KEEP SEPARATE THE SEXES ON SUPER SUNDAY

Some things in life are not meant to be shared by men and women. Hair curlers. The Three Stooges. Picking a prom dress.

The Super Bowl.

Oh, I know it’s fashionable to make the Super Bowl a coed experience. It is also wrong. The annual over-hyped NFL championship game, which is played tonight, should be one of those times when a woman looks lovingly into her man’s eyes, lets her voice drop to a sexy whisper, and says, “Go downstairs.”

Now, don’t misunderstand. I am not saying women can’t appreciate football. Women can appreciate football fine. Women can appreciate it, at times, more than men.

But they should do it by themselves.

Because what men really want out of Super Bowl Sunday, especially as they get older, is a chance to make believe they are not getting older – a chance to scream, scratch, belch and act like an expert when in fact they don’t know a single player besides the quarterback.

They can do that with guys.

They can’t do it with women.

Sorry. Even Dr. Phil can’t fix that.

Three cheers for the cheerleaders

Let’s say it’s the second quarter of the Super Bowl. By now, the average man has ingested two plates of nachos, four slices of pizza and three beers. He’s feeling cocky. He points to the TV and growls, in his best coach-like voice, “They gotta pass here. Got to pass. No way they run.”

And they run.

If his wife were in the room, she would rightly say, “Honey, they ran. You said they would pass.” Men know not to do this. Men know to either snicker and say, “Nice call, Al,” or to stare in silence, politely ignoring their buddy’s complete misunderstanding of the game, because they know their turn is coming next.

Another issue. Body sounds. Men watching the Super Bowl, especially if it is a typical blowout, will often turn to other forms of amusement. Some of these, especially if there’s chili, barbecue or Mexican food involved, include mature activities such as “pull my finger.”

You do not do this with your mother-in-law in the room.

Cheerleaders. Can we talk cheerleaders? When TV zooms in on those undulating stomachs and low-cut halter tops – and this, by the way, could be during the beer commercials – men know what to say to other men. They say, “Yowzah!”

Or “holy -.”

Sometimes they just blow a mouthful of air through their cheeks and fall backward.

All of this is perfectly acceptable to other men. But not women. Can you imagine the wife’s reaction to “Yowzah!”? It wouldn’t be a friendly snuggle, I can tell you that.

Finding his inner caveman

Men want to scream when a player breaks free. Men want to holler, “Go baby, go baby, go baby!” Men want to leap and slap hands with the guy next to them, as if something really important just happened. Men want to burp. Men want to scratch. Men want to undo their belts and slide into the couch like an otter.

Come on, ladies. Why would you want to be a part of this? I’m a guy and there are times I want out.

Let’s face it. You don’t want your husband shopping for shoes with you. You don’t want him on the other extension as you talk to your girlfriend. You don’t want him holding you while you watch the Oprah show on weight loss.

And guys don’t want women watching the Super Bowl and saying, “That quarterback has a nice butt.”

So forget all these pop psychologists who write books about bonding. Forget all those “Today” show experts who say football can be a coed experience. There are times for sharing, and there are times when men should go to their caves and grunt. The Super Bowl is one of those times.

You’ll notice how a quarterback sounds when he is barking out plays? It’s not English. It’s secret guy talk. And what he’s really saying is, “Pull my finger.”

Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or albom@freepress.com. Catch “The Mitch Albom Show” 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WJR-AM (760). Also catch “Monday Sports Albom” 7-8 p.m. Mondays on WJR. To read recent columns by Albom, go to www.freep.com/index/albom.

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