Friday, January 28, 2011

I am a man: An apology

I can’t speak for the rest of Europe, the US or the rest of the world, but something very odd has happened in Britain in these past 20 years. Once women were regarded as the skivvies of the world, when a vacuum cleaner and washing machines were seen as a great present for a man to give to the wife to help her ‘do the
housework more efficiently’. So thoughtful. Sadly, a woman’s lot has changed very little in almost every part of the world, and women still get the thin edge of the wedge. The Taliban diktat that women should be locked away from the age of 12 is just a very extreme manifestation of the attitude of many cultures.But here in Britain the boot is, in many ways, very much on the other foot, and we have apparently progressed in leaps and bounds to a situation where women are now equal. In fact, make that ‘more than equal’ Women professionals in the broadcasting media in particular delight in what they regard as a complete reversal of fortune. Well, bugger that because, incredibly, in 2011 many women are still paid less than men for doing exactly the same job, many women. However, that is no barrier to a very British pseudo-feminist triumphalism that the sisters have now finally come out on top. And boy do they like to let you know it. There is not even a pretence that ‘equality’ has been achieved. No, sir, they are now das Damenvolk. Tune into Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour on any day of the week and you won’t have to wait long until you come across the unshakable conviction that all men are pretty useless. And it is a conviction which has also become a mainstay of much radio drama and of the routines of quite a few women stand-up comedians.
Attitudes purveyed in the media, whether in factual or fictional programming or in TV advertising are very rarely a true reflection of real social attitudes. They are more a kind of wishful thinking or something akin to a political manifesto. But given our habit of imitating what we see on the small screen, such highly artificial poses soon gain a broader currency. To put it another way, it is a question of life imitating art.
Without a second thought young and not so young lasses up and down the land will strike attitudes in imitation of what they see in their favourite soaps and sitcoms. And the prevailing attitude in a great many of these is that men are hopeless, hopeless, hopeless, fickle, unreliable and self-centred, and many a cheap laugh can be had from saying so. ‘Typical of a man’ is a refrain one has increasingly heard, and it is one which is repeated so often that anyone querying the observation is liable to have his intelligence as well as his integrity questioned. But beware the man who is foolish enough to say ‘typical woman’ — a shitstorm of biblical proportions is liable to explode and engulf him in such self-righteous anger that a six-month spell in jail would seem far more preferable.
Professional feminists, by which I mean those hacks and TV types for whom being feminist strikes me as being solely a strategy for career development, are still probably in the minority and their numbers are wholly disproportionate to the noise they make. And most certainly they do the real sisters no favours at all. The drive to ensure woman are treated equally has achieved a great deal in these past 40 years, and few women will allow themselves to be condescended to as once they were, and we should always remember that in many areas a woman is paid less than the man she works next to, so there is still quite a lot still to be done. But trying to do so by insisting, and apparently believing, that men are complete and total wankers isn’t doing it.

. . .

Part of the problem is, I think, that we always try to impose our ideas on life rather than accept what life tells us. Years ago, I heard the following short parable: A young boy and a young girl, still children of about seven or eight, are happily playing around a pond stark naked, with the lad strutting around as though he were king of the castle. So the girl asks him what he is so proud of. He points to his willy and tells her: ‘I’ve got one of these.’ So the young girl points to here mary and tells him: ‘My mummy says that because I’ve got one of these, I’ll always have one of those.’ Too true. For unless a man is homosexual and not in the slightest interested in women, they can, in many situations, run rings around a man purely because they have what he wants. Our professional feminists (and I stress that by that somewhat dismissive term I do not mean those many women who have worked very hard to change our thinking and ensure that woman are treated less like skivvies) might not like it and deny that it is true, but they are all too often inclined to deny, if it suits their agenda, that water is wet.
At this point the reader might feel I am being rather crude. Not at all. For when I talk of ‘man’, I mean the male of the species. And the prime purpose in nature for the majority of the male of the species is to reproduce as often as possible to ensure the survival of his genes. The female of the species, on the other hand, is not interested in reproducing with any old male who might be in the mood, but wants to ensure that the male she does choose to mate with has the best possible genes. To put it bluntly, the male is interested in quantity and the female in quality. So she chooses, but he doesn’t. And so, I suggest, there is not, as we seem to suppose, symmetry between the sexes. Each gender has his and her strengths and weaknesses, but in our intellectual arrogance we try to impose our views on life.
So I have always thought it rather ironical that in this ostensible feminist age men are urged to ‘find their feminine side’ and are applauded when they do. But were we similarly to urge women to ‘find their masculine side’, we would, quite rightly, I think, be accused of talking complete cobblers. (I was going to write ‘complete bollocks’, but in context that might not be the most useful phrase to use.) But in many ways that is exactly what has happened. One of the ‘achievements’ of the past 20 years (NB yet again: it still hasn’t been to ensure wage parity between the sexes), all in the name of ‘equality’, means that woman are now allowed to emulate men. And that, ironically, means that it is more or less officially sanctioned that they can behave just as badly as men: they can now, without attracting opprobrium, get just as rat-arsed, use just as much bad language and sleep around just as much. And this is seen as progress, this is regarded as improving the lot of the sisterhood. Give me a break.

. . .

In the interests of quality and assisting women with their choice of mate, I offer the following. I have been made aware that there are doubts that I was ever young. This is a libel which hurts and offends me deeply, so here (pic gone missing, but O shall find it, don't worry) I offer definite proof that I was not always an old, semi-balding fart with grey hair (dear American reader, that’s ‘gray hair’) and a very short beard, but a youngish, reasonably dashing blade about town. It is a photo I came across recently after many years and which I cherish deeply. And you think I’m joking. Think again. My best wishes to old farts and fartesses the world over. I feel your pain. Fan mail and, more pertinently, very welcome invitations to join suitable women in bed to the usual address, please.

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