I know I’m supposed to be TOTALLY OUTRAGED that Mr. Gallus Strobel, mayor of the Black Forest town of Triberg, Germany, has designated special ‘women-only’ parking spaces in his town. That’s right: wider, longer, easier-to-maneuver parking spaces, for that very special
incompetent, skittish lady-driver in your life.
“I have much pleasure with this idea,” Mayor Strobel told ABC News.
Well, Sir, ME TOO! I am very pleasured with this idea, Mr. Strobel.
I am positively giddy just thinking of the new horizons this might open up for me. Imagine not having to tie up traffic for 14 minutes every time I run out to the grocery store? Imagine not being forever trapped in some kind of vehicular Groundhog Day (and, unlike Bill Murray, never improving my parking skills)? I am tremendously excited about girl parking spaces! I’m wondering if we can do pink unicorns in spray paint.
I know Mr. Srobel is being a little mischievous here but my feeling is basically: Hey, why didn’t I think of that? Where can I sign up?
My friend, Gary King, is always bugging me to take on what he calls Evil Hypotheses – the things that academics find too provocative to study openly. Topics like class differences in child rearing or the health benefits of marriage for all parties, or the easily ascertainable, but willfully ignored, explanations for HIV infection rate differentials throughout the world.
Gary thinks that our squeamishness about reality is keeping us from making the world a better place and, for inexplicable reasons, he wants to start his Planet Improvement Plan with my nitwit blog. Well, great idea, Gary! Why wouldn’t I make a public jackass of myself? I can’t think of a single reason I wouldn’t want to do that.
So here goes: Evil Hypothesis #1
Most (not all) women are worse parallel parkers than most (not all) men.
Specifically, I reject the study I read somewhere that allegedly disproved the evil car-parking hypothesis, namely that women, not men, are actually the superior parallel parkers. I’m not buying it. I believe this finding only proves my point: the women’s cars were marginally better parked because the women took, like, ten times longer to get their cars parked effectively (because they are cowed by society and raised to be obedient civilians and whatnot) whereas the men just glided in – sound familiar? – with that attractive/repellant combo of muscular masculinity that works so well in parking lots (and some other places).
So, what do you think? Can I be a powerful woman with a parking problem? Can we finally please live in a world where generalizations – and exceptions – about human behavior are occasionally useful but not determinative?