Inboards and Outboards

OB&HandicappedWho among us naps in a public rest room? Last week we joined friends to see make sure our sailboats were secure in their winter berths. The forecast was for the mercury to plummet 50 degrees with 50 mph gusts. There was a great deal of ice in the harbor but the bubbler had kept our hulls bobbing on open waters. It was the flowing of beverages through the tube that connects our nose and toes that motivated a visit to Palisades – the local pub that during floods is located in the Mississippi River (


Stag on Board

Palisades’ rest rooms are coded for boaters’ ease of comprehension – Outboards and Inboards. Apparently some guys need a visual cue to get them into the right room – so a stag head adorns the adjacent wall. It’s pretty common to give kitschy names to bathrooms located in nautical communities. The names Buoys and Gulls confuse landlubbers – but Out and In seem to trigger universal understanding of the appropriate venue for males and females to find public relief. The Aussie’s have their Dunny. Thomas Crapper gave Americans the Crapper. We have our Johns and TP, the Brits have their Jacks and bogroll.


Comfort Station for the Gulls


Sits one – stands a few good men

Palisades’ Inboard room sits two. While I didn’t venture into the Outboard – it had a distinct industrialized look from the open door. The Inboard is decorated and has a reading lamp to create a restful atmosphere.

The stark contrast between rooms reminds us that men and women are different. While the head is the center of attention in any public maritime bathroom – the brain of a man standing in the Outboard room is very different from the brains of women chatting away in the Inboard room.

Male brains are pretty much wired from front to back and concentrate more on one side of the brain than the other. Listening to the guys play back the same conversation week after week it’s probably the right side – the part of the brain that make sense of the big picture. Because the bulk of wiring in male brains isn’t linked to the center of language guys can sum up a three hour sporting event with just a few words. Some guys criticize men who talk a lot about their feelings and describe them as a clogged head –  full of it. Neural engineering is also responsible for the male phenomenon whereby what ever is seen goes from the eyes to the rear end of the brain that is close to the command center of instinctive bodily functions – like sex. When a man sees an attractive woman the brain automatically fires up the outboard.

Women’s brains are connected from side to side in a way that engages both hemispheres. The wiring scheme of human brains develops during the crazy teen years when guys sprout facial hair and a deep love for their outboards and women begin lunar cycles of cramping. The two sides of the female brain share neural pathways that connect what they see with how they feel. Neither side functions without the other being involved. The right hemisphere is connected with the left hemisphere that commands language. This is why it’s so easy for women to share our thinking and ask for directions. Women’s brains work by keeping both sides in touch. This helps us understand why women often visit rest rooms in pairs and why guys fear their galls are in there comparing the size of their outboards.


It’s not the size of the lower unit – it’s the spin of the prop.