Top 10 things all women should know about men
“We are educated on the difference between men and women from an early age.” Tristen Lee writes in her recent Huffpost article, 10 Things All Men Should Know About Women. And I must admit, I feel Tristen’s pain. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if men just knew all this stuff, so women didn’t have to keep reminding them? Inspired by Tristen’s example, I thought I would write an article to help out.
Well, “write” is a bit of stretch, actually I’ve taken her article and just reversed the roles. To all the Feminists out there, myself included, we should know this technique well — it comes from the French philosopher, Derrida’s, “Deconstruction”, for which we have much to thank in our modern, multicultural and diverse society. Feminism’s enlightened approach to the male dominated, patriarchal traditions that have maintained an imbalance between the genders for so long, is the same as Deconstruction — it uses the same techniques, which examine and overturn unbalanced power relationships — what Derrida called “dominant hierarchies” — in literature, art, politics, business and government.
Simply reversing roles, or “binary oppositions” is not enough though — it’s useful to be sure, it shows up where there is dominance and imbalance — but if you leave it at that, you just end up with another dominant hierarchy. You must reverse and then overturn these values — question their origin, sovereignty and truth.
Below I have reversed the roles in Tristen’s article and afterwards looked at overturning the imbalance that results. I must admit though, when I set out to do this I wasn’t expecting some of her points to sound as downright creepy as they do. Especially the first and second things “all women should know about men”.
1. MI6 has nothing on our investigative capabilities
If your man ever asks, “who is he?” — you’re better off not lying, because he already knows who he is, where he lives, where he works, how many dogs he has, his mother’s maiden name and his national insurance number.
2. What we say, isn’t always what we mean
If you bail on your plans with him to hang out with the girls and he responds with the message, “Ok, have fun” — do NOT have fun. We may not remember where we left our keys, but we do have a hyperthymesitic memory when it comes to your fuck ups.
Should you take this literally and actually enjoy yourself, you will be reminded of this moment every time you get drunk, accidentally look in the general direction of another man, forget to buy him a birthday card or refuse to go to the shop at 11pm to buy him beer.
3. If you’re dating him, you’re also dating his friends
His friends are solely responsible for how he performs on your dates, they laugh at his text messages, they’ve seen your Snapchat’s, they know all about that fit Luke bloke at work, and their opinions of you matter.
4. We don’t like being ignored, whether accidentally or on purpose
If you don’t respond, we will assume you’ve run away with fit Luke from work to start a new life in the Dominican Republic, where you’ll have five illegitimate children. *Oh no wait, false alarm, she’s just texted back*
5. We don’t respond well to catcalling
If you shout at us from a moving vehicle, it’s unlikely that we will chase after said vehicle like a rabid dog, leap through the window, land in your lap and start reciting lines from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 88. Just saying. *This one I actually agree with — don’t do that blokes*
6. You need to make time for us
We don’t want much; just your time, undivided attention, keys, passwords, breasts, phone, money, vagina, heart, breasts, life and soul. We also want space. Good luck figuring that one out.
7. Shoes are to women, as beer is to men
You have your job, friends and shoes. We have our job, friends, beer, tequila, snowboarding, gadgets, clothes, a rucksack and some trainers.
You do not have to understand his obsession with gadgets. You do however, need to respect that he looks at them in the same way that you look at shoes.
8. Never get in-between us and carbs
Yes we may be on a diet and it may be ‘no carbs before marbs,’ but you will be opening yourself up to an untold amount of violence if you get in-between us and 5 Domino’s pizzas, 2 sides of nachos, BBQ wings, boneless chicken, garlic bread, potato skins, and potato wedges. We will then blame ourselves, rather than someone else because this happened.
9. We don’t have a hereditary love of cushions
10. There is such a thing as ‘effortlessly’ beautiful and you do look fine. Damn fine.
But you really do look fine, even without the five hours shaving, tweezing, moisturising, tanning, nail painting, hair dyeing, hair curling and face painting. I mean, who are you doing that for? It can’t be for us, because when we tell you look great without all that, you don’t hear us or believe us. Here are the things I (just one man, mind) find most beautiful, and they are all effortless: your hair when you just got out of the shower, or woke up with it spilling across your face. The salt and sand and moon in your hair after night swimming. Small breasts, jeans and trainers and a scruffy t-shirt, girls who play bass, nose rings, dreadlocks, shaved heads, your sea blue eyes without make up, your pale lips, cracked by the sun, the smell of your sweat and salty skin when we make love. Your pregnant belly.
It is not men who’ve convinced you you need to go to so much effort, it’s your projected image of men, that’s come from society and magazines and TV adverts and other women and your best friends and living in a city and working in an office and they’re starting do it to men too now and we have to manscape and use 5 different shaving products and have abs and a nice butt and the right hair and white teeth and be tall and dark and take our tops off while you perv with your mates, drinking a diet coke.
The truth is, the rules you’ve listed above sound like a controlling relationship to me. This is the overturning bit I mentioned. You believe it’s how women are and should be, because that’s what you’ve been told by your friends and all the other women around you. But look again, would you really stand for the jealous, dictatorial, creepy partner that this reversal sounds like? And if you wouldn’t, why should we? Why is it, do you think, so many relationships fail? It’s because someone’s not happy, usually because they’re in soulless relationships devoid of fun, respect or freedom. I mean, does any of this sound like the kind of relationship you’d like to be in? One that comes with rules and stipulations and demands and zero tolerance? You even went as far as writing a list!
We need to let it go. All of us, men and women. We need to stop trying to control each other, we need to stop reinforcing our own stereotypes and projecting them onto each other. Men do cry, we do have feelings and they’re just as deep as any woman’s; we love our children just as much and when we say, ok “go out and have fun” and mean it, why can’t you do that for us? Female and male sex drive is fuelled by exactly the same hormones, just as many women have affairs as men and, no, they are neither more or less “meaningful”. Or right, ever. There’s womansplaining as much as mansplaining (we used to just call it “patronising”). Reversing sexism is not feminism, it’s just sexism. Nothing good will come from a new dominant hierarchy, just more imbalance, conflict and broken relationships.