Mark Dolliver’s Takes

Since “woman’s work is never done,” it stands to reason that women feel an acute shortage of “me time.” A survey of women by Health magazine adds to the literature of lament on this topic. (How harried women find time to answer frequent surveys on the issue is something of a mystery.) Asked how much “me time” they get on a typical weekday, fewer than half (46 percent) said it’s more than an hour; 27 percent get half an hour or less, including 12 percent who get less than 15 minutes. Things are only slightly better on a weekend, when 56 percent get more than an hour a day. Moreover, the time crunch is worsening: 53 percent of women said they have less time for themselves now than they did five years ago, vs. 37 percent saying they have more. As if all that weren’t bad enough, 32 percent of respondents “feel guilty” when they do take time for themselves. Predictably, a majority of women (59 percent) agreed that men, the brutes, “are better at taking time for themselves than women are.” They feel irked by their kids and spouses, as 56 percent said they “wish my family respected my personal time by not interrupting me.” The topic also generates some intra-gender ill will: 34 percent of women agreed with the statement, “I sometimes resent women who have more time for themselves than I have.”

Sports-oriented ads tend to be jokey, as if self-mockery is the characteristic people value most in that context. And yet, people who care about particular athletes and teams are often religiously serious about it. A recent Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll (see chart below) indicates as much. By the way, 14 percent of respondents thought God wanted the Bears to win the Super Bowl, while 11 percent thought he wanted the Colts to win. Comparing two of February’s big events, the same poll asked respondents whether they were more excited about the Super Bowl or Valentine’s Day. Among men, Bowl beat Day by 50 percent to 31 percent, with 5 percent saying “both” and 13 percent “neither.” Among women, Day beat Bowl by 51 percent to 25 percent, with 3 percent saying “both” and 19 percent “neither.” The poll didn’t ask whether people think God takes a hand in how things pan out on Valentine’s Day.

In the age of the Involved Dad, ads routinely show fathers earnestly caring for their young. A campaign for Titus Cycles cuts through this virtuous clutter by featuring a pair of utterly self-centered fathers. Having treated himself to one of the company’s carbon/titanium bicycles—”suggested retail: $5,335.00″—the father in the ad at upper right can hardly do other than put his daughter’s horse up for sale. The father in another ad in the series (who’s bought his Titus bike for $6,585) is cheerily showing his teenage son a brochure for the local community college. (The son looks none too pleased.) TDA Advertising & Design of Boulder, Colo., created the ads.

Nobody’s perfect, but you don’t always expect people to recognize and own up to their lapses. Many of them do so, though, in a Barna Group poll that questioned adults about their behavior during the previous month. Thirty-three percent of respondents confessed to having used profanity in public during that period; 28 percent “said mean things to others about someone else when that person was not present”; 13 percent “told someone something they knew was not true.” Ten percent said they had “gotten even for something someone did to hurt or offend them,” though the survey didn’t specify what form this vengeance took. Sixteen percent of respondents said they’d consumed enough alcohol to qualify as legally drunk, far outnumbering the 3 percent who’d used illicit drugs during the past month. On the plus side, they probably didn’t steal the stuff: Just 4 percent said they “took something that did not belong to them.” Fewer still (2 percent) admitted to “fighting or abusing someone else” in the month prior to being queried.

No wonder they have little appetite left for vegetables. A Datamonitor report says kids age 5 to 9 consumed an average of $114 per capita in confectionery products in 2005. The average child that age also went through $30 worth of ice cream and $58 of “savory snacks,” before washing it all down with $258 in soft drinks.

As the workplace population has grown visibly more diverse, so has the boss population—but not as much. In a poll of workers fielded by Rasmussen Reports for the Hudson professional-staffing firm, 34 percent said they report to a female boss. Seventy-six percent report to a white boss—which, of course, means nearly one-fourth do not. On the other hand, fewer than half (43 percent) said “there is racial, ethnic and gender diversity on their company’s executive team.” Do they care? They claim to: 39 percent said having a diverse workforce is “very important,” with another 31 percent saying it is “somewhat” so. The number of black employees saying workforce diversity is very important is higher—though far from unanimous—at 65 percent. Among Hispanic employees, 51 percent feel that way.

It’s such a popular stereotype that it served as the premise of a TV show, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. But is it true that gays (and lesbians) are more style-conscious than heterosexuals? A survey by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications casts some doubt on the assumption. Adults were asked whether they agree or disagree with the statement, “I like to keep up with the latest styles and trends.” Among gays and lesbians, 13 percent agreed “strongly” and 25 percent “somewhat.” The numbers were lower, but not dramatically so, among heteros, with 8 percent agreeing strongly and 24 percent somewhat. Heterosexuals were more likely than gays and lesbians to strongly disagree with the statement (17 percent vs. 13 percent), but less likely to disagree somewhat (19 percent vs. 22 percent).

Despite their general enthusiasm for the Internet, Americans don’t yet regard it as a source of suitable boyfriends. Fielded for the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee, a poll by Zogby International presented respondents with a hypothetical 20-year-old daughter and asked them where they’d least like her to dredge up a boyfriend. A plurality (32 percent) said they would be most averse to having her bring home a boy-friend she met on the Internet. That easily surpassed the number who’d least like her to latch onto a beau at a bar (22 percent) or at a Star Trek convention (16 percent).