Confusingly simple, crazily confusing or simply crazy?

July 18, 2010

Wisdom from my niece on Facebook:

Males are simple! We just think they’re confusing because we can’t believe how simple they are.

And in response:

. . . and females aren’t confusing, they are just crazy. we think they are confusing cause they are so crazy.
 
So: are men confusingly simple, or simply confusing and women confusingly crazy or crazily confusing, or are we all simply crazy?

Mars and Venus

February 2, 2009

If proof was needed that men and women come from different planets it’s the posts and comments on yesterday’s Herald editorial  at The Hand Mirror  and Monkeywithtypewriter.

Apropos of that I offer an illustration of the comprehension void between men and women which came in an email, I’m not sure who to credit as the author though some websites attribute it to  Dave Barry.

The Difference Between Men & Women

 

Let’s say a guy named Roger is attracted to a woman named Elaine. He asks her out to a movie; she accepts, they have a pretty good time.

 

A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.

 

And then one evening when they’re driving home, a thought occurs to Elaine and without really thinking she says it aloud: “Do you realise that as of tonight, we’ve been seeing each other for exactly six months?”

 

And then there is silence in the car. To Elaine, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: Gee, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he’s been feeling confined by out relationship; maybe he thinks I’m trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn’t want, or isn’t sure of.

 

And Roger is thinking: Gosh. Six months.

 

And Elaine is thinking: But hey, I’m not so sure I want this kind of relationship, either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space so I’d have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily toward … I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading towards marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?

 

And Roger is thinking: … so that means it was … let’s see, February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer’s which means …lemme check the odometer …Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here.

 

And Elaine is thinking: He’s upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I’m reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from out relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed, even before I sensed it, that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that’s it. That’s why he’s so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He’s afraid of being rejected.

 

And Roger is thinking: And I’m gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don’t care what those morons say, it’s still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It’s 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a goddamn garbage truck and I paid those incompetent thieves $600.

 

And Elaine is thinking: He’s angry. And I don’t blame him. I’d be angry too. God, I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can’t help the way I feel. I’m just not sure.

 

And Roger is thinking: They’ll probably say it’s only a 90 day warranty. That’s exactly what they’re gonna say, the scumballs.

 

And Elaine is thinking: Maybe I’m just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I’m sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my self-centred, schoolgirl romantic fantasy.

 

And Roger is thinking: Warranty. They want a warranty? I’ll give them a goddamn warranty/ I’ll take their warranty and stick it right up their …

 

“Roger,” Elaine says aloud.

“What?” says Roger, startled.

 

“Please don’t torture yourself like this,” she says. Her eyes beginning to brim with tears. “Maybe I should never have … Oh God I feel so ….” (She breaks down, sobbing).

 

“What?” says Roger.

 

“I’m such a fool,” Elaine sobs. “I mean there’s no knight. I really know that. It’s silly. There’s no knight and there’s no horse.”

 

“There’s no horse,” says Roger.

 

“You think I’m a fool, don’t you?” Elaine asks.

 

“No!” says Roger, glad to finally know the correct answer.

 

“It’s just that … It’s just that I … I need some time,” Elaine says.

 

(There is a 15 second pause while Roger, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work).

 

“Yes,” he says.

 

(Elaine deeply moved, touches his hand).

 

“Oh Roger, do you really feel that way?” she says.

“What way?” says Roger.

“That way about time,” says Elaine.

“Oh,” says Roger. “Yes.”

 

(Elaine turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eye, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.

 

“Thank you, Roger,: she says.

“Thank you,” says Roger.

 

Then he takes her home and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul and weeps until dawn whereas when Roger gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV and immediately becomes deeply involved in a return of a tennis match between two Czechoslavakians he’s never heard of.

A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what and so he figures it’s better if he doesn’t think about it. (This is also Roger’s policy regarding world hunger).

 

The next day Elaine will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyse everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification.

 

They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it, either.

 

Meanwhile, Roger, while playing squash one day with a mutual friend of his and Elaine’s will pause just before serving, frown, and say: “Norm, did Elaine ever own a horse?”

 


Peopleism next step for post-feminist progress

August 10, 2008

When a friend is asked why her surname differs from her husband’s, she says it’s because he wouldn’t change his when they married.

 

That the question is even asked is a sign that feminism hasn’t achieved all it set out to. But I am not sure it’s the best vehicle for continuing the journey towards equality – if indeed that is where we ought to be aiming, because some say that women who want to equal men lack ambition.

 

Moving on from that, there are many ways in which life is better for women of my generation than it was for those before us because of the battles fought and won by feminists.

 

But while the barriers which used to stop women following traditionally male careers have largely disappeared, has much improved for those in what were traditionally female occupations whether it’s men or women who are doing them?

 

Feminism has helped women who want to break through the glass ceiling but it has done less for those who clean up behind them. And while it’s generally accepted that women can go where only men went before, the reverse is not necessarily the case.

 

So while women may be accepted as mechanics or engineers, a man who chooses to be a kindergarten teacher, a midwife or to stay at home with the children is likely to be asked, “Whad are ya?”

 

Whether it is a man or a woman who is left holding the babies, the role of primary caregiver is still an undervalued one and that can be said about a lot of other ocupations, paid or unpaid, regardless of who does them. Because when it comes down to basics, it’s the job not the gender which counts and feminism has done nothing to change that.

 

If you shear a sheep it is a job, if you knit its wool into a jumper in a factory or at home for money that’s work too but if you do the knitting for love, it’s only a hobby. Getting a lamb from conception through to chops in the butchery is real work, but getting the chops from the butcher’s to the dining table and cleaning up afterwards is not.

 

Whoever is doing it, these domestic duties are still largely regarded as the unpaid and often unappreciated preserve of women in spite of the best efforts of generations of feminists.

 

There are a lot more important issues than who does the dirty work at home to worry about, but I’m not convinced that feminism is the best way to address them either.

 

One reason for my reservation is that by definition feminism means for women, which leaves a niggling suspicion that it also means against men.

 

Even if it is possible to be pro-women without being anti-men, feminism emphasises the differences rather than the similarities; yet it’s easier to win friends, and campaigns, by establishing common ground than by highlighting divergence. So we should be seeking solutions to our problems, not because we are women but because we are people and these are people’s problems.

 

Self-advocates in IHC call themselves People First  because that’s how they want to be seen. And surely that’s the best way to see everyone, as people, without labels and regardless of any differences between us and others.

 

I am not repudiating feminism, but suggesting there is a step forward from feminism to peopleism; where issues and concerns are addressed by people because they are people’s issues and concerns.

 

Sometimes a group of people or its members might be better able to help those in the group because of what they have in common. But almost always people from other groups have something to offer too. And sometimes by labelling an issue a particular groups issue enables those in other groups to ignore it because it’s not their concern.

 

In other words sometimes women are better able to help other women, but that doesn’t mean men might not be able to help too; and it might prevent the side-lining of important matters as women’s issues if they were regarded as people’s issues.

 

 

And we’ll know we’ve succeeded when my friend no longer has to explain why she and her husband have different surnames.

 

 

This post was prompted by Noelle McCarthy’s  column in the Herald  and Deb’s response to it at In A Strange Land. and The Hand Mirror

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Two types of women three types of blokes

July 28, 2008

I thought the world could be divided into two types – those who can learn from other people’s mistakes and the other people. But if Oswald Bastable  is right perhaps my categories only apply to women because he’s found three categories for men:

There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves.”

Ouch.

Hat tip: Oswald Bastable.


Pay Gap Stats Tell Only Part of Story

June 26, 2008

If the pay gap which persists between men and women was because they were paid different amounts for doing the same job it would be something to worry about.

But when you get part way through the story there is a sentence which explains it all:

A trend for more women to work part-time is often cited as a reason behind the pay gap.

Well yes. If women, or any other individual or group, got paid a lower rate for doing the same job there would be something to complain about. But unless I am misreading the information the stats aren’t showing that women get a lower rate,  they get less in total because they work fewer hours.

There is nothing unusual in that.


%d bloggers like this: