By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Macho Madness Looking For Direction
Placeholder Image
It was an incident that made me think I was going to have turn in my man card.

My coworkers privy to this incident, who happen to be women, gleefully pointed out my behavior, reveling in the fact that I clearly broke a man rule.

To their delight, they caught me following written instructions.

As one colleague pointed out, "That's worse than asking for directions!"

I've written before about working with an office full of women. Not that it's a big deal; I simply spent the first 25 years of my working life in a field that was predominantly staffed by men. Many of who had type A personalities, where there was a constant battle in obtaining and keeping one's alpha status.

I did pretty well in such a system, but it did nothing to prepare me for working at the newspaper, which is mostly staffed by women.

From the smell of potpourri wafting from offices to soccer moms running in and out of the office to round up kids, there is a flow of estrogen here that I've never experienced.

But - and I'm not sure if I'm bragging here - I adapted pretty well as the proverbial fish out of water.

And while I don't keep up with all the recent celebuturd happenings in People Magazine, we'll still talk politics, sports, and other worthy current events at times.

In fact, my coworkers and I have a lot of fun with the whole Venus/Mars thing. I might hear one of my coworkers commenting on changing hairdressers, or the amount of time spent getting ready for work, and I'll respond with what has become my catchphrase:

"It's good to be a man!"

Which leads to my recent embarrassing moment.

Like most men, I don't see the point in asking for directions - I'll figure it out, just give me a minute - or worse, following written instructions.

So when the packet from the California Newspaper Publishers Association arrived in the mail, detailing the 2010 Better Newspapers Competition, I glanced over it and began the process of deciding which articles I wanted to enter from the previous year. Like most reporters, we'll wait until the last hour of the last day to mail our entries, (that's the deadline, after all), but I thought we might start a few days earlier this time around.

But this year the CNPA threw in a wrinkle. Half the categories for judging had to be entered online, in digital format, instead of the normal 'hard copy' process of making a packet of newspaper pages sent through the mail.

At least, that's what one of my coworkers pointed out when she read the instructions.

"Did you read the instructions?" she asked.

Yeah, right. Why would I do that?

As she logged onto the webpage where we were to upload and send out contest articles, she came to a part where she had to either print something, or log off. There were no clear instructions, so she asked me.

"Just log off," I recommended, pointing out I would log in from my computer.

I answered with authority, as I tend to do when I don't know the answer to something, so of course this made a mess of things.

So in order to fix it, I had to actually read the attached instructions, line by line. And when this didn't work, I had to call the CNPA office for clarification. It was like following instructions and asking for directions all rolled into one.

Which led to some of my coworkers chucking at my non man-like behavior.

No worries, though. But I might have to wait a bit before I get some potpourri of my own ...

Craig Macho is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.