Comparing pain is like comparing painters

My Sentiments Exactly

There’s a debate that’s been going on for many, many years. Perhaps decades. Shoot, I don’t know, maybe even centuries?

It has to do with pain tolerance and who does it better, boys or girls.


If I’ve heard this quote once, I’ve heard it a thousand times — and I am, for once, NOT exaggerating for a laugh. Not that I’m above that sorta thing. Making y’all smile and chuckle, kinda my jam.

I digress.

The long-standing claim in question is this: If men had to go through childbirth, humanity would become extinct.


Women make this bold statement all the time. And men scoff at it, all the time.

But the reality is, there’s really not ever going to be a way to know who the true pain masters are, now is there?

For the love of Pete, I’m begging y’all to NOT wax scientific about future possibilities of boys bearing babies. I just don’t think I’ve got enough non-aspirin, coffee and / or dark chocolate on hand to dive into that whole kooky concept just now, ‘kay? #PleaseDontGoThere

But the point is this: How does anyone ever really, truly understand how much something physically hurts another human being?

Sure, there are parameters, measurements, guidelines and what not. Heck, there’s even that goofy smiley face chart thingy that goes from grinning to downright Mr. Yucking you right out of the doctor’s office.

I hate that chart. I find it inane. Not insane. But yes, inane. You know, silly. Insipid. Pointless. In fact, I find it sort of ridiculous when someone asks me to measure my pain, period.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, Patty, how much pain are you in?”

Um, I don’t know … 6.725?

What the heck kind of question is that? Even if I tell you I’m at a 10, that could totally be a 4 for you. Or a 76.

I mean, some things just aren’t that easy to gage, and I think pain tolerance / level is right up there on the list.

It’s so personal and subjective. Not to mention the cornucopia of factors at play.

Where is the pain? Is it aching or throbbing? Is it stabbing or pulsating? Does it start then stop then start again like your old Chevette in the 1980s?


It reminds me of those ridiculous word problems you had to figure out on the timed tests when you were a kid that not only never made sense to me but also I almost always missed.

“If a train traveling at 65 mph leaves New York at 7 p.m. and arrives in Pittsburgh at 10:15 p.m., what was the color of the carpeting in the dining car?”

Wait, what? Um, gray?

I was always inclined to go with answer “C” on the multiple choice when I filled in the bubble with my No. 2 pencil. And how come it had to be No. 2? You got something against the lead in a No. 3? Sheesh.

Anyhoo, I just think things like assessing how much something physically hurts one Homo sapien vs. another is like asking if Leonardo da Vinci was a better painter than Pablo Picasso. #TooCloseToCall

Suffice it to say, only YOU can prevent forest fires — and / or know how much something hurts YOU.

But if another human’s in pain, the least we can do is try to lessen it for ’em, capisce?

Kimerer is a columnist with a fairly high tolerance for pain. #KidneyStoneSlayer. Try to convince her da Vinci isn’t the GOAT at www.patriciakimerer.com.


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