A funny thing happened as we were perusing the leisure-time results in the Windows IT Pro Industry Survey 2004. We had decided on a lark to compare and contrast our results based on the gender of the respondents, and when we did so, the results began to literally speak for themselves. Surely, as IT pros, you’re familiar with the concept of virtual reality. Well, springing straight from our data were two average IT administrators, male and female, married with a family, and almost immediately bickering. We asked them to tell us a little about their after-hours activities (now, don’t get dirty), and we’ve recorded their conversation for your enjoyment.

“Name’s Joe. I’m a guy. An IT guy. You might call me a composite of all the dudes who responded to this survey, but I like to think of myself as a regular Joe. The good folks at Windows IT Pro asked me to say a few words about my life of leisure. Yeah, right.”

“Yeah, it’s like they think we have a life outside work. Ha ha ha!”

“Tell ‘em your name, hon.”

“Oh, it’s Jane. I represent a minority here, unfortunately. Chicks rule!”

“I guess I’ll start. Um. One way I differ from Jane is that I value family activities above all else.”

“What?!”

“I’m that one who spends the quality time with the kids, learning about their day and horsing around and stuff. “

“How dare you—”

“Hey, it’s right here in the numbers, sweetheart.”

“I see how you are. You’re saying I’m less of a mom to our 2.5 kids because the survey says so? Well, if you’d look at the results a little closer, you’d see that the percentage of women who enjoy family activities is about the same as for men, it’s just that we consider family time as part of our work, so in our leisure time, a lot of us prefer to escape into a good book.”

“Uh huh. But yeah, you’re always reading. You love your romance paperbacks. Even when you’re in the kitchen, your head is bent in some cookbook or other.”

“Listen, Bub, it’s a challenge feeding this family. You oughtta try it.”

“All right, all right, no need to get mean. I’m sure I could use a little culinary enhancement. But apart from that, we can agree on what we like to read, right?”

“The Bible and Lord of the Rings.”

“Masterpieces.”

“Mark Minasi’s books.”

“Naturally. But guys, if we’re looking for a little on-the-page escapism, you can’t do any better than Tom Clancy or Stephen King, am I right?”

“Eww. More like Harry Potter or Atlas Shrugged.”

“Egad. Reminds me of your chick flicks—Princess Bride, Casablanca…”

“Those are great movies! Far better than your testosterone-fueled fantasies. I mean, really, Star Wars? The Godfather? Aliens? The Matrix? Are there even any women in those?”

“Carrie Ann Moss (drool).”

“Oh please.”

“Whatever. What about TV?”

“What about it, except that you dominate the remote?”

“Who’s the one who kicks off her shoes at night and just starts surfing channels for lame sitcoms?”

“Both of us, according to the survey.”

“Hey, statistics don’t always tell the whole truth. I watch them because you like them, hon.”

“So you’re saying the results are skewed because of nice guys like you?”

“I can only speak for myself, dear.”

“Okay. So what do you and your thousand-plus cohorts watch when you’re not watching your significant other’s favorite sitcom?”

“Well, when football is on, you know there’s no discussion about what we’re watching.”

“Or when Star Trek is on, or The X-Files, or The Simpsons. Speaking of The Simpsons, If I’d known that I was marrying the Comic Book Guy when we—”

“Whoa there, babe, that’s hitting a little below the belt.”

“You’re a geek!”

“So are you!”

“Oh. Yeah.”

“Anyway, we agree on music, don’t we?”

“For the most part, yeah. Rock and Adult Contemporary.”

“What the heck is Adult Contemporary?”

“I’m just reading the chart here, but it does have a nice ring to it. Adult Contemporary.”

“I like adult movies.”

“Joseph! Shhh!”

“I like watching them with you, baby.”

“Oh, good Lord.”

“Remember that one time in the park—”

“—when we went hiking, yes, I do remember that. In fact, we both do a lot of that—hiking, that is.”

“I prefer to take the bike out for a long ride …”

“I like to go for a swim …”

“Mmm, remember that one time, in the pool at the park—”

“Shut up.”

“Okay.”