Lately, I have had some pent-up animosity toward children who do not live in West Chester. That rain that they have been wishing away and asking to come again another day? Obviously, judging from the weather over the past few weeks, all of those wished-away raindrops are being sent to WCU instead.
Although, walking and pouting through the rain to get to class has led me to notice an interesting happening: almost every umbrella that I see on campus is being used by a female. Why? Do males have some water-repellent superpower that we females do not know about? Or are umbrellas a feminine sign of weakness, so umbrella usage then emasculates men?
I understand that many males want to have a tough exterior—they want people to know that they are not scared of a little bit of rain. But do men really think that women use umbrellas because we are “scared” of rain? The last time I checked, I used an umbrella because I did not want my hair, bag, phone, and whatever else I was carrying to get wet, and I did not want to smell like rain, not because I was scared of it.
The majority of the people, both male and female, whose opinions I have requested about this phenomena assumed that men, simply, just do not care. I have a hard time believing this. Does it really not bother guys that they have to sit through one or multiple classes in a soaked sweatshirt? Or that anything they are carrying also gets wet? Or that, if a guy wears glasses, it is nearly impossible to keep them dry without an umbrella? And even if the rain itself does not physically annoy males, does it really not bother guys that using an umbrella is not even a completely, socially-accepted option? I know it is “just rain,” but that is not the point. Why is this asinine social restraint tolerable?
A friend of mine commented the other day on how sickening couples who share umbrellas are, with which I concurred. Our Editor-in-Chief, Rae, pointed out that maybe that is another possible reason as to why some guys do not use umbrellas—because they may not have someone to cuddle close with under the protection of an umbrella. Are umbrellas not only emasculating, but somehow too romantic as well?
Now, my final question: if umbrellas do in some way emasculate men, why is it that the small number of men whom I do see actually using umbrellas on campus are typically older, wiser men such as professors and other business professionals? Does that not completely reverse the notion that umbrellas are emasculating? Some of the most distinguished, intelligent men on campus are confident enough to realize that umbrellas are essential. And honestly, what is more attractive than confidence?
So here is my challenge to all WCU males: if you agree that this umbrella bias is unfair, then use a freaking umbrella and use it confidently. You will not look like “less of a man”—you will look wiser, and you will smell better. If you still think that you cannot break the boundaries of this social taboo, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and provide me with some of your insight. I would love to know what is going through your rained-upon heads.
Carol Fritz is a third year student majoring in communications studies with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at CF716022@wcupa.edu