cat have food. (Make sure you have a dog and cat first, of course.)
4. Leave a sign on your front door that reads, "Dear Burglars, I am away. Please stay out. Thanks!"
5. Erase all old messages from your mother on your answering machine to make room for all the annoying "Oh, heavens to Betsy! Why haven't you returned my calls? Are you all right? I'm calling the police ..." messages she will leave while you are gone.
Travel Tips: Check Your Baggage
By nature Man is an uncomplicated creature, and he likes Woman to be the same. So, when entering into a new relationship in Manland, it is vital that you check your baggage at the door, so to speak. Man lives in the present. He is not interested in your past. As a matter of fact, he wishes you didn't have one.
Getting to Manland is all well and good, but arriving there fully prepared is crucial to your survival. Just as with any other excursion, you simply must have all the basic essentials with you. You know, those little creature comforts that can mean the difference between having the best trip of your life and the worst vacation ever. So, make sure you have the following in your luggage:
1. Hand sanitizer
2. A case of Lysol
4. Clean underwear
5. A yoga mat and whatever meditative mantra you employ when you feel yourself going insane
6. Bottle of extra-strength headache medicine
7. Disposable toilet seat covers
8. Emergency cash for that emergency cab ride home when things go terribly wrong
9. A photo ID (the real one, not the one that says you're eighteen ... or a "natural" blonde)
10. Hairspray to make your hair look bigger (and thus more intimidating)
11. Extra cover-up stick because those bags under your eyes aren't going to conceal themselves
12. Breath freshener (yes, you do need it)
13. A fully charged cell phone with 911, your shrink, and your mommy all on speed dial
14. Shoes with short heels for when you need to make a quick escape, and shoes with high heels for when you're going for that whore look
15. Disposable razors
16. Any and all feminine hygiene products you may require during your stay, but with the names of said products blacked out for privacy purposes (Especially that box of stuff you have for that unspeakable itch in that unspeakable place)
In case of an emergency, it is essential that you have a few important meditative forces on your side. Review the following Man-Tras. Commit them to memory. Any time you feel yourself getting flustered on your journey into Manland, find a quiet (and reasonably clean) place to sit down, cross your legs, and recite the following. These can save your life. Or at the very least, keep you from being institutionalized.
1. Man is just like a woman ... only with smaller breasts and more facial hair.
2. When in doubt, assume Man's brain is not functioning at full capacity.
3. Anything is edible with some ketchup on it.
4. Clean is a relative term.
5. What happens in Manland, stays in Manland ... unless I was stupid enough to take photographs, in which case, I'm screwed.
6. You can lead Man away from the television set, but you cannot make him turn it off.
7. Pencillin cures everything.
8. A Man is only as good as his word ... or his credit score.
9. All Men are created equal ... equally stupid, that is.
10. I can always become a lesbian.
The Origin of Man
In order to understand Man, you must first understand how Man came to be ... the putz that he is.
There are two theories as to the beginnings of Man's existence. Subscribe to whichever one speaks to you spiritually. Or whichever one simply takes less time to read. Your choice.
The Creation Theory
On the seventh day of the first week in history God created the Garden of Eden which, by the way, was located where present-day Las Vegas is. At first, the place wasn't much to look at. So, God added some nice foliage, a couple of fluffy animals, a giant waterfall, a canyon, and a few rock formations here and there. Nice enough. But something was missing. There was no one to enjoy the Garden (or trim the hedges).
So, God created Man. He picked up a ball of dust he spied lying on the ground, performed some sort of CPR-like move on it, and magically breathed life into an odd-looking creature with a furry back and receding hairline. God named this creature "Adam," though truth be told, Adam actually looked more like a "Chuck." However, much to God's disappointment, Adam/Chuck didn't really do much once he was created. He just moped around in the Garden day and night, muttering to himself because there was no cable television or Doritos. He refused to put on clothes, arguing that boxers didn't give him "enough support," and briefs made him feel "restricted." And Man never remembered to water the ficus plants. He left litter all over the Garden and did not mow the lawn once. What's worse? He was constantly touching himself in his private place in public.
It wasn't long before God realized he had screwed up big time. Clearly, Adam/Chuck was incapable of functioning by himself. He was a body without the brain. And already feeling pangs of guilt for creating the completely illogical platypus, God worked hard to correct his mistake. He knocked Adam/Chuck unconscious, removed one of his ribs and, with that rib, fashioned a new and improved version of Man: Woman. God named this beautiful and perfect creature Eve, though truth be told, she looked more like a Petula. He presented Eve/Petula to Adam/Chuck who, ever the deep thinker, remarked, "Yowza! She's hot!" Eve/Petula taught Adam/Chuck how to talk, think, turn a fig leaf into haute couture, reheat leftovers-that sort of thing. She even managed to spruce up the Garden of Eden until it was looking so refined it was featured on the cover of Only Home & Garden magazine.
And so Adam/Chuck and Eve/Petula lived happily ever after. (Until, of course, that unfortunate serpent-and-the-apple incident ... but why focus on the negative, right?)
The Evolution Theory
A long, long time ago, before the advent of fire or the cordless telephone, two warring clans of monkeys roamed the Earth: the Us clan and the Them clan. The Us-es were a mean bunch of monkeys who disrespected the land and left their banana peels all over the place; and the Thems eventually got so tired of the abuse they declared war on the Us-es. After all, the future of monkeys was at stake. The battle was bloody and vicious, and, in the first few rounds, it looked as though the Thems were about to be obliterated. But then a spectator who was watching the fight, a particularly bright female member of the Thems, named Tallulah, shouted at the top of her lungs from the bleachers,
"Hey, idiots. Why don't you guys try walking upright? You'll be able to fight much better with your hands free."
One by one, the Them chimps balanced on their hindquarters and stood upright. The Us chimps scoffed at these silly-looking chimps and the silly manner in which they were fighting, and continued to fight on all fours. But the Thems had the last laugh as they soon beat the Us clan in the great battle and returned home heroes. To celebrate, the soldier chimps headed down to the local watering hole for a night of drunken banana peeling.
Once again, Tallulah, who was bartending part time to pay for chiropractic school, was disturbed by the stupidity exhibited by her fellow monkeys. She couldn't help but feel sorry for the suckers as they struggled to peel their celebratory bananas with their teeth and crack open their celebratory beer cans on rocks. Once again, she shouted at the fools.
"Hey, idiots! Why don't you boys use your opposable thumbs to peel those bananas and open those cans? It'll save you a lot of time."
Once again, the Us clan members scoffed at such an absurd suggestion. And once again, they were proven wrong for now the Homo erecti (as they mockingly called the Thems), could not only open beer cans, but hitchhike, macramé jungle vines into fabulous necklace and bracelet sets, not to mention play chess. But the Homo erecti's victory was short-lived for, one day, the planet was overcome by a massive heat wave. Suffering beneath their thick layers of fur, all the monkeys in the land began dropping like flies from heat stroke. Once again, Dr. Tallulah (she was now a licensed chiropractor) saved the day.
"Hey, idiots. Why don't you use the sharp edge of that rock over there to shave off all your body fur. That'll cool you off." (Waxing salons weren't invented until the Pleistocene era.)
Of course, the Us clan monkeys scoffed at this silly idea, and eventually started dying of dehydration. But the Homo erecti had learned that Dr. Tallulah knew of what she squawked. Away went their tufts of bothersome arm hair, the itchy foot hair, the shoulder hair, the back hair! Now, with their smooth, cool skin, and their multifunctional thumbs and sexy walks, the Homo erecti were the chimps to beat. They became total ladies' men, and advanced socially and intellectually-driving convertible cars, organizing high-end-stakes fantasy football games, attending college, and working on Wall Street. Yes, eventually, the Homo erecti evolved into modern Man.
And whatever became of those snickering little Us monkeys who didn't listen to Dr. Tallulah? Well, they got locked up in zoos ... or cast in really bad television sitcoms.
Chapter TwoCultural Notes
If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion, and avoid the people, you might better stay at home. -James A. Michener
You've heard the saying, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." Well, hardly does this adage give you license to go about doing everything the Romans did. Frankly, they weren't the most stable of people-what with declaring horses senators, and tossing Christians to the lions. But overall, it is a good rule of thumb by which to travel.
So, just as you should be aware of the major Australian bank holidays when planning a jaunt Down Under, and take note of particular tribal customs when organizing your romp into the Amazon, it is wise to acquaint yourself with male "culture" and customs when journeying into Manland. After all, the more you know about your host country, the better you can blend in. And the more you blend in, the less likely you are to make a fool of yourself and embarrass the rest of us.
So, let's learn the basic facts about Manland, shall we?
Dates, Times, and Seasons in Manland
An important part of assimilating into the culture of Manland is understanding its unique system of dates, times, seasons, and holidays. As you might expect, it can be a bit complex and illogical, so don't worry if you can't master it right away.
Days of the Week
Man takes his week quite seriously.
While the days of the week in Manland may sound the same as our days of the week, the difference is that the Manland week revolves entirely around Monday Night Football, an event akin to the high holy days celebrated in other, more normal countries. Now, as frustrating as this code may be to grasp, Man's weekly calendar is not to be questioned or revised in any way by tourists or visitors. Unlike Woman, Man cannot think outside the Pigskin Box.
Monday: Monday Night Football Day
Tuesday: Six days until Monday Night Football
Wednesday: Five days until Monday Night Football
Thursday: Four days until Monday Night Football
Friday: Three days until Monday Night Football
Saturday: Two days until Monday Night Football
Sunday: One day until Monday Night Football
Months of the Year
While Woman distinguishes the months of the year by selflessly associating them with important holidays celebrating the good deeds of our forefathers or noteworthy birthdays of those in her charge, the Manland calendar is a bit more egocentric.
January: The month Man growls at his credit card bill from the holiday season preceding.
February: The month Man buys you a bunch of Valentine's Day gifts you don't want and can't return because he lost the receipts.
March: The month Man pretends he is Irish so he has an excuse to stumble around drunk off his butt for twenty-four hours.
April: The month Man finds, and then consumes, all of the Easter eggs you hid for the children.
May: The month Man is forced to remember to buy his mother flowers.
June: The month Man buys his father the same tie he's been buying him since Man was six years old.
July: The month Man inevitably blows off the tip of his finger playing with fireworks.
August: The month Man's armpits stink to high heaven even though he showered.
September: The month Man begins talking about the Super Bowl, even though it is still several months away.
October: The month Man uses as an excuse to dress up like Woman and beg for candy from strangers.
November: The month in which Man devotes all of his attention to a turkey dinner and the Dallas Cowboys kickoff schedule.
December: The month Man insists on decorating the entire house with Christmas lights and giant reindeer statues.
Important Manland Dates to Remember
In Manland, the inhabitants, both young and old, are shaped by these important dates in history.
February 6, 1895: Babe Ruth is born.
August 5, 1960: The American government approves the birth-control pill.
July 1, 1967: Pamela Anderson is born.
January 12, 1969: Joe Namath guarantees victory as an 18- point underdog in Super Bowl and wins.
September 21, 1970: Monday Night Football is born.
February 22, 1980: The USA Hockey Team defeats Soviet Union in Olympics.
August 23, 1989: Pete Rose is banned from baseball.
October 15, 1989: Wayne Gretzky becomes the NHL's all-time leading scorer.
September 14, 1994: The World Series is canceled.
February 19, 1995: Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee marry.
September 1, 1995: The Sony Playstation is released in the U.S.
April 1997: Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee's sex video is released to the public.
June 28, 1997: Mike Tyson bites Evander Holyfield's ear.
April 1999: Pamela Anderson has her breast implants removed.
October 26, 2000: The Sony Playstation2 is released in the U.S.
February 1, 2004: Janet Jackson exposes her nipple at Super Bowl XXXVIII.
October 28, 2004: The Boston Red Sox win their first World Series since 1918.
March 4, 2005: The Sony PSP is released in the U.S.
July 29, 2006: Pamela Anderson marries Kid Rock.
November 27, 2006: Pamela Anderson divorces Kid Rock.
June 3, 2007: Paris Hilton goes to jail.
June 7, 2007: Paris Hilton is released from jail.
June 13, 2007: Paris Hilton is sent back to jail.
Weather Forecasting in Manland
The weather in Manland can be unpredictable, depending on the time of year and location of your visit. It can also be difficult to analyze, as Man has a bizarre way of communicating the forecast. He doesn't just say the logical, "it's hot" or "it's cold." Instead, Man personalizes the weather. So, if you want to know whether or not to bring an umbrella on your stroll you need to know how to interpret the weather report in Manland.
Excerpted from THE MAN TRANSLATOR by ALISON GRAMBS Copyright © 2008 by Alison Grambs. Excerpted by permission.
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