If you have any doubt that the so called battle of the sexes was getting more complicated and confusing, you only have to look at a newspaper. No, not the personal ads section. Dating has always been complicated and confusing. This is because no one has ever enacted “truth in advertising” legislation for first dates.
I mean you should look at the headlines and the columns, and you'll see that things are so muddled that some combatants don't even know what side they're supposed to be on.
For example, Senator Kay O'Connor of Kansas has gone on record saying that if it came up again, she wouldn't support a move to give women the right to vote. Indeed, she firmly believes that the erosion of family values all started with allowing women to vote, which in turn led to all sorts of awful things like women going to university, having careers, or worse, getting elected to the US senate.
Meanwhile, Dr. Raj Persaud, a psychiatrist in London, has floated the idea that men should be banned from power. He based the idea on results from studies that suggest that the more women there are involved in politics, the less likely a country is to wage war. Of course, he might change his mind once he's read the results of a new study, which showed that when men are shown pictures of good looking women, they can't think straight and end up making bad decisions.
What does all this mean? Well, there are four possibilities:
1. Senator Kay O'Connor will probably never win any of those trailblazer awards from organizations that honor women's achievements.
2. Dr. Raj Persaud has never heard of Margaret Thatcher, Mary Queen of Scots, or Boadicea.
3. Parents of high school and college age guys everywhere can't believe someone did a study to prove what they knew already.
4. We really need to get a handle on which of the male/female “differences” are truly hard-wired and which are just cultural.
So the interest of advancing gender relations, I now present some preliminary observations on male/female traits:
Leaving the toilet seat up – Given that men, with a sufficient amount of electro-shock training, can be cured of this habit, it's probably not genetic.
Compulsive or recreational shopping – Although this trait is supposed to be deeply rooted in the female psyche, amazingly it only seems to manifest itself in women who A) have lots of disposable income and B) are exposed to lots of ads telling them that recreational shopping is deeply rooted in the female psyche.
Watching sports – Traditionally, men are supposed to be inclined to follow professional sports, while women are not. This is because traditionally, the “big game” provided a really good excuse to put off mowing the lawn, pruning the hedges, or fixing the stove. Check the audience in any stadium now and you'll find a near 50/50 split. This is because women have discovered that a big game provides a really good excuse to put off doing the bills, cleaning the bathroom, or fixing dinner.
Going out – Men have for years complained that they can be ready to go out in 10 minutes or less, while women can take up to an hour or more. This is not because women are naturally indecisive or slow. It is because men have not been expected to tuck the kids into bed, give final instructions to the babysitter, check that the burners on the stove are off, make sure the tickets are in her purse…
Men are tough, women are the weaker sex – I think we can safely say that neither sex is genetically predisposed to being either tough or weak. This is because some women actually volunteer to have bikini waxes, while some men cannot handle a simple cold without large quantities of drugs.
Asking loaded questions – Recently men have complained that women often ask loaded questions like “Do I look fat in these pants?” to which there is no good answer. Men do the same thing. The male cultural equivalent is, “Do you wanna piece of me?” usually said to another male in a bar after a collision. Again, there is no good answer.
Of course, perhaps there is no good answer to loaded questions involving gender differences either.
To read more of Chandra's work, visit www.ChandraKClarke.com.