better353

Livin' the life.

"Overall, it seems you're still better off to be a man," said the article in this very newspaper.

"Excellent!" I thought, excited to find out how good I had it because I've been gifted with testicles.

"Men are better paid, but women are better educated," said the report, inspired by data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which also showed "men dominate top executive jobs ... while women do most of the unpaid work and care at home".

Not being an exec, who does his own housework and looks after his daughter three days a week, I thought there's more to "better" than just money but ... that was it. The story went on to say "women live longer", "are less at risk of violence" and, "despite widespread perceptions, men are the main victims of crime".

I'm sure I wasn't the only bloke reading who wondered "how do I get me some of that action?" because, in my view, earning a few extra bucks is a poor way of measuring a "better" life.

Thus the report also reconfirmed men as more likely to suffer mental disorders, be disabled, die in car accidents or of cancer and to kill themselves. All for, on average, 8 per cent more in our pay packets than women receive.

Now, sure, there are plenty of guys out there happy to toddle off to the office and leave the domestics to the missus, but there's also a whole generation of men waking up to the fact there's lots to dislike about the corporate world.

Where once men could go "with streaming banners where noble deeds are done", it's hard to be proud of much that goes on in the workplace; the greed, grasping, politics and backstabbing.

As writer Dorothy Dinnerstein noted: "People want to be where something important is happening. It's perfectly clear something important is happening wherever we're together in a quiet, intimate way ... particularly where adults are nurturing children."

As I wrote on Tuesday, this is why I'm always confused by women who muse about "having it all" - like it's actually something any of us has.

Queen Elizabeth doesn't have it all. She nods through 350 boring state luncheons a year and has to hug sick people in hospitals. George Clooney has no privacy and would get picked in bar fights every time he went outside Santa Monica.

The following line bothered some of you earlier in the week because it was "reductionistic" but I like its simplicity: "Life is a compromise whether you stand or sit to pee: Women go through labour and give up careers to raise kids and men mine coal, lose the same children in custody battles and get their heads punched in."

American comic Bill Burr does a stand-up routine in which he tells of an ex-girlfriend who asks, "Why does a guy make more an hour to do the exact same job, huh?"

"I'll tell you why," he replies. "Because in the unlikely event we're both on a Titanic and it starts to sink, for some f---ed up reason, you get to leave with the kids and I have to stay.

"It's a dollar-an-hour surcharge - that if something messed up happens - that I can't either leave or I gotta get in the way of it to give you a head start. Rabid dog, run honey! You hear a bump in the night, I gotta check it out. Yes! He does have a knife!"

An over-simplification, of course, but I'm surely not the only man who'd be happy to swap my 8 per cent for an extra five years of life, more time with his kid and the guarantee I'll not be found swinging from a beam when I turn 55.

Sam de Brito's latest novel Hello Darkness is in bookstores now. You can follow him on Twitter here. His email address is here.