Vive La Différence!

oscar wildeI like women.  This isn’t just heterosexual brag: I actually like the company of women.  I was blessed with the coolest thing in the world — sisters — which, as everybody knows, are moms without the mean streak.  So, I grew up with women.  I understand that the battle for gender equality is more than just who puts the toilet seat where.  However, I also know that women are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable traits that make them totally different from men.  Folks, try as we might to commit gendercide on our society, the two sexes are different. Until we recognize that, there can be no equality.  To that end, here are some inconvenient truths.  (But always remember that stereotyping people is a dangerous practice– especially when it works.)

Male sexuality is a dart game.  A man throws his darts.  They penetrate the board.  He adds up the score, mentally compares it to that of every other man on the planet and spends the rest of his life lying about it.
Female sexuality is a Rubik’s Cube.  There are an infinite number of combinations, but only one or two actually solve the puzzle to anybody’s satisfaction.  Playing with a Rubik’s Cube is both fascinating and frustrating — and addictive.  And, BTW,  just because you own the Cube doesn’t mean you know the correct combination.

Women see an elegant woman dining alone and think there must be a sad story there somewhere.  Men, on the other hand, think, “What the hell! It’s worth a shot.”
Men see a handsome man dining alone and think “Gay.”  Women, on the other hand, think. “Gay, but what the hell! It’s worth a shot.”

Women think weight loss is the first sign of a better life.
Men think weight loss the first sign of a terminal illness.

When women call each other “bitch,” ” skank,” or “whore,” they are angry.
When men call each other “ass wipe,” “crotch rot” or “numb nuts;” these are terms of endearment.

For men, women wearing Victoria’s Secret lingerie is sexy.
For women, an Armani suit is lingerie.

Men believe that PMS  doesn’t actually exist and women are just naturally bitchy in varying degrees.
Women believe that PMS is a monthly pain in the ass that, when properly manipulated, becomes a super-convenient emotional “Get Out Of Jail Free” card.

And finally:

Men think they have no idea what women want.
Meanwhile, women believe they know precisely what men need.
Both of them are wrong.

Gender Equality: A Lesson in Polite

polite2Since Valentine’s Day is only a few sleeps away, it’s time for a cautionary tale.

A little while ago, I got picked up in a bar.  It was a shameless act; the woman was old enough to be my granddaughter.  She asked me if I was alone; I coyly said I was waiting for someone, and she sat down.  Gender rituals have obviously changed in half a century.  BTW, despite what anybody who knows me will tell you, my ego is not so large that I considered (even for a nanosecond) that she was interested in me.  I’m fully aware that my best before date was a long time ago and about the only thing I have to offer young people these days is hackneyed advice.  Which, it turns out, was exactly what she wasn’t looking for.

Her story was the usual one: girl meets boy, boy treats girl like Disney Princess, girl treats boy like he’s the Prince, neither one of them is, the unsustainable passion ebbs, everybody gets pissed off.  She asked me why.  I’m too old a wily coyote to jump into that creek without a paddle, so I hesitated.  Then, call it ego, captive audience or one too many hefty white wines but – whatever! — she proceeded to explain it to me.

Apparently, the battle of the sexes has changed dramatically since Ricky and Lucy used to fight it out every week back in the 50s.  It seems men, no longer interested in women, have quit being polite.  They’re greatest failing, aside from bathroom etiquette, is an obstinate refusal to hold doors open.  This archaic practice, above all others, is the major reason why older couples (she tipped her glass to me) have stayed together all these years.  I have an ex-wife who could have provided stern evidence to the contrary, but since I obviously wasn’t waiting for her, I kept my mouth shut.

Yet there was more.  Since doors had become a sort of feminine DIY item, men just weren’t even trying anymore.  They certainly polite3don’t dress the part – not like in the old days.  Nor do they hold coats, chairs, flowers or their bodily emissions in check.  I stopped her there.  There are some things strangers don’t let strangers share.

She went on for another wine and a half and since I wasn’t about to have three pale ales on an empty stomach, I said I was late, excused myself, and went outside to wait.

She was right, you know.  We men are not as gallant as we used to be.  Chivalry is not necessarily dead, but it is in intensive care.  It’s a casualty of gender equality and our increasing descent into permanent Casual Friday.  It’s difficult to be on your best behaviour when you’re wearing flip flops and a sweatshirt, especially when your companion is falling out of most of her clothes.  Besides, the quintessential act of opening a door for someone has become a chauvinistic minefield.  Polite might not be seen as patriarchal, but it’s not always smart to take it on faith.  There isn’t a guy over 16 who hasn’t been stitched up after an encounter with the feminist fascisto, who don’t always make their presence known – until it’s too late.

Of course, there is a moral to the story.  I wasn’t aware of it at the time or even standing outside in the dizzily rain.  For all her caustic observations, it never occurred to my new friend that I hadn’t ever invited her to sit down.

Images by Dina Goldstein

The Scariest Thing in the West

scared24As I wrote on Monday, one of the things that scares the hell out of me is the current crop of high-powered maniacs, prancing around the planet, trigger fingers dangerously close to (and I know these words have been overused) Weapons of Mass Destruction.  You can read about it here.  However, as much as this makes me want to crawl back to bed, assume the fetal position and turn the electric blanket up to 9, there’s something that scares me even more.   Now, honestly, I don’t wander around all day in my pajamas, chewing my fingernails and sipping Shmirnoffs, but when I do stop and think about it I wish I did.

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the people in my society who should be outraged at the likes of Ahmadinejad, Kim Jong-un, Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Bashar Al-Assad  and all the various other nutbars out there, don’t give a damn.  The very folks who have taken it upon themselves to try and win friends and influence people, raise awareness, make a difference or whatever other euphemism we hold dear for acute activism, could not care less.  This scares the bejesus out of me because it indicates that my society’s moral compass is so out of whack it’s now useless.  To all intents and purposes we have abandoned any moral direction and are now merely winging it, in a shrug-your-shoulders hope that something eventually sticks.  We are rapidly becoming the Seinfeld Show of history, with George and Kramer leading the charge.  Confused?  Of course you are.  From my point of view, our whole society is.  But you’re not specifically to blame.  Let me explain.

Who, on this earth should be absolutely livid with rage over what’s been scared23happening in Iran and the rest of the Middle East for the past few decades?  One guess – women.  I don’t even have to go into the gory details; the beatings, stonings, shootings etc., are all clear and common knowledge.  Even as the men of the region decry the decadence of the West, they make no secret of legally chaining their (I used that adjective on purpose) women to institutionalized domestic violence.  Frankly, to be considered a second-class citizen would be a step up for women in that part of the world, since they’re not actually considered citizens in the first place.  In the face of this, every Women’s Rights, Gender Equality, Anti-discrimination and Feminist group from the Vistula River to Venice Beach, California (and all points in between) should be in the streets right now, demanding action.  Every foreign minister, trade secretary and business leader should be buried in emails.  Every company who does business with these repressive regimes should be boycotted.   And no woman who enjoys sitting alone in a cafe, driving a car, feeling the breeze in her hair or who ever wanted her daughter to go to school should give these people the time of day.   In fact, when Mr. Ahmadinejad shows up in New York City to speak to the world at the United Nations, every woman within a stone’s throw (yes, that’s an allusion) should line the streets of his motorcade route, shoulder to shoulder, and give him the finger.

And who should be right behind them?   The Gay, Lesbian and Transgender lobby!  And who should be right behind them?  University students!  And there are plenty more; activists against poverty, hunger and oppression should all be on the front line, but in reality, they’re nowhere to be seen.

This isn’t rocket surgery, folks.  Even as North Korea is spending billions on nuclear weapons and a viable delivery system, their people are starving.  Yet I have never seen one protest, one demonstration or even one person with a sign creating “awareness” of the situation in North Korea.

Furthermore, Gay people are routinely murdered in places like Iran (which, BTW, officially doesn’t have any gay people) yet go to any Gay Pride Parade (I’ve been to more than one) in any city in North America, and you won’t see one person protesting that godawful situation.  Apparently, the real obstacle to gay equality is the weirdo opinions of some guy who owns a bunch of chicken restaurants.  (I wish sarcasm had its own font.)  I could go on and on, and I’m not going to even touch where the oh-so-political university students stand these days, but does Israeli Apartheid mean anything to you?  (Or anybody else, beyond the clever marketing department who that it up?)

scared22Our society has a very well-organized and powerful Activist industry.  It throws its weight against some serious problems and does a lot of good work.  However, its priorities suck.  Chasing chimeras of oppression in a society as benign as ours, while neglecting even to notice the true nature of repression in the wider world, is a scary indictment of all of us.  It frightens me that we are now so insulated and isolated from reality that every harsh word or social faux pas demands a media or legal response; yet, when young girls are shot on their way to school, we answer by clicking an icon on Facebook.  Something’s wrong here.  It literally scares the hell out of me that this huge apparatus we’ve created for activism, advocacy and awareness has become so morally spongy that they only fight battles they’ve already won.