Lighter Side

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December 25th, 2000

Some Do's and Don'ts

By Ol' Red, Aurora, Colorado

I'm not sure why, but there seems to be some differences between men who fly fish and women who fly fish. There shouldn't be, but there are. I guess fly-fishing isn't any different from life. I also think it's because there are set rules, and eventually, everyone knows them, but there's people involved, so there's a pack of unwritten rules that no one knows anything about. Especially when it comes to us women.

I'm the first to admit, we ain't easy. Even the ones who are aren't. That's probably Rule One there. Yes, we take offense at stuff you guys think are nuts to take offense at. We react differently than you do about certain things. Those "certain things" vary from woman to woman as well as varying even more depending on age, weight, dye color, estrogen levels, humor levels and so on.

I wish it were as easy to be a woman as it is to be a man, but it's not. It would be a whole lot easier if we could go through life hearing only our own thoughts unless someone elbows us and demands our attentions. It would be easy to wander home from a fishing trip after being gone for three unexpected days and say, "Uh . . . I got lost. And the fish were biting." It would be even easier if the person we said that to had exactly the same understanding as we did about it and just accepted it and went on their merry way. But it ain't so. I guess women are just pickier.

So, going on the premise that men are dullards and women are picky, we should really set a few rules that, while not exactly pertaining to fly fishing, should be learned and regarded anyway while fly fishing. Okay, maybe not "rules" exactly. Maybe just Do's and Do NOT's. That leaves a bit of room for variation and therefore can't be used in a court of law to collect money from the offender or as a valid reason for divorce. These can only be used if both parties are involved in the same sport and or hobby. See? We can so be reasonable!

Men: Do - Offer to go along with your woman to pick out new waders or any type of equipment needed.

Men: Do NOT - Add, "You'll need somebody who knows what they're doing." This is not only condescending, it's just rude and stupid and likely to get a car "accidentally" rolled over you.

Women: Do - Ask your man to go along with you when you're picking out equipment. Feel free to add, "I'd really like your advice/input," but only if you really, really mean it. You are not allowed to roll your eyes later if he does give you decent input but you're unwilling to accept it. This makes a man feel needed and if you really mean it, it kinda makes him glow, which is cute.

Men: Do NOT - when asked for an opinion, do the "guy thing" and go into a lecture and/or recitation of some long-winded and stupid tale from your past. A simple "yes" or "no" or a shake of the head in either direction is sufficient. You may also point out alternatives and the reasons why, but the explanations must be kept to 30 seconds or less. There is no leeway on this unless you are directly asked specific questions by your woman that force you to expound on the headshake. If you are a woman and the roles here are reversed, do NOT say things like, "that color brings out your eyes," or "that makes you look a little puffy around the hips." You may use things like, "that'll blend in better than the gray one when the fall colors hit," or "the other ones look like they give you more room to move around in." If either of you cannot speak on a purely hunter- intelligence level, then shut up and let each other make their own mistakes and live with them.

Women: Do NOT - Ever, ever, EVER ask a man, "Does this make me look fat?" If you can't look in the mirror yourself and know if it does or does not, do not try to throw your lack of confidence off on some poor schmuck. If all you worry about is how a pair of insulated rubber pants makes your butt look, maybe you wandered into the great outdoors by mistake. Personally, I could care less if I looked like a rotund yet fuzzy fireplug from Northern Alaska. As long as I'm warm and can still cast, I'm okay.

Men: Do NOT - Ever, ever EVER offer the opinion, "Man, your butt looks HUGE in those!" when you've been asked. This statement is just wrong. Wrong and bad and evil.

I am gathering information from fellow fly-fishing folk about what really grinds them about the opposite sex. Mostly, they sneak up on my car in the dead of night and leave Post-It notes with hysterically scrawled screams for help plastered all over the poor thing. Listen, an email works, and it doesn't take what little paint is left on my Subaru. Your anonymity will be kept under all conditions including torture and threats of my never being allowed to hold a fly rod again. Listen, I'm no flighty optimist with dreams that we will all one day get along. We're people, and we ain't that smart. But, if we can get along in a river well enough not to scare the fish away and save the fistfights for dry ground, hey, it's all worth it. ~ Ol' Red

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