So let’s say you’re a woman walking alone in the woods. Which would you rather encounter unexpectedly—a man or a bear?

The question, posed on TikTok a few weeks ago, went viral as they say. Think cholera/bubonic plague/smallpox levels of viral.

The reason for all the fuss? Because the VAST majority of women interviewed responded, without hesitation, “the bear.”

Wasn’t even close.

I should tell you my answer–probably because I’m old enough to remember TV rabbit ears and Figurines– was “the man.”

When I posed the TikTok question to several young women in my life (mostly mid to late 20s) their responses were quick and, to my surprise, unanimous: “I’ll take the bear.”

Again, I think age has a lot to do with the response. My survey sample is at the age where attacks seem more likely to come from a man than a bear so…

That said, I’m sticking with “Man.” Final answer. Any animal in the woods would terrify me but a bear? Hard pass. I’d try to get away of course but wouldn’t be able to remember if you’re supposed to run zigzag (or is that alligators?) or hit it hard in the nose (or is that sharks?) or stop, drop and roll (fire, right?) or crouch in a bathtub (tornado?) or jump in the nearest ditch (also tornado or maybe if you’re just trying to get away from someone trying to make you wear Crocs, drink kombucha or vote Republican.)

Unsurprisingly, men aren’t taking these findings well (“a BEAR?!? You’re more afraid of a man than a BEAR?!?”) and have tried to mansplain why they find the answer ridiculous which has only made things worse.

I’ll leave it to the various “ologists” to decide what choosing the bear means for our culture and beyond. As a bear says to himself when he hides behind a tree and watches a family of five arriving at their deep-woods campsite with bags of groceries: That’s a lot to unpack.

Interestingly, no one seems to think it’s weird to be walking in the woods alone. To be clear, that was the most frightening part of the hypothetical question to me.

Why am I in the woods? Alone? Did my car break down and I decided to detour through THE WOODS to get help because the road is too orderly and predictable? It’s not like we’ve ever watched a horror movie in which there was a bad and bloody outcome by going into the WOODS. Am I in the woods because I regret not getting Lyme Disease even once and have resolved to do something about that? Am I walking alone in the woods because I’m just STUPID? Wait. Don’t answer that.

In the meantime, I’d like to offer up a bunch more things besides bears and men that I’d hate to encounter while walking alone in the woods. For example…

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem because, after hiking awhile, I’d probably smell like a goat and y’all know how that sets her off

A worm like the one that ate its way through RFK Jr.’s brain Very Hungry Caterpillar style

Any of those scary creatures seen crowding into the Met Gala. As Aunt Verlie used to say: “Put some CLOTHES on!”

One more person wanting to show me a bunch of fuzzy Northern Lights pictures on their phone

Golden Bachelor Gerry Turner telling a random fallen log: “I think you should know that I feel a very special connection to you…”

Drake and Kendrick Lamar because all that fussing and fighting is going to wake up the BEARS! Also, manufactured feuds between gazillionaires are soooo 2010.