Friday, 29 May 2009

Those Men and Women Again!

photo by: worryworts

Was sitting next to two guys at a restaurant with a bunch of other grad students a few nights ago. Both lovely and smart and good times. One of them noticed that there were a few awkward dates surrounding us and so they began asking me for my analyses of the women's body language. Just so you know, I primarily examined the manner in which they ate. It didn't take too much thought, I've got to say.

  • Using fork for food that could be handled, deliberate placement in mouth, bright, wide eyes and a receded chin as if man opposite is super interesting = tres keen, second date.
  • Shoving pizza in with fingers, hunching top half of body, looking to side = not so keen, hoping he will lose interest.
  • Eating slowly, sitting cross-legged under table, smiling demurely, facing straight on = more keen than want to show as very early days. Nice English girl.

This progressed to a more general discussion about how women tend to think - you know, the classics: community-minded, more likely than men to obsess about one negative instead of being content with the positives, etc, etc. Anyway, one of the guys brought up how you can manipulate that when picking up women, by making them feel insecure or unsure about your affection and interest.

It occurred to me that maybe this works quite well for a one-off encounter, shall we say (my grandmother reads this), with a certain type of gal. But I believe it's a highly unsound strategy long-term because you would then actually have to deal with that approval-seeking crazy who you selected for that quality. Imagine having to spend your romantic and then day-to-day life putting down your love object and/or assuring them all the time, say for instance when you're just trying to reach for the breakfast or watch a DVD or enjoy your time together. Dreadful.

Then the following evening, after dinner in hall, a guy in College mentioned how he looks forward to a future where he can come home after work each day to find his dinner ready for him courtesy of his wife. Wouldn't we all, champ? I would love a wife too. I need one now actually, as I sit amongst my own filth and clutter. But, as I said to him, you would pay up for it by having to have dull, passive conversations over that perfect meal. He grunted, only half-convinced. He then said he guessed it would be like being married to your housekeeper, but I suspect he still quite liked the idea.

Any one else got some recent man stroke women observations? No hateful ones please, just curious ones.


Alice said...

Will I draw the wrath of the feminist Gods upon me for suggesting that a wife can cook her husband a meal without being a dull conversationalist? You may have been going for hyperbole, but in this day and age, I don't believe the term 'wife' has to hold the (largely negative) 1950's Stepford connotations.

Oprah informs me about studies that show despite households where both partners work, the woman still does the majority of the housework. Old habits dying hard? Maybe. But we also can't escape the biological necessity of being the bearers of rug rats, which puts us in the position of being at home (perhaps only for 6 months maternity leave, but still) that would create said situation of cooking dinner for hubby.

But then again, there's takeaway.

Academic, Hopeful said...

Fair play, Alice. I can only assure you that the guy I was talking was referring to the dutiful model.

But you're completely right to point out that graciously enjoying cetain aspects of domestic life does not necessarily make anyone bland or oppressed. I think I'd take on the feminist Gods with you on that one (nice image!) and, really, I should have thought more about the meaning behind these situations before stepping into the minefield that is a woman's position in society.

There's just something so aggravating about a guy being entitled about the prospect of having his dinners made for him (rather than the fact that women often cook or even like to cook). Maybe I didn't convey the guy's tone well in the original post, but it was accompanied by a smug grin. For various reasons, I just didn't expect to have to deal with that sort of thing here too much if at all, but it occurs quite often.

John Flood said...

Dutiful wife at home preparing dinners and mistress tucked away somewhere else? This guy is crazy and I wouldn't give that kind of relationship more than 2 minutes before she dies of boredom.

Where I live at the moment, close to Marylebone Station, was some years ago a neighbourhood for prostitutes. A friend was telling me that he had one next door and that her clientele consisted mostly of businessmen commuters returning to their wives in the home counties after a hot day at work. Her busiest period was 4.30pm to 6.30pm. She retired to Italy a few years ago. We don't know where the businessmen go now...

Alice said...

Bring on the feminist Gods!!

I can totally imagine the guy's tone and I'm sure it would have got my skin crawling and resulted in a very similar comeback. Unless he was stirring, people like that make me nutsy.

I guess I was just playing devil's advocate, because your post made me thoughtful about what kind of wife I'd make, particularly if I'm pursuing the work from home writer thang.

First things first, though, I would not marry a guy like that!!

litlove said...

What no one tells you in school is that it's terribly easy to fall back into gender stereotypes in relationships. However you behave outside of one, it's very hard to resist the triggers inherent in certain kinds of male behaviour. When I was first married, good feminist that I am, I cooked the meals in our little kitchen and my husband Took Pictures Of Them. Whatever were we thinking? But I guess we were playing domesticity. Then we had a child and it all got very serious. I ended up with most of the work because my tolerance levels were the lowest and I felt overwhelming guilt if I wasn't there doing everything I could for my son.

Watch and learn, ladies. Whatever the temptations, domestic caretaking is the province of every member of a household, and it's not mean or unloving to insist on equal shares (equal meaning equal effort and commitment, not necessarily a neat division). Oh and interesting books include Mothers on the Fast Track by Mary Ann Mason and Eve Mason Ekman, on the difficulties of motherhood and a career, and also The Game by Neil Strauss, about how to pick up women using, amongst other things, the technique of strategic insults. It's scary stuff.