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Why April is indeed the cruellest of months

“April is the cruellest month because many a man falls prey to women’s blistering blandishments in this month,” wrote T.S. Eliot. A new study in the United Kingdom has found that men are more likely than women to crash their cars in summer — because they’re too busy looking at girls in skimpy outfits. As many as 29% of male drivers admitted in a survey they could not keep their eyes on the road in hot weather when they spotted women in revealing summer clothes.

High temperatures also got the blame for increased levels of road rage. One in five male motorists (21%) confessed to being more prone to aggressive driving during the hot months. And 25% of male drivers have had at least one summertime crash or near-miss in the last five years, compared with just 17% for women, a survey of 1,300 motorists found.

“Research shows men are far more easily distracted behind the wheel than women,” the Daily Express quoted Donna Dawson, a behavioral psychologist, as saying. “Distractions such as billboards or an attractive woman walking down the street can quickly take their attention away from driving. Testosterone plays a part as it makes men more prone to aggression, especially when frustrated by a confined space such as a car — and men are quicker than women to expose such irritability in hot weather,” she said.

Jacky Brown of Sheilas’ Wheels, a car insurance brand based in the U.K. that caters to women, said: “In the age of air-conditioning, you might expect all drivers to be equally chilled out in summer, but men are significantly more likely than women to claim.” Indeed, all men, of any age and stature, are genetically programmed to ogle at women. Whether walking, cycling, peddling, driving or having a leisurely stroll in a park, the very sight of an attractive woman will distract men of all hues.

Researchers have found that even male babies as young as six months feel joyous to see a beautiful model’s face on television. They also show reluctance to leave the warmth of a beautiful woman’s affectionate embrace and have been found to be extra happy after receiving a kiss from a miss! Then they don’t cry the whole day and bother their mothers! Hollywood heart-throb of yore, Clarke Gable, would often say he must have winked at the beautiful nurse when he was born.

So every man grows up with an inherent sense of admiration for a beautiful female face, religiously believing in the dictum, “never lose an opportunity to see anything that is beautiful, for beauty’s god’s handwriting”. There are connoisseurs who will look at a beautiful woman on the billboard with so much passion, attention and intention that they might have a satori at any moment.

The unconventional painter Salvador Dali would often say beauty-gazing is an enlightening experience. “It takes the gazer to heaven,” he would say. It will be debatable where the gazer will finally go, but driving with a roving eye can surely take the admirer to meet his Maker in heaven. Whether it’s the scorching heat of India or the bone-piercing cold of the Arctic region, man will look at a woman with great expectations. And will never get tired of his hobby-horse. Women warm the cockles of a man’s heart, however dry and monotonous he may be.

Some years ago, a Canadian doctor concluded after 20 years of research that men suffer much more than women in terms of pain in the neck. And the reason he stated was that man’s head keeps turning as he finds that every second woman is a veritable head-turner. Going by this finding, whenever I see a man having some problem in his neck, I’m invariably reminded of that doctor’s finding. And when I myself suffered from smarting pain in the neck, I realised that of late my head had begun to turn too much on the road.

Prudential and Metropolitan, two insurance companies from the U.K. and the U.S. respectively, requested the civic authorities not to erect billboards showing beautiful women. The very sight distracted male drivers and caused accidents that resulted in successful insurance claims by the policy-holders. On Oxford Street in London, where the department store Selfridges is situated, billboards showing scantily-clad models is a strict no-no. An inviting face oozing from a hoarding often causes traffic jams as a host of male drivers brake their vehicles to have a glimpse of the sorcerer.

William Faulkner wrote, “Man becomes reckless and cares not for his life when there’s a beautiful woman around.” Many traffic accidents can be explained by the novelist’s incisive observation. After all, didn’t an Urdu poet say, Kisi ko muskura ke khoobsoorat maut na dena / Qasam hai zindagi ki, zindagi ko kaun poochhega (Don’t look at a man smilingly and bestow death upon him / When death will be so desirable, who’ll care for life?).

Remember the New York City Police’s advice to drivers and riders: “Beware of head-turners, they may cause head-on collisions.”

sumitmaclean@hotmail.com


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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 10:12:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/why-april-is-indeed-the-cruellest-of-months/article26899526.ece

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