Men humiliate men. Constantly. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Man who finishes in last place in his fantasy football league is required to make an embarrassing photo calendar that celebrates famous moments in print history, including a recreation of the ESPN: The Magazine Naked Prince Fielder cover and the famous photo of breastfeeding on the cover of TIME.

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Also something you would find almost exclusively in the company of men.

Embarrassing your closest friend in the most unimaginable and horrific way possible is the stuff of men. So, too, are most pranks and public insults. Men are intentionally cruel and purposefully hurtful to one another on a minute-to-minute basis,  and we are just fine with it.

We actively, unrelentingly seek to annoy, harass, humiliate, poke, and prod one another. We plot and plan for months (in sometimes years) in order to pull off the perfectly timed prank.

The best gift that I have ever received was a gift-wrapped box that my friend, Jeff, handed me before a round of golf. We were kicking off my bachelor party weekend, and Jeff told me that this little box was my wedding gift. I was instructed not to open it. Just hand it to our friend, Tom, when there were lots of people around him, and tell him that it was my gift to him for agreeing to be a groomsman in my wedding.

I asked no questions. Just did what I was told.

I waited until a large group of men had gathered near the starter’s shed and handed Tom the box. “Thanks for being a part of my wedding,” I said.

Tom looked surprised. Appreciative. Humbled. He thanked me. Then he untied the ribbon and open the box. Inside was one of the largest spiders I have ever seen. Tom is deathly afraid of spiders, so he screamed like a little girl, threw the box into the air, and ran.

Best gift ever. Not only was Tom’s reaction priceless, but my own surprise was like icing on the cake.

But this is the kind of thing that almost only happens with men.

Women are rarely involved in pranks. They are almost never openly cruel to their closest and dearest friends. They never seek to embarrass or humiliate the ones they love. The idea that a group of women would make one of their friends pose for those calendar shots is unthinkable. 

I’m not sure why this is so, but I’m so happy to be on the male side of this equation. I have been the victim of many, many pranks and cruelties at the hands of my friends over the years. I have been humiliated far more often than I have humiliated a friend. As a friend once told me, “It’s not that you’re an easy target. You were just born to be the target.”

It’s true. I don’t know why, but he was right. Had I been competing in that fantasy league, the universe would have undoubtedly pushed me into last place, injuring my players in any way possible to make it happen, and I would’ve been the one posing naked.

It would’ve been humiliating photos of me hanging in offices and kitchens and features on Deadspin.

Still, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Will my daughter miss out on the culture of cruel pranks and purposeful, public embarrassment because she is a girl? If so, I’m sad. Also, why?

Men can somehow be incredibly cruel to one another, in a very protracted and public ways, and not damage their friendships at all.

Pranks are accepted in male culture. They are encouraged. Embraced.

They may actually serve to strengthen friendships over time.

The more elaborate and cruel the prank, the better.

The prank that these minor league baseball players played on their teammate, Jeff Francoeur, is hilarious and incredibly embarrassing. Not only did they make him look foolish, but they created a film to document the prank and posted it online, where it’s received more than a million views already.


Still, I have no doubt that the relationship between Jeff Francoeur and his teammates remains unaltered and unharmed. He may be embarrassed, and he may be plotting revenge, but he’s not angry.

This is how man are.

I don’t see this same phenomenon in female culture. Perhaps I’m wrong, but the elaborate prank, the public acts of cruelty and the constant attempts to embarrass or derail your friends for the sake of amusement are not things that I see women regularly embrace.

Women don’t seem to prank one another. At least not with the frequency that men do.

As a man, I’d be hesitant to prank a woman, especially in a public way. 

As the father of a little girl, it makes me sad to think that she may miss out on the joy of prank culture. Some of the pranks that I have perpetrated and been victim to are some of my all-time favorite memories.


When I was 17 years-old and working at McDonald’s, my friends waited for me outside the restaurant, near the dumpster, knowing that I would be bringing out the trash soon. As I lifted the first bag into the dumpster, they emerged from their hiding places (four guys in all), dragged me to the ground, held me down and tickled me in front of fellow employees and customers for a solid minute before sprinting to their cars and driving off. 

I’ll never forget it. It was horrible and embarrassing and even a little  terrifying at first, but it was hilarious, too.

I have dozens, if not hundreds, of memories like that. 

I’d hate to think that Clara won’t enjoy similar moments in her life because she’s a girl.

Tell me I’m wrong.