As this blog is now over a year old and just recently collected more hits overall than my almost two-year-old Seraphic Goes To Scotland, I fear I may begin repeating myself. However, some things deserve to be repeated, and one of them is that men and women are different.
It would astonish Aristotle to know that aunties like me, in 2011, feel that we have to repeat over and over again that men and women are different. However, this is partly Aristotle's fault for claiming that women are "misbegotten men." This was an intensely brainless thing to say. Women are certainly not misbegotten men. We have nothing to do with men beyond belonging to the same species. Any attempt to conflate men and women inevitably leads men to conclude that women are mutants and vice versa.
This is particularly true when you are married. When you are married, living in a single family dwelling with one man, it becomes ever more clear that a man is not a woman. Men have different bodies, inside and out. Men feel pain differently. Men feel illness differently. Men think differently. Men find different things funny. Men prize other men for different things. Men dislike men for different things. Men prize women for different things. Men dislike women for different things.
Unless a woman can accept that her husband is fundamentally different from a woman in almost every way, she is going to get extremely frustrated with him, and he is going to feel unloved and unappreciated. Whenever I get frustrated with my husband, I ask myself if it is because I really need to talk to a woman right then. And, lo, it usually is. Women's weirdest idea about men is that men are somehow just ordinary women on the inside.
Men also have a lot of strange ideas about women, but only male medical researchers doing drug test trials seem to make the mistake of thinking women are just like men. Since men assault and kill men so much, it behooves them to know exactly who the men are, where they are, and what they are holding in their hands.
Because men and women are so different, there are different social rules for men and women. Some of these rules are simply unfair and do not lead to mutual flourishing. Others are extremely practical and do lead to mutual flourishing.
One social rule that I find extremely practical, although those who refuse to accept that men and women are different will find it unfair, is that women must never do household chores for men to whom they are neither married nor related but that men can fix all the tyres and toasters for whatever women they like, and remove any number of rodents and spiders without shame.
The reason for this is that men secretly despise unrelated women who cook and clean for them for nothing, and women do not despise unrelated men who will fix stuff and remove monsters simply out of the goodness of their hearts.*
If this seems shocking, the flip side is that men do not have a problem with women spending hours over their appearance before leaving the house, but that women have a problem with men doing the same. If a woman takes out a compact and quickly inspects her face at the table, men find it charming. If a man does the same, a woman is disgusted. I won't even go into how the men around feel about it.
One social rule that is neither practical nor conducive to flourishing is that women must wear either revealing or constrictive garments whereas men can just look smart, broadshouldered and comfortable. My mother, watching the original Star Trek, often mentioned that the heating system on the Enterprise must have been very strange, for the men wore heavy trousers and the women wore nylons.
Men will do many dumb things, but only ones with severe personal problems will put on shoes that are painful to walk in. Women don painful shoes all the darn time. We will also go into -20 degrees Celsius weather in nylon tights and skirts that barely cover our bottoms. And, having been liberated from corsets and then girdles, we now don Spanx or cheaper version of Spanx, and they hurt. The last time I wore a "waist shaper" I thought I would start bleeding internaly and die.
Why do we wear these stupid clothes? It is because we want to look "like women." Fair enough. As a woman who loves being a woman, I enjoy trying to look as womanly as possible. However, there are ways to do this that do not involve pain, spark terrorist backlash or lead to wry remarks about 'sensible shoes'. For example, a lacy mantilla at Mass sends the message that we are women, we like to be women, and we like men to be gentlemen, thanks.
I could go on like this forever, but that's quite enough for a single blogpost. To sum up, men and women are different. Thank you.
*In the end, Archie, not Reggie, married Veronica, not Betty. This is the truest thing ever to appear in a comic book.