Boys like footballs. Girls like dolls.

The gender paradigms of our youth have crept out of the playground and into our living rooms. Guys, asked about a show targeted mainly to women, might be interested, but the Chuck Norris inside him screams, “No! Tell her you couldn’t care less about ball gowns made of recycled plastics!”

After wrestling with it for a few seconds, Norris wins, which isn’t surprising. He’s a big guy.

Men have been limiting the programs they watch on television for far too long, fearing the reproachful looks or teasing remarks if someone were to overhear. Sticking to shows like “Ninja Warrior” or watching ESPN all day is entertaining, but after a few years, aren’t we due for a slight change of pace? Here are some shows most guys avoid but shouldn’t:

“Project Runway”

Even if you don’t care about fashion, most guys can appreciate the challenges the contestants get each week. Whether it’s constructing a dress out of apartment furnishings, dressing another contestant’s mother or just plain “making it work,” the contestants are always good for a few laughs or catty interviews. If these reasons still don’t relieve your embarrassment, just remember the host is Heidi Klum.

“Golden Girls”

These are the horniest ladies you will ever meet – and that’s a good thing. Over-the-top libidos are more interesting to watch when they belong to elderly widows instead the run-of-the-mill skank on MTV. The humor in the series isn’t bad, especially when compared to the contrived “funny, sexy jokes” on a series like “Grey’s Anatomy.” “Golden Girls” pulls off the jokes without even trying. Yes, there is the main theme of old-lady friendship which might be lame to some, but try to see it for what it really is – wise-cracking ladies and dominant sexual innuendoes.

“Ugly Betty”

“Ugly Betty” centers on the hectic world of a Vogue-esque fashion magazine. The dialogue is sharp; the one-liners are quotable. With complex plotlines easy to catch up on, you’ll be drawn into the series and its characters immediately. Don’t be ashamed: At least you’re not watching “America’s Next Top Model.”

“Top Chef”

“Top Chef” is on the border of female-centric television but is still ignored by a number of men solely because of the show’s subject. But any man who rejects cooking on the basis of gender roles is a schmuck. The contestants on “Top Chef” are astonishingly talented at their craft, and you’ll likely learn a thing or two about preparing something other than Hot Pockets.

“The View”

The cackling ladies on “The View” are annoying – there’s no denying that. But their banter is not only entertaining, it’s often spontaneously aggressive. The guests on “The View” are more fluff than anything, but if you have nothing to do around 11 a.m. on a weekday, spend an hour with “Babwa” Walters, free of shame.

Refusing to watch shows on account of archaic gender boundaries says a lot more about someone’s character than simply enjoying them for what they’re worth. Pick up the remote and turn on Bravo instead of watching the same “Family Guy” rerun for the third time this week. And if anyone questions you, challenge them to an arm-wrestling contest and win while singing the “Golden Girls” theme song. It’s your life – watch what you want.

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