Walking Fingers: Plumbing The Differences Between Men And Women
As the millennium draws to a close, men are intent on fixing their cars and women are intent on fixing themselves. So we infer, at any rate, from research conducted by the Yellow Pages Publishers Association. “Auto parts, new and used” is the category men most often use in the directories, while the most-used category for women is “physicians and surgeons.” Showing up in the male top 10 but absent from the female: “auto dealers,” “insurance,” “plumbing contractors” and “lumber-retail.” In the female top 10 but absent from the male: “beauty salons,” “department stores,” “dentists” and “hospitals.” What more need one say about the differences between the sexes? The gender gap does abate, though, where food is concerned: “Restaurants” and “pizza” ranks second and fifth respectively for men and women alike. Among other tidbits from the study by the Denver-based trade group: Women make 91 percent of the references to the “marriage counseling” section. The study also assembled a list of new headings that are turning up in the Yellow Pages. “Angels,” inevitably, is among them. So are “aura photography,” “cigar bars,” “feng shui,” “permanent makeup” and “pet-waste removal.”
It’s History: War And Forgetfulness
As the hubbub over CNN’s retracted nerve-gas story indicates, the war in Vietnam can still flare into public view. In the absence of a news peg, though, it’s receding from the nation’s consciousness. Conducted for The History Channel, a Roper Starch poll asked people to cite the historical event they recall most vividly. Just 4 percent picked the war, while the assassination of John Kennedy led the tally with 24 percent. Another part of the poll asked respondents to name (without being prompted by a list of nominees) the person in this century they most admire. What’s striking is that nobody won a double-digit percentage of the mentions, though Kennedy came close, at 9 percent. Franklin Roosevelt was the runner-up, named by 6 percent; Martin Luther King Jr. and Ronald Reagan each got 5 percent. Mother Teresa (3 percent) and Princess Diana (2 percent) were the only women in the top 10.
What Women Want: But They’re Most Aroused By Personal Questions
Perhaps CBS should promote its evening newscast as the one for women to watch when they really want to know what’s happening in the world. After all, they’re less apt to drift off into sexual reveries as its anchorman describes the latest efforts in Congress to enact campaign-finance reform. That’s just one of the implications to be gleaned from a reader survey by Cosmopolitan on the topic of lust. (The magazine devotes its current issue to the theme of sex. Cynics will suggest this is like Sports Illustrated devoting an issue to sports.)
As you can see from the chart above, relatively few of the respondents insist their thoughts are altogether chaste when they watch the news. Nor, it seems, are their thoughts especially chaste at other times of the day, either. Asked how many times a day they think about sex, 23 percent said “I lose count,” while 9 percent said its 11-20 times, 20 percent said 6-10 times and 40 percent said 2-5 times.
Giving Hollywood its due, the survey asked women which movie star they fantasize about most. Brad Pitt and George Clooney topped the list, each pulling 23 percent of the vote, with Antonio Banderas (17 percent), Tom Cruise (13 percent) and John Travolta (12 percent) filling out the top five.
Elsewhere in the survey, we learn why sales of whipped cream have held up so well in these diet-conscious times. Invited to choose their favorite food-and-sex fantasy, respondents gave top honors to “licking whipped cream and/or honey off each other’s bodies.” (Marketers of those items, take note.)
Careful readers will also learn why men strive to climb the corporate ladder. While 38 percent of the women said they fantasize about having sex with their boss, only 22 percent harbor such thoughts about their office subordinate. In response to the same question, a mere 6 percent said they’ve fantasized about having sex with the nation’s president. The article doesn’t disclose whether it’s the same 6 percent who fantasize about sex with Dan Rather.
She’s ‘Worthy’: An Endorsement Of Dion
You’ve seen the movie; now, watch for the endorsements. IEG Endorsement Insider, a newsletter covering the celeb-endorsement field, conducted a poll to gauge the appeal of various pop-music stars. And the winner is (pause) Celine Dion! Buoyed by her role as Titanic songstress, Dion tied Eric Clapton for first place in a measure of likability, and she led all comers in credibility (with Clapton as runner-up, and Elton John and George Strait close behind). In a category termed “worthy of respect,” Dion was second only to John. As for “common touch,” she ran second to Strait and ahead of such commoners as Clapton and Shania Twain.
MIXED BLESSINGS: The Crashes of ’98, Pisa by the Pacific, Pay-Phone Phobia, Etc.
In the digital age, “My computer crashed” has eclipsed “The dog ate my homework” as the excuse of choice when a task goes uncompleted. But how often do the machines really go haywire? An online poll by PC Computing magazine finds a near-majority of respondents (45 percent) saying their machines crash more than once a week. For a luckier one-third of the respondents, such misfortunes occur only once a month or so. Of course, the survey
sample doesn’t include people whose PCs are so chronically out of order that they aren’t able to get online.

Speaking of misfortunes, sometimes you manage to misplace your glasses in a spot where they stay misplaced. On such occasions, it’s handy to know of a shop that can make you a new pair in one hour. (And maybe they can refer you to a reliable internist while they’re at it.) A campaign for Dallas Eye Associates gives vivid form to that message. Another ad in the series shows a business traveler striding confidently through an airport as his glasses take off in the plane from which he just disembarked. Grandey/ Shevin of Los Angeles created the ads.

You can imagine the lurid coverage in the local paper: “Corps de ballet laid low in dance of death.” To forestall that very thing, the sponsor of an artsy street festival commissioned an ad alerting motorists to the whereabouts of the Ohio Ballet earlier this month. A note from the agency, Brokaw Advertising of Cleveland, boasts that the poster helped bring thousands of attendees to the event. “More importantly, it saved countless ballerinas from becoming road kill.” Yes, that too.

Here’s a question to brighten a summer day: If you could keep just one of your five senses, which would you choose? Maxi, a Webzine that deals with women’s issues, posed the query in a recent online poll. More than half of the respondents (54 percent) chose to keep their sight, while 26 percent opted for touch and 13 percent for hearing. Taste (4 percent) and smell (2 percent) lagged well behind.

Inclined to go out for Italian food? An ad by Borders, Perrin & Norrander of Portland, Ore., positions a local eatery as the natural choice. Another ad in the Pazzo Ristorante campaign shows a suspiciously papal-looking hat in the restaurant’s hat-check room. A nice touch, but wouldn’t it make more sense in an ad for a kielbasa house?

If your life isn’t littered with promotional calendars, pens, baseball caps and coffee mugs, consider yourself lucky. The latest communiquƒ from the Promotional Products Association International says distributors’ sales of such items totaled $11.9 billion last year. As in past years, wearable items (ranging from jackets to headbands) constitute the largest category of promotional knickknacks, accounting for 27 percent of distributor sales. Rounding out the top five were writing instruments (12 percent), glassware and ceramics (9 percent), calendars (7 percent) and desk/office accessories (6 percent).

You know a slogan has resonance when it’s used as often by competitors as by the company that launched it. At any rate, AT&T’s old invitation to “reach out and touch someone” works like a charm–after a bit of adjustment–in an ad for ConnecTec Cellular. (Pagano Schenck & Kay of Boston created the ad.) Pay phones are becoming such a target of abuse from cell-phone ads that we should expect to see some counter-advertising aimed at assuring us we won’t catch the plague if we use a public phone.

We know that many working mothers are irked by commercials that show women effortlessly gliding between high-powered jobs and picture-perfect kids–as if the viewer’s personal inadequacy is the only possible explanation for her inability to do the same. Now, a reader poll by Glamour magazine points to another reason for advertisers to go easy on the Supermom imagery: Co-workers of that putative ironwoman don’t necessarily think she pulls her weight at the office. Answering the question, “Do employees without kids work harder at your workplace?” 52 percent of Glamour’s respondents said “yes.” Among those holding that opinion, 34 percent believe childless employees are picking up the slack for colleagues “who put family ahead of work,” while 27 percent say the childless contingent simply has more ambition and more time for work. Along the same lines, 42 percent of respondents think job sharing and other parent-oriented benefits are unfair and discriminatory, since they “reward just one segment of the workforce.”