Oh, the torture of being a man . . .: Are men really as bad as some women make them out to be? David Cohen asks seven of his gender what aspects of their maleness they most dislike. The truth is, it's been a gas

MICHAEL VERMEULEN

35 and unmarried, is the editor of the monthly men's magazine 'GQ'.

THERE was a time, back in my early twenties, when I really did hate being a man. I was starting out in the world and thinking, geez, it would be nice to be taken care of. As I got older, I realised the trade-offs involved in that kind of exchange and saw that the two-track option offered to women results in a kind of stress that men don't have to deal with. Today, the only thing I hate about being a man is the expense of dating women. It's a trivial complaint, but that's the whole point - what I dislike about being a man is minuscule.

Being a guy is all about fun. As a type, the man I would least want to be is the one who feels bad about being a man. There's no need to feel guilty.

The things I find difficult have nothing to do with an overdose of testosterone. I can be cruel, but I've met some pretty cruel women. There's a great blues line by Muddy Waters which I quote all the time: 'Just cos dey pretty, don't mean dey so nice.'

Well, men do smell bad. And we look worse than women in the morning. We also act like assholes in groups. But it's a myth that women are better communicators - men use fewer words to say the same thing. You can go on and on about how you dislike somebody's hat, or you can just say: 'It sucks.'

I think it's the height of injustice, though, that women can have multiple orgasms whereas that's not possible for a guy. And there are certain anatomical, aesthetic differences I envy. But the flipside is that women suffer from self-loathing because of perceived imperfections.

The worst thing about being a man is that you can't have children. The best thing is - you don't have to. Women talk about their biological clocks, so I assume they feel a pressure, whereas you rarely hear a guy say, 'My God, I've got to pop one.'

If I'd been female, I wouldn't have led the life I have. I infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan once to write about it. I couldn't have done that as a woman.

The more I think about it, the more I'm damned glad I was born a man] I thought I could come up with some really hateful, loathsome things, but the truth is, it's been a gas. It's a delight to be a guy. And you get to look at girls. That's nice, too.

(Photograph omitted)

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