Brain food: Are you suffering from - Male answer syndrome

Have you noticed that men always have an answer? There's no such thing as 'I don't know' or 'I have no opinion'. Men specialise in bite-sized answers that may or may not be based in reality, though they speak with great authority. Experts attribute this to male 'display behaviour' - ie, they beat their chests and ruffle their plumage to ward off competitors; at least, that's what they did in caveman times. Today, this is exhibited by a man's uncanny ability to respond to any query instantly. If they don't know the answer, they say 'that's not the issue'. It is. MAS starts in childhood and gets worse as men become convinced of their self-importance. It's to do with their willingness to take risks and wanting to show dominance over the weaker (and generally correct) sex. It's a bind, because sometimes men do know what they're talking about. The remedy is to nod your head in approval while making a mental note to check the answer later.

by Helen Kirwan-Taylor,
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

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