The male does some pretty dumb things to impress the female


MIAMI -- In today's column, we'll examine the recent decision by the NBA to allow the use of the zone defense. If there's time afterward, we'll talk about exciting new advances in the prevention of jock itch.... OK, men, now that women have fled this page like a flock of startled geese, let me tell you the real reason we're gathered here today. In two words: Harry Rabin.

He's 77 years old and, according to his lawyer, a decorated veteran of World War II who saw action at Normandy. Recently, Harry was sentenced to three years in federal prison for robbing several banks in Skokie and Glenview, Ill.

You know why he did it?

He was trying to impress a girl. The "girl" was 76.

Ah, the things we do for love. We male men of the guy persuasion, I mean. There's an apparently endless list of Dumb Things We Do as a way of telling women, "I find you attractive. Can we please have sex?"

The details: Harry's sweetheart was rich. And poor Harry was a retired security guard who worried that he wasn't in her league. That a woman from the lobster-and-champagne crowd would soon grow bored with a guy on a beer-and-chili budget. So in the fall of '98, Harry picked up a gun and embarked upon his life of crime. He netted $8,700 in the first two robberies; police nabbed him soon after the third.

Harry told the judge he can't believe he did something so dumb. For whatever it's worth, I can.

Because when it comes to doing dumb things to impress the babes, every heterosexual male nitwit in the world has battle scars a mile long.

At least that's the finding of a recent survey I conducted by the highly scientific journalistic method of -- I'm a trained professional, kids, so don't try this at home -- asking around.

My research turned up one guy who rode Greyhound from New York City to Atlanta so he could spend time -- all of three hours -- with his girlfriend. Then he hopped back on the bus because he had to get back to work. In New York.

There's a teen-ager who bragged to his girl about his new car. This kid, who can't even drive, then jumped on his bike and pedaled over to her house. Spent the entire visit praying she wouldn't look outside.

Remember the scene from "Aliens" in which the android spreads his fingers on the table and stabs a knife between them with staccato speed to prove his precision? One guy tried to duplicate that for a girl. Like to cut his finger off.

And then there's a 36-year-old buddy of mine who tried to prove to his girl how "young and fit" he was by roller-blading off a ramp. Naturally, he took a nasty fall. She thought he should go to the emergency room, but my friend just laughed a deep, manly laugh and told her there was no need.

Ended up driving himself to the ER the next day, using the one arm that wasn't swollen and impossible to lift.

It seems a common characteristic of guyhood, this cheerful willingness to risk embarrassment, disfigurement or disability to please a woman. Not just among us human types. I mean, male frogs sing frog arias, male owls offer dead mice, male bighorn sheep try to butt each other's brains out. And, at least one male human robbed banks. It's all the same when you get down to it.

And right about here, I guess, your humble correspondent ought to confess some of the dopey things he has done in the pursuit of love. But golly gosh, we're just about out of space. Besides, I think the women are coming back.

So in closing, let me just say that there remain serious questions about the effect of the zone defense. But the outlook is good for the elimination of jock itch in our lifetime.

Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald He can be reached at his e-mail address,, or by calling toll-free at 1-888-251-4407.

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