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When It Comes to Guys, What's Normal?

When It Comes to Guys, What's Normal?

by Bernice Kanner

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How much do you earn?
Do you wipe your sweat off the machines at the gym?
Consider yourself a fix-it man at home?
Have you done "it" at work?
Ever cheat on your taxes?
Do you wax or pluck your eyebrows?
Have you ever snooped in someone's medicine cabinet?

When it comes to men, just what exactly is normal? How do you-or the man you love-behave


How much do you earn?
Do you wipe your sweat off the machines at the gym?
Consider yourself a fix-it man at home?
Have you done "it" at work?
Ever cheat on your taxes?
Do you wax or pluck your eyebrows?
Have you ever snooped in someone's medicine cabinet?

When it comes to men, just what exactly is normal? How do you-or the man you love-behave compared to other guys? The fact is, men are both entirely predictable and utterly surprising. WHEN IT COMES TO GUYS, WHAT'S NORMAL? takes a look at who they really are, how they behave in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, office, driver's seat and wherever they happen to be on the planet.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Speaking of men, Kanner, author of the "Are You Normal?" series (e.g., Are You Normal About Sex, Love, and Relationships?), turns her attention to investigating patterns of male behavior. Basing her book on a national survey of 516 men, ages 18-49, from all racial and economic backgrounds, she supplies tidbits in the areas of men and money, sex, competition, and so forth. Example: the typical guy eats 78 pounds of chicken a year, and most men have $3,932 in credit card debt. What comes as no surprise is that the average guy thinks about sex 730 hours a year but has sex 22 hours a year. An easy book to pick up and a hard one to put down; recommended for all libraries. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.57(d)

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When It Comes to Guys, What's Normal?


Who You Are

There are 102.2 million of you (men, 18 and older) in America. Some 19.56 million of you are 25 to 34, just a shade less than the 19.68 million women that age. In a recent year 85 percent of all men held a job, accounting for 53 percent of the workforce. You earned on average a weekly salary of $732 ($164 more than what the average woman earned).

The average American man measures five feet nine inches (about a quarter of an inch taller at night than in the daytime) and weighs 180 pounds. He has a 41-inch chest, a 35-inch waist, and a 40.5-inch hip. His waist and hips will thicken with age and when he gains weight it will most likely be in the center of his body, particularly around his stomach. His penis is six inches long while standing at attention. He is circumcised (some 78 percent of American men are). He'll live to be 73.

Four in 10 expect to make it to 100, but few want to. The average age they want to live to is 91. Four times as many men fear ending up in Shady Acres as they do passing quickly from a sudden disease. Men die from accidents, suicide, cirrhosis of the liver, and homicide at a rate at least twice as high as women do, and they're even more likely than women to die due to floods:driving around barricades in low-lying flood zones and drowning in high water.

Two out of three feel a lot younger than their chronological years and 63 percent figure they've got more energy than most other guys their age. They also have more confidence. Seventy-six percent feel more self-assured than most of their friends. Only three percent concede that they generally need several attempts to get the car parked.

At age 45 the typical American male has a one in 3,333 chance of developing prostate cancer. By age 75, the chance drops to one in nine. The average American man over 45 has a nine percent chance of dying from lung cancer, a 5.6 percent chance of being taken out by a stroke, a 3.7 percent chance of succumbing to pneumonia, and a 2.8 percent chance of giving it up to diabetes. As he ages, the average guy loses 12 to 20 pounds of muscle, 15 percent of his bone density, and two inches of height. His counts of oxygen-carrying red blood cells also drop along with his sexual vigor and testosterone levels.

The typical man has 100,000 hairs on his head (the diameter of those strands is twice that of women's hair) and he loses 20 to 100 of them a day. By age 50, the typical man has lost 12.1 teeth. If offered a Groundhog Day invitation to return to any age, the mean age men chose is 39.

The typical American man is neither a John Wayne tough guy nor a "New Man" metrosexual. (In fact, only three percent of men consider themselves metrosexuals. Another 16 percent claim to share some characteristics but abhor the label. Thirty-eight percent have never heard the term and 45 percent describe themselves as old-fashioned, dyed-in-the-wool normal.) Rather than embracing "mancipation," rejecting traditional male roles, Mr. Joe Average sees himself as a provider, progenitor, protector. But he spurns the notion that biology is as important as culture in creating masculine and feminine attributes. He accepts the truth to the stereotype that he's a slob. Nonetheless, he's mystified by the avalanche of misandry, hatred of men, he sees in TV commercials.

Men are far more likely to profess that they admire an easygoing regular guy who's honest, dependable, and smart than a money-grubbing power broker. They rank honesty and dependability as the most important fiber in a man's character followed by his willingness to help. Less significant, but by no means unimportant, are a sense of humor and authenticity.

The typical American man laughs 15 times a day and cries 1.4 times a month. While 63 percent of men in their 50s have never seen their father well up, only 44 percent of those 18 to 29 can say the same. Almost 90 percent of men classify themselves as shy.

The average guy spends 7.5 hours a night or 220,000 hours in his life sleeping. Chances are it's in a chilly room and on a firm mattress rather than a soft one with two pillows. (Most of the time, though, he keeps the thermostat at 72 degrees—room temperature.) And if he's getting on in years, he's probably disturbing the peace with his raucous snores. (More than 60 percent of older guys are guilty.) Three out of four accuse their partners of hogging the covers. He has over 1,460 dreams a year.

Almost all American men (84 percent) have graduated from high school but just 28 percent have a college degree. The typical American man with a bachelor's degree makes $66,810. Those with only a high school diploma make an average of $30,414. The typical man's vocabulary consists of 5,000 to 6,000 words.

The typical man has 14.3 sex partners in his life—he has not paid money for any of them. He was 16.2 years old when he lost his virginity and found his sweet spot, and 27.1 when he married. (Fifty-five percent are currently married and 8.3 percent are currently divorced.) Typically he does not admit to having had an outside affair. He enjoys sex 135 times a year (okay, has it), releasing 120 million to 600 million sperm into the world with each orgasm. (Only about 400 of them will get anywhere near the egg.) Two out of three uncommitted men store condoms within three feet of their beds.

The average guy received his first credit card when he was 25years and three months old, and bought his first stock, bond, or mutual fund at around age 27. That's two to three years before the average woman does. The typical man who owns a house spent $175,400 to buy it. More than half (53 percent) feel a cut in the capital gains tax would stimulate the economy.

Women may control the purse strings but the typical man still thinks that when it comes to power, it's his world. You know the old Chinese proverb that men have their say but women have their way? They're not buying it. They feel that while women resolve the day-to-day issues, it's men who settle the life-changing disputes. More men say that they decide where the family lives rather than their partner and that they have much more sway in how money is spent. The typical man still identifies with Luca Brasi's sentiment in The Godfather: "May your first child be a masculine child."

The average working stiff spends about half as much time as his gender counterpart on taking care of the house and kids. But he spends a lot more time at his job and on enjoying life. The average guy has a tad more than five hours of leisure time a day: he spends over half of it watching TV, 20 minutes at sports, and another 20 minutes relaxing and "thinking." The average guy spends just 50 minutes a day caring for his family and less than 45 minutes on household chores. (In contrast, the average working woman spends an hour and a half and one hour 20 minutes on those tasks respectively.) Only 19 percent of men do housework daily and 34 percent claim they help with meals or cleanup.

Most likely he works full time (88 percent do v. 67 percent of women). The average man has 16 years of work experience and been on the job on average 2,147 hours in the past year: women worked an average of 1,675. His median household income is $42,228. The average guy spends 3.7 hours a week at work doing personal chores online and 5.9 hours a week going online at home for work.

The typical guy is not a walk fast, eat on the run, do two things at the same time creature, although if he lives in theNortheast, he's likelier to be a Type A than if he hails from anywhere else in America. Nor is he a happy-go-lucky dude. Only one in five (19 percent) whistles, sings, or hums while he works. Sixty-eight percent consider themselves homebodies, yet only 38 percent call themselves couch potatoes. The typical American male turns the other cheek far more often than he tries to get even. Three out of four tend to forgive others who have committed wrongs against them. The typical American man is not a feminist: only 14 percent say that label applies to them.

Joe Average can read small print better than most women and blinks half as often. And according to anthropologist Helen Fisher, he has 11 percent fewer neurons than women in areas specializing in perceiving different sounds associated with language—meaning he's not as verbally skilled as women and is less sensitive to touch. Alas, he's also far likelier to be color-blind and has a weaker "location memory" than most women. In a memory test, men remembered 70 percent fewer of the items in an office than women did.

The typical man is a proud patriot. Ninety percent believe in supporting their country, right or wrong. Seventy-two percent fly an American flag or display one on their car, and 29 percent look askance at the American Civil Liberties Union. By and large they consider the Marines the branch of the military with the most prestige, followed by the Air Force. The Army edges out the Navy. The least prestigious of the Armed Forces, in their viewpoint: the Coast Guard. Almost all speak English although 23 million (nearly one in five) speak a language other than English at home.

Today, only 31 percent (and 46 percent of women) have left home, finished school, gotten married, had a kid, and become financially independent by age 30—the traditional benchmarks of adulthood—compared with 65 percent of men and 77 percent of women in 1960. The typical American man resides within 50 miles of where he mainly grew up.

Almost three out of four live "en famille." Slightly more than one in 10 live alone. Just a third of those who live alone are "seniors"whereas most women living by themselves are older. Just 13 percent of guys living alone are widowers and 38 percent are divorced or separated. Nearly half of men who live alone (46 percent) have never been married. If Joe Average is divorced, chances are he didn't initiate it. Three out of four times, it's the woman who does.

When he's feeling blue, the typical man might seek solace in the TV (35 percent) or by getting together with friends (33 percent). Twenty-nine percent say they're likely to call someone, 23 percent to work out, and 18 percent to pour themselves a stiff one. Twenty-six percent would likely tackle a household repair or work on the car—roughly the same number who'd likely open the fridge to banish the blues. Fewer than 10 percent are likely to clean, shop, cook, or submerge in a hot bath—recourses women often take. One in five might pray or read. The 38 percent who live with a dog might roughhouse with him: 83 percent profess they always pick up Rover's droppings.

Hands down his favorite color is blue, preferably the darker shades between navy and royal. Green comes in second. Purple edges out red a tad but principally if it's called grape. (Purple, once considered feminine, frightens some conservative guys, however.) Red is beloved by economically secure risk-takers. Orange, especially the bright fluorescent shade, has traditionally been men's least liked color.

Two out of five men—38 percent—believe that money buys happiness, but alas, 78 percent feel that contentment is fleeting. Most would not change their lives if given the opportunity to do so. For most, success has nothing to do with the size of their bank account. For 87 percent it's being a great husband and dad and for 85 percent, having a happy marriage or raising successful children.

53 percent have donated blood.

58 percent voted in a recent presidential election.

13 percent have spent a night in jail; 2 percent will go to prison sometime in their life.

26 percent smoke.

24 percent share their household with a tabby.

21 percent have high blood pressure.

64 percent shudder at body piercing other than ears.

41 percent have contributed to a disaster relief fund.

69 percent have at least once worked for a woman boss.

19 percent have been a burglary victim.

40 percent use a credit card at least once a week.

65 percent have disability insurance.

77 percent button their shirt from the top down v. from the bottom up.

43 percent have tried to get out of jury duty.

54 percent will drink straight from the container when no one's around.

30 percent have participated in at least one boycott.

84 percent would give a ball they caught in the stands to their companion.

21 percent usually cross their legs when seated: 45 percent know it's bad for circulation.

62 percent have stood up to a bully even at the risk of physical harm to themselves.

97 percent when offered a new pen to write with will sign their own name.

When It Comes to Guys, What's Normal? takes a look at who men really are, how they behave in the kitchen, bathroom, office, driver's seat, and wherever they happen to be on the planet. So pull up a chair and see how you compare.

WHEN IT COMES TO GUYS, WHAT'S NORMAL? Copyright © 2005 by Bernice Kanner. Foreword copyright © by Peter Hoffman. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.

Meet the Author

Bernice Kanner is the author of the widely acclaimed Are Your Normal? series. A syndicated columnist for CBS Marketwatch and erstwhile columnist for New York magazine ("On Madison Avenue") and Bloomberg (radio, TV, and print), she is also author of The Super Bowl of Advertising: How the Commercials Won the Game, Pocketbook Power: How to Reach the Hearts and Minds of Today's Most Coveted Consumers: Women and The 100 Best TV Commercials And Why They Worked.

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