You can't run away from a cliché -- especially if it's true. Take the longstanding stereotype that men don't care as much about hygiene as women. In a study of the germs that lurk in office environments in three major U.S. cities, the researchers came to the unsettling (if somewhat unsurprising) conclusion that women really do appear to be cleaner, at least at work. But there might be another explanation that lets men off the hook.
The researchers analyzed germs in 30 business settings New York, San Francisco, and Tucson, and while the main finding was that phones and chairs harbor the most microorganisms, the study couldn't help but point out that there was a direct correlation between the concentration of germs in an office and the number of male employees. However, the researchers tactfully pointed out that men tend to be bigger than women, and thus have a larger surface area for harboring bacteria. In other words, it could be that men are just as clean as women -- but then again, maybe not. The study authors also noted that while they found 549 genera of bacteria -- mostly originating in the mouth, nose, and on the skin -- the majority of it is not harmful.
Some less obvious differences between the sexes:
- On average, a man's skin is 25 percent thicker than a woman's and has more collagen, a structural protein that strengthens connective tissue.
- A man's ring finger tends to be longer than his index finger, while the opposite is true for women.
- A British study suggests that men might be more vain than women; men look in the mirror about 23 times a day, whereas women gaze at their reflection 16 times a day.