"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 1 September 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Girls Against Boys


[from the peak you're named for]

In spite of all our progress

since the naive days of the ERA,

we can't help feeling like it's

still pretty much every man for

himself - and every woman

conflicted. Yesterday's launch

of the US Open reminds us that

the only really important thing

that ever happened on a tennis

court was the Battle of the

Sexes. At the Astrodome exactly

25 years ago, Bobby Riggs, the

Woody Allen of men's pro tennis,

got his ass scalloped on

national TV by Billie Jean King,

the Mrs. Doubtfire of women's

pro tennis. Which begs the

question: If the women can beat

the men at a wussy game like

tennis, why do we still have

separate locker rooms?


To be sure, locker-room

conversation on both sides of

the gender gap may be

considerably more interesting as

school resumes this year. A

ridiculous study released last

week by George Washington

University shows that boys who

participate in sports are more

likely to get laid than the

acne-ravaged wimps who don't

make the team. As if that's

news. Girls, though, are 10

percent more likely to keep

their virginity when they play

their games. In other words,

boys and girls are clearly on

opposing teams, when it comes to

doing the extracurricular nasty.

And with more girls pleading

Title IX than ever before, the

world of the average teenage boy

won't be getting any less

painful any time soon.


[to  the sweetest dog]

It's not as if guys aren't used

to it by now. Having been

confounded by virgins and whores

alike since the dawn of time, it

seems a small stretch for them

to accept the reality that

they're simply not going to get

laid quite as often as they'd

like. It's just as well, because

science has now proven what

women have known all along: Men

are such assholes. And

butt-ugly, too. Another dubious

study published in this month's

issue of Nature magazine shows

that men may be at an

evolutionary disadvantage when

it comes to beauty. This

broad-ranging sociological

research shows that women are

categorically more attractive

than men. Most important, the

study concludes that the

dictates of natural selection

suggest we'll all eventually

look like Jamie Lee Curtis.


Or maybe Princess Diana. (Who,

incidentally, surely ought to

have been cloned by now, don't

you think? It's been a full year

since she bought the family

plot, and there must be plenty

of her DNA floating around,

judging from the number of

tasteless, cheek-swabbing books

out this week.) While the

punditocracy wants us to believe

that Diana's primary headache in

life was the paparazzi, it

hardly takes a séance to

figure out that her main drain

was Charles. And if not him,

then a quorum of suitors trying

to improve their practiced hands

with the Queen of Hearts. Can

there be any doubt that Dodi was

simply the next batter-up when

this particular inning of the

Olde Game ended in sudden death?


[to the peaks of your ears,]

The Cold War may be over, but

the Cold Shoulder persists.

Alas, the war between the sexes

is on, and it's showing signs of

going nuclear. No matter what

the angle of your dangle, it's

hard not to see a drug that

makes penises superduper erect

as a little bit of a problem.

Everyone knows that Viagra is a

rocket in civil society's

pocket, but no one will admit

it's less about impotence than

about the promiscuity of old

men, who, as any showpiece bride

can tell you, aren't supposed to

be having sex anymore anyway. At

least that's the spirit of the

natural law. If it's broken for

the right reasons, don't fix it.


If only Anne Frank knew. Since

she's dead, she can be forgiven

the adolescent idealism that

caused her to write five

unflattering pages in her diary.

What she wrote about her

parents' relationship was so

troubling that Otto Frank

removed them. But her father

never would have censored her so

egregiously if she'd simply

understood that old people don't

even like each other, much less

love each other. Still, let

there be no mistake about the

fact that misanthropy and

misogyny can cohabit without the

endorsement of legal matrimony.

John Sexton, for example, is

running a one-man guerilla

operation in Minneapolis to

separate as many as 30 women -

most of them complete strangers

- from their ponytails. Crazy?

Or just in touch with these

contentious times?


[seen around here in years.]

If you doubt the maritial quality

of the new gender warfare,

consider its real vanguard: the

military institutions, colleges,

and Draconian prep schools that

have been so proudly

intransigent when it comes to

admitting the fairer sex. The

Citadel's problems have been

nothing compared to the series

of SNAFUs and FUBARs at Virginia

Military Institute. Just last

week, VMI lost one of this

year's incoming freshwomen. Not

because she couldn't handle VMI,

but because VMI couldn't handle

her. Angelica Garza beat up one

of her male colleagues, was

suspended, readmitted, and then

discharged. We haven't been

briefed, but we suspect it had

something to do with leaving the

seat up in the latrine or

putting an empty milk carton

back in the mess-hall fridge.


War, they say, is the last

resort of diplomacy. In the

spirit of the times, then, we'll

betray our allegiances and say

this: May the best man win. And

then may he be thrown upon the

mercy of the best woman, in a

no-holds-barred cage match on

national TV.

courtesy of E. L. Skinner