Growing up in a boys’ school, I worshipped women with the silent zeal of a rabbi in a concentration camp. I thought them no less than Goddesses; high born souls far removed from boyish preoccupations like digging noses and breaking wind. Whole rivers must’ve passed under the bridge before I realised that they too were of flesh and blood, no more divine than fellow school-mates like young Fabian, who routinely announced his deep set understanding of elementary mathematics by depositing a steaming turd on the vinyl classroom floor every time he was asked the difference between 10 and 11, or ‘digital’ geniuses like Baby Bajaj, who once declared to an admiring audience that his fingers could reach his brain through his nose.
Flesh and blood they might well be, but it is an inescapable fact that Providence had dealt ‘man’ an unkind hand and created him as a mere serf to her favourite child – the woman. For a fair few centuries after we emerged from the caves, women remained the centre of the family. The woman served nature’s purpose of furthering life and nature gave her all she needed to survive. To begin with, nature endowed her with an extra helping of fat to help her survive famines that made pickled cadavers of us men (blame it on the rain, or rather the lack of it, if it doesn’t fit honey). Secondly almost every disease known to a woman, including breast cancer is, statistically speaking, almost invariably more likely to kill a man than a woman. And worst of all, from bridal beds to hospital beds, women simply last longer. Men are nothing but expendable worker bees who struggle with killer trucks and stressful jams, border disputes and despotic bosses, addictions and affairs just to be able to bring home the bacon to the queen bee, who holds a generation in her womb.
For a long while, woman’s true stature as the centre of the human universe was undisputed. While she carried the future and sustained the present, men, when not serving their ‘queen’, were engaged in little bouts of jousting and hoarding – relics of our animal past that advertised our potential as desirable mates (Incidentally, in almost every species, while each female gets to mate and bear children, only the strongest and healthiest of males get to pass on their genes to the next generation – a right often won at the cost of male lives and limbs.
And while some like the male Red-tailed Phascogale, an Australian marsupial are so exhausted by the mating game that they die of exhaustion, some insects like the male Praying Mantis are cannibalised by the female after coitus - consumed after consummation. Now, that’s a sobering thought if you are a man and are wondering about where you stand in Nature’s scheme of things). But soon, our little boyish games matured, as did our toys. Flints and sticks were soon replaced by guns and bombs. Suddenly, our hoards had become the capital that financed trade and cities and our jousts had become wars – world wars. As the enduring spectacle of evolution was pushed to the background, and the viewer friendly charade of wars and commerce began masquerading as the essence of ‘civilisation’, the woman was eased out of her throne, and after this evo-revo-lutionary coup, the slave became king and ‘man’ wore the crown, which is where I think we lost the plot.
One look at Nature’s blueprint - the animal kingdom reveals that in all of creation, it is the feminine force that drives life across the species barrier, while the male flits from being a mere sperm donor like a pea-cock (wonder why they’d call any male animal that!) or a Brad Pitt to a genius like Da Vinci or Mike (a relatively tiny male chimp who revolutionised chimpanzee politics by using tin cans, now immortalised in Jane Goodall’s memoirs) whose creative perspectives helped a race transcend it’s limitations. Male reactions to the stress of everyday management is proof of the fact that the male brain is happiest being either a jack-ass or a genius and the intolerable middle ground is best left to women. Matriarchal societies have always been more rational and more peaceful than patriarchies while the inherent risks of a creative challenge are bound to stimulate the reckless male mind more. So lets turn the world over to our women, loosen our neck ties, and settle down under a tree and talk of poetry, pottery and philosophy… Happy honey?
Sex, Lies and Misunderstandings
Men don’t listen and women talk too much. This social axiom has exemplified the man-woman divide over the ages in popular culture and defined gender equations. If the two most essential components of society are so different from each other then how do they manage to work together? It’s not that both genders haven’t attempted to explain this anomaly. Many books have been written in search of a deeper understanding of this subject. One of the most famous ones, a veritable classic is Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus by John gray. The book explores the fundamental differences between men and woman and how misplaced expectations creep up on unsuspecting couples and deepen the divide. Allan and Barbara Pease explored the genre further with their books Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps and Why Men Lie and Women Cry. Invoking evolutionary biology and social psychology and garnished with oodles of wit, the Peases crafted quite a social manual to help bridge the gender gap. Books however can only take you so far for the proof of the pudding lies in the eating as they say.