Are the differences between the sexes fundamental? Are men and women wired differently? It is this blogger’s opinion that all the differences between guys and girls can be boiled down to one essential preference: boys like bikes, girls like ponies.
I can hear the weak-kneed objectors already. “But Kid Shay,” they whine, “in this modern world how can you boil gender identity down to one stereotypical debate?” Allow me to bat your objections away like a giant swatting at pterodactyls in his cave.
Girls love ponies. Should I give you an example? Here’s one right off the top of my head. Oh, was that not enough for you? I think we can all agree that girls, if left to their own devices, would spend their days riding ponies across rainbows and their nights watching murder mystery TV shows.
Plumbing the depths of the female psyche (scary!), I asked my wife to explain the allure of the pony. She said that girls like a big strong animal they can boss around. Setting aside the full terrifying ramifications of that statement, I considered all that a pony is to a girl. Girls like colorful, soft things. Ponies come in different colors. They also have soft hair, which is kind of a twofer because, aside from ponies, girls love hair. (I imagine connecting your hair to a pony would be the ultimate in awesomeness for a girl.)
Boys, on the other (cooler) hand, like bikes.
Men build machines so we can dominate them. Deep in all men’s hearts lies a fear that one day, machines will rise against us in a Robot Apocalypse. Owning a machine that we are in complete control of is reassuring. “Here’s one robot that will never rip off my head and devour my entrails,” you say as you pat your bike. Men and bikes have a long and happy history together.
Whereas girls like soft, colorful things, boys like hard edges and cold steel. I can attest to this: Titanium is my favorite metal. I don’t think my wife even has a favorite metal. WTF?
I wrote about my love of bicycles in a series, A Brief History of Bikes. I always have loved the freedom a bicycle provides. Even in this age – when cars take people to work, to the bar, across the country, to a bar across the country – I’ve always felt more adventurous in my travels on a bike. You can explore new neighborhoods, take shortcuts, you don’t have to worry nearly as much about parking (but make sure to lock your bike or someone else will be enjoying it soon).
Even when riding my bicycle, enjoying the exercise and fresh air, I don’t feel a psychic connection with it. I don’t worry about leaving my bike out in the cold all night, or getting up early to feed it hay. It is a contraption. A thing – a wonderful thing, to be sure – but a thing nonetheless. And that is a fundamental difference between boys and girls.