The Eyes Have It: Ladies, you say your man doesn't understand you? Gents, you say you often don't know what she is thinking?
It's all very simple, according to a group of German researchers. They have conducted a study which shows that men do a much better job of interpreting one vital set of signals -- the emotions conveyed by the eyes -- when they're communicating with another man, compared to another woman.
Which explains why the sexes don't always see eye to eye.
The study involved 22 single men between the ages of 21 and 52. Participants took a test in which they looked at 36 pairs of eyes and chose between two terms (such as "distrustful" or "terrified") to best describe the mental/emotional state of the person pictured. Half the pairs belonged to men, half to women.
"We found that men actually had twice as many problems in recognizing emotions from female as compared to male eyes," the researchers report.
Before you dismiss the male gender as a bunch of insensitive and unfeeling clods, it's only fair to point out that it's not our fault.
From an evolutionary point of view, the study points out, accurate interpretations of other men's, rather than women's, thoughts and intentions -- especially threatening cues -- may have been a factor contributing to survival in ancient times. As men were more involved in hunting and territory fights, it would have been important to them to be able to predict and foresee the intentions and actions of their male rivals.
Actually, I'm not sure how much of this I believe.
You don't need to gaze into a woman's eyes to gauge her mood. For example, long periods of stony silence and banishment to a night on the couch will often indicate that she is upset. This is no time for eye gazing. This is a time for peace overtures.
Besides, I would rather engage in an axe fight with an ancient male rival then appear insensitive to the women in my life. An axe wound heals faster.
Air Sick: Passengers have rated their satisfaction with airlines three percentage points higher than last year on a new survey from the American Customer Satisfaction Index.
But before you assume that the Golden Age of Travel has returned, know this: Airlines just avoided last place, thanks to the ineptitude and callousness of the cable TV and Internet service provider industries.
Airlines received an average score of just 69 points on the Index's 100-point scale, although JetBlue (83 points) and Southwest (81 points) helped an otherwise lousy performance.
This, of course, comes as stunning news for those of us who have had our wallets and purses emptied by extra fees before we even set foot in a plane that is not only packed like a Tokyo subway but falls just short of Third World standards for cleanliness.
As one traveler remarked, "(The airlines) really would prefer we were all comatose so they could stack us like cord-wood in the hold and transport us as freight."
And if you think things might get better some day, be advised that some airlines are adding more seats to the majority of their planes, which could result in less legroom for passengers. Soon, before you can board, you will be required to demonstrate that you can sit for long periods of time in the pre-natal position or squeeze yourself into an overhead bin.
We can only hope there's a special place in hell where airline executives will have to ride for eternity in coach.
Mustn't See TV: I thought the worst reality show of all time was one called "Bridalplasty," in which brides compete for plastic surgery so they will look stunning for their wedding. Or, like a hockey goalie if things don't go well.
But, alas, the Discovery Channel has achieved a new low with a little number called "Naked and Afraid."
In this burst of creative genius, two strangers, a man and a woman, are dropped buck naked into some God-forsaken patch of jungle for 21 days with nothing but a machete and a fire-starter. And followed as they struggle to survive.
They are on their own except for a production crew who is sworn not to offer aid but probably slips them a sandwich and a cold beer from time to time.
The episode I watched featured a woman with food poisoning and a guy who constantly whined about how hard he had to work. As one critic remarked, it played out " like one long, bad first date, or a terrible vacation in a sour marriage."
Not to be outdone, the Syfy channel has cooked up a bit of edge-of-the-seat drama in "Sharknado," in which a supersized storm sucks sharks from the ocean and hurls them onto land. Thus, we have Los Angeles with sharks swimming through the streets and falling from the skies. People get paid to write this stuff?.