"Guy radio" is Giving Me a Headache

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"Guys are simple. We like to drink beer, hang out with our buddies and watch and play sports."

It's the late afternoon - 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. slot - on MOJO Radio ("The All New AM 640") and listeners are calling in to respond to host Scruff Connors' query: What do women need to understand about men?

One caller is cheesed off because his girlfriend refuses to have sex with him when he comes home drunk. Enzo e-mails to say that he's flummoxed as to why his wife is so mad because he stood her up on their fifth anniversary to go to a hockey game ("I mean, it's the Leafs!").

Another guy has three things to tell his wife if she's listening: "Porn is an acceptable form of movie viewing; 'pull my finger' is a fun game to play; and, honey, don't forget about my balls."

Launched a couple of weeks back, MOJO is, according to its press bumpf, "the world's first talk radio for guys," a "pure shot of audio testosterone," where men can discuss their "favourite topics - sex, sports, gadgets, gear, cars, comedy, beer, babes - in a lighthearted, zany and entertaining manner."

MOJO's billboards feature women in bikinis barbecuing or hoisting power tools, and a television ad has a dude duct-taping a toilet seat up to the back of a toilet along with the tagline, "Finally, it's okay to be a guy again." I had apparently blinked and missed the great feminist epoch when it wasn't, but in the interest of hearing the guy voices which had, up to this date, been missing, nay, silenced in the media, I tuned in for an entire day of MOJO.

Okay, so I admit I slept in through the Humble and Fred morning show, but I did catch the 9:20 a.m. to noon slot, hosted by the "zanily" monickered Ripkin!, devoted to "the day's leading issues from a guy's perspective."

The leading issue today is the effect of spicy chicken wings on Ripkin!'s digestive tract, and how much he enjoys the burning sensation "going in and coming out." It takes an astonishing 20 minutes for Ripkin! to exhaust that topic before he moves on to gas-price hikes and game six of the Leafs/Devils playoff series.

More hockey, more gas prices and a discussion of air-conditioning follow on the noon to 2 p.m. Magazine show, hosted by Maie Pauts, MOJO's token shot of audio estrogen. There's some tension during a debate about whether Janet Jackson is pretty (Pauts) or fat (her producer, Ira). Pauts sounds perky and desperate, like a hostess overseeing a particularly bad party. I imagine her adding up her vacation time on a calculator while she takes calls.

More hockey on Definitely Derringer from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ("Devils fans are the ugliest collection of human beings on the planet") and a kind of inspired bit on "the top ten beatings in the history of cinema."

Host John Derringer suggests, among others, Robert DeNiro's "Louisville slugger shampoo" in The Untouchables and Sonny Corleone's beating of his brother-in-law Carlo in The Godfather.

It gets a little creepy when an overly earnest listener with Hinkley-esque obsessiveness calls in with a detailed list of his favourite moments of movie violence. He sounds about one bad day away from shooting up a McDonald's and then turning the gun on himself. A headache begins to form behind my left eye.

Mike Stafford hosts the prime 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. drive-home spot and I can see why. He's easily the smartest host, although in this context that's a little like calling him a Beavis among Butt-heads. Stafford feels that oral sex is overrated compared to intercourse and he opens up the phone lines for callers to weigh in on whether they like their "meat smoked or in the oven."

This surprisingly dull debate goes on for two hours.

Here's a newsflash: A lot of men like sex.

Stafford at least has enough awareness to mock his grosser callers, including a musician with a special oral sex device for groupies that involves them kneeling on skateboards and wearing hockey helmets with hand grips. Stafford also employs a creative range of euphemisms for the sex act: "Giving an Elton," "getting a shiner," and "making balloon animals."

This even momentarily impresses me, until I realize that this is dumbing down in action, that my headache is actually the sensation of my brain beginning to atrophy. I hit the seek button on my radio, searching for the most un-guy-like station I can find - folk, opera, classical, just anything but talk - and begin to deprogram.

Rachel Giese's column originally appeared in The Toronto Star. It appears on rabble.ca with permission.

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