Would You be Mined?

Women and men go about finding romance differently—though often with the same result. Men, on this Valentine’s Day, a word of advice…

Illustration by Dav Bordeleau



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I do a lot of deep thinking alone, the kind that occasionally has me dialing an outgoing call on my TV remote or reaching for it to answer an incoming call. The thinking I’ve done on Valentine’s Day is a case in point.

The fact that the one month of the year is set aside to pay homage to love and romance is also the coldest and the shortest confirms my theory that it was a guy who put Valentine’s Day in February. That neither football nor baseball is played in this month is further corroboration.

It’s not that the typical guy is afraid of intimacy. Talk to a guy about Donovan McNabb, Pat Burrell or Allen Iverson, and you’d get the impression he grew up in the same house as the athletes.

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That level of intimacy extends to the female gender as well. Listen to a guy talk about female anatomy, and an intimacy of inordinate depth and description is revealed. It’s when guys are put in situations where they’re forced to add up all those female body parts into an entire and complete human being that our well-documented shortcomings in math become apparent.

And it’s certainly not true that we’re inattentive in the presence of females. Observe, say, a Jessica Simpson look-alike strolling into any happy hour, then listen to how many conversations among guys instantaneously shift from what Andy Reid should be looking for in the draft to a minutely detailed discussion of female anatomy. That’s attentiveness, ladies!

But it’s clear that men and women do have differing definitions of intimacy. Using the legendary processes of thought already documented, I submit that the best analogy for the difference is the two major methods of mining coal. Put simply: men are strip miners, women are drillers. Either way, the result is the same.

Guys mining for romance and intimacy survey a beautiful landscape with great topography then go aggressively after it, with no planning, preparation or anticipation of the consequences. They may leave the land scarred, but that’s just the physical proof there was once intimacy. (How am I doing so far, ladies? Guys?)

Women, on the other hand, carefully survey the surface for evidence of something meaningful beneath. They methodically and deliberately proceed to take core sample after core sample, looking for the seam that offers a lifetime of happiness and devotion.

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Meanwhile, back on the surface, men are wrapping up the objects of their desires, and generally leaving behind a Superfund Site of disappointment and emptiness, but, hey, that’s mining. The ladies, after much core sampling ultimately reveals little more than fossilized feelings, also move on, though leaving little surface evidence they were ever there, and freeing the male to continue strip mining elsewhere without constraint.

There are the occasional mining disasters, but that’s part of the territory. Nothing worthwhile is going to come easily or without occasional pain.

I realize that mining is one of those issues that can get one’s blood boiling. I’d advise all you fellow strip miners especially to broach the subject with great caution.

Maybe consider a big sparkling hunk of what coal, under extreme pressure, can be turned into over time, then set it gleaming on the table in front of you before you begin defending your position.

Reid Champagne continues to maintain a doghouse as a separate residence in Newark.

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