Short Stories
All Titles

In Association with Amazon.com

Home > Authors Index > Browse all available works of Myrtle Reed > Text of Average Man

An essay by Myrtle Reed

The Average Man

Title:     The Average Man
Author: Myrtle Reed [More Titles by Reed]

The real man is not at all on the outskirts of civilisation. He is very much in evidence and everybody knows him. He has faults and virtues, and sometimes they get so mixed up that "you cannot tell one from t'other."

He is erratic and often queer. He believes, with Emerson, that "with consistency a great soul has nothing to do." And he is, of course, "a great soul." Logical, isn't it?

The average man thinks that he is a born genius at love-making. Henders, in The Professor's Love Story, states it thus:

"Effie, ye ken there are some men ha' a power o'er women....
They're what ye might call 'dead shots.' Ye canna deny,
Effie, that I'm one o' those men!"

Even though a man may be obliged to admit, in strict confidence between himself and his mirror, that he is not at all handsome, nevertheless he is certain that he has some occult influence over that strange, mystifying, and altogether unreasonable organ--a woman's heart.

The real man is conceited. Of course you are not, dear masculine reader, for you are one of the bright particular exceptions, but all of your men friends are conceited--aren't they?

And then he makes fun of his women folks because they spend so much time in front of the mirror in arranging hats and veils. But when a high wind comes up and disarranges coiffures and chapeaux alike, he takes "my ladye fair" into some obscure corner, and saying, "Pardon me, but your hat isn't quite straight," he will deftly restore that piece of millinery to its pristine position. That's nice of him, isn't it? He does very nice things quite often, this real man.

He says women are fickle. So they are, but men are fickle too, and will forget all about the absent sweetheart while contemplating the pretty girls in the street. For while "absence makes the heart grow fonder" in the case of a woman, it is presence that plays the mischief with a man, and Miss Beauty present has a very unfair advantage over Miss Sweetheart absent.

The average man thinks he is a connoisseur of feminine attractiveness. He thinks he has tact, too, but there never was a man who was blessed with much of this valuable commodity. Still, as that is a favourite delusion with so large a majority of the human race, the conceit of the ordinary masculine individual ought not to be censured too strongly.

The real man is quite an expert at flattery. Every girl he meets, if she is at all attractive, is considered the most charming lady that he ever knew. He is sure she isn't prudish enough to refuse him a kiss, and if she is, she wins not only his admiration, but that which is vastly better--his respect.

If she hates to be considered a prude and gives him the kiss, he is very sweet and appreciative at the time, but later on he confides to his chum that she is a silly sort of a girl, without a great deal of self-respect!

There are two things that the average man likes to be told. One is that his taste in dress is exceptional; the other that he is a deep student of human nature and knows the world thoroughly. This remark will make him your lifelong friend.

Again, the real man will put on more agony when he is in love than is needed for a first-class tragedy. But there's no denying that most women like that sort of thing, you, dear dainty feminine reader, being almost the only exception to this rule.

But, resuming the special line of thought, man firmly believes that woman cannot sharpen a pencil, select a necktie, throw a stone, drive a nail, or kill a mouse, and it is very certain that she cannot cook a beef-steak in the finished style of which his lordship is capable.

Yes, man has his faults as well as woman. There is a vast room for improvement on both sides, but as long as this old earth of ours turns through shadow and sunlight, through sorrow and happiness, men and women will forgive and try to forget, and will cling to, and love each other.

[The end]
Myrtle Reed's essay: Average Man