Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Trouble with Love

Well I participated in a debate about L-O-V-E last night. Other panellists included Elaine Sihera, author of "Money, Sex and Compromise" and Gareth Sibson author of "Single White Failure". A couple of points came up that I wanted to re-iterate/bang on about/whatever...

1) This whole idea that the second a woman likes having a door opened for her she's no longer entitled to equality. There was a lot of moaning about women who liked a guy to pay for dinner on a first date. Personally I'm not too fussed who pays for dinner, but I have absolute respect for women who like that and I think they're still entitled to equal pay too!

Women don't have it easy, discrimination, inequality, societal pressure to be super-woman, domestic goddess, etc. We don't have equality. We'd love it, but we're miles away from it. At the current rate of shrinkage it will take 80 years to close the pay gap between men and women. So many women do have less money than men and may well be specifically looking for affluence, financial security and generosity in a guy. If that's what you want, fair enough, and a great way to tell if these things apply is to let him pay for dinner. Good plan.

In asking for the benefits of "men's world" to be shared with us, women aren't obliged to give up every tiny little upside of womanhood. Did you ever hear anybody suggest that black people, if they want equal rights will have to stop having carnival? No of course not. Instead white people just started going to carnival too. I've been going for years and it's great. Men now enjoy the possibility of dating a woman who can afford to take him somewhere out of his normal price range. Lucky you lads, enjoy it, in the same way that we traditionally have.

2) We talked a lot about the impact of women getting stronger. My problem with this is so huge I couldn't really get into it properly last night.

I don't believe women are "getting stronger". I'm from London, as are my parents and most of my grandparents. I'm not aristocracy, I'm social riff-raff so the likelihood is that a couple of hundred years ago a fair few of my female ancestors were prostitutes. The rural ones may have been farm hands. Even the ones who were housewives would have lived in the days before contraception so would have been raising six, eight, maybe more kids, without washing machines, without even washing powder, making their own clothes, no fridge, etc. Whatever life they had they had to be really tough.

Most of the audience last night was black. Some of those people will have had female ancestors who were tribespeople, gatherer-hunters, living in primitive accommodation, in the company of dangerous animals, warring tribes and no real healthcare. I reckon they were pretty strong. Others will have ancestors who were slaves in the Carribean, British colonies, America, etc. ...which is accepted as the most gruellingly awful way of life ever to befall humanity. Any woman who was weak in that environment wasn't going to make it.

We're not getting stronger. We've been strong all along. In the past men appreciated our strength. In my experience a lot of them still do. Not Gareth Sibson though...tut tut tut. You can go whine at him on his website here! He even said he thought women shouldn't drink pints (guess what a whole bunch of us ordered in the interval!).

There is a part two coming up, 13th December, details on here when they come through: Tiemo Ents

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