- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 6, 2000

If Freud were here today, rather than inquire as to what women want he would surely ask, "What do men want?" And if he wouldn't, Mrs. Freud would.

Any man's final answer would surely be, "more testosterone." It's not enough that men produce 10 to 20 times as much of the stuff than women, writes Andrew Sullivan in the New York Times Sunday Magazine. They want more.

Testosterone, in fact, is one of the drugs most readily available on the Internet, right up there with Prozac and Viagra. Testosterone correlates with psychological dominance, confident physicality and high self-esteem.

"In most combative, competitive environments, especially physical ones, the person with the most T wins," writes Mr. Sullivan. "Put any two men in a room together and the one with more testosterone will tend to dominate the action."

High testosterone levels lend women a similar edge, but the highest female testosterone level does not approach the male level. Like it or not, and many feminists don't, it's the testosterone level that determines why men dominate in combat, construction, competitive contact sports, electoral politics.

It's the reason why little boys play with trucks and little girls play with dolls. It's why the Fox Family Channels will soon devote a channel to girls and another channel to boys. You need only observe boys and girls together to see what research reveals: Girls are more interested in relationships and cooperation; boys prefer action, rough housing and competition.

Of course, there are exceptions, but to ignore the way the opposite sexes are opposite is to reject common sense. This may explain the sexual differences now revealed on the front pages of the nation's newspapers.

Lt. Gen. Claudia J. Kennedy, the highest ranking woman in the Army, complained of sexual harassment when, she said, a male general of her rank "groped" her, "groped" being the way she describes "inappropriate touching." No one, not even Eleanor Smeal, can imagine a man making such a complaint against a female general. If the offending colleague, hardly a model of a modern major general, did what she says he did, he was a pig. Didn't someone in basic training tell her about the effectiveness of a slap across the face of someone copping a feel?

Four years later, when the accused groper's name came up for a high-status assignment, General Kennedy revived her accusation, this time with a formal charge of sexual harassment. You could describe that as "bitchy," but you couldn't say it was "muscular." Women and men fight differently in love and war.

Even more intriguing is the controversy in Merry Olde England over whether Tony Blair, the prime minister, should take paternity leave when Cherie Blair gives birth soon to their fourth child. He's entitled to 13 weeks of unpaid leave for baby care. Women's groups are pleading with him to do it as an example for other fathers. He understands, as the "first politician," that he's not an "other father" and that there's only one prime minister.

A friend of the Blairs says the prime minister has "always been rather good at nappy-changing" and that the nappy-changing station in the family quarters is just upstairs from his office at No. 10 Downing Street. Who needs leave? The PM is worried about what the voters might say if he puts his deputy in charge and with instructions not to bother him with a crisis in Northern Ireland, and can't you see who's warming a bottle?

Cherie Blair cites the example of Paavo Lipponen, the Finnish prime minister who took a week of paternity leave after his wife gave birth to a daughter last month. This is all well and good for the Scandinavians who haven't had a major crisis since the day a leg fell off a chair at Ikea, but it's hardly an example for Englishmen whose manly character was forged by Henry V at Agincourt.

Mr. Blair is in a no-win situation he either displeases the women in his party for whom paternity leave is a crucial issue, or he becomes a figure of ridicule from the opposition, who will accuse him of irresponsibility to the nation.

Imagine Winston Churchill saying, "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, sweat and soiled nappies." Or imagine, if you can, King Harry admonishing his worthies that "gentlemen in England now abed shall think themselves accursed they were not here to burp the babe and powder his bottom."

Ah, men.

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