Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The difference between men and women

Roman statue of Cerberus, mythology's three-headed dog that guarded the gates of Hell. (Wiki commons)

I have concluded that women are like communists and men are like capitalists. And that’s a good thing.

Let me explain. When I was in the sixth grade, America was immersed deeply in the Cold War. In order to explain to a bunch of 11-year-olds the difference between the United States’ form of government and that of the U.S.S.R., my teacher put two students at the front of the room, standing behind a chalk line. He then instructed them to race each other to the line on the other side of the room. One was to only skip; the other could do anything at all to reach the other side firstrun, do backflips. Anything.

It was clear that the one allowed to run would win. And this, said Mr. Smith, was like the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. The U.S. only did things according to the rules (whatever those were; he didn’t elaborate), while the U.S.S.R. would do ANYTHING to win.

Male gamesmanship is paramount to men
So am I saying that women will do anything to win, while men will follow the ruleswhatever they are?

Yes and no. But to digress first. All this arose after I asked my husband a question this morning and he answered me, mumbling into his moustache as is his habit, while walking into another room, knowing that I had bacon sizzling, the extractor fan running, and BBC on the radio. Hmmm….and I would hear his answer how?

So I asked again. Again, he did not do the sensible (the female) thing. Rather, he walked through the living room, petted the cat while the bell on its collar jingled, opened the french doors to let the birdsong in. Not once did he consider doing what a woman would have done: return  to the kitchen and answer  the question without making the person who asked it sound like a lightbulb: What? What? What?

Yes, of course, this is a generalization of the worst sort. But it has been my experience that women do what is needed to get the job done whereas a man will ‘follow the rules’ set out, regardless of whether the job gets done. Just so they can say they did it. “But I ran the lawnmower, honey.” Too bad he didn’t drop the blade enough to whack grass. “But I took out all the garbage I could see.”  Too bad he didn’t look in the trash bin under the sink, where it has been for DECADES!

Bush as a fine example
For a real-life example, look (if you can stomach it) at George W. Bush. He didn’t get the job done. He didn’t get ANY job done. What he did was follow the rules: If someone punches you, you punch him back harder. The male rules, I might add. The fact that he didn’t have a strong enough punch going in to knock out the opponent never occurred to dear, dumb Georgie. He was simply following the rules. (“But Daddy, I did invade Iraq like any son of yours should to avenge your failure; aren’t you proud?”)  

Dumbya was able to tell the world that he had done what he was supposed to do. The fact that what he did was wildly ineffective, indeed deadly, doesn’t count in the man’s  game. Saying he had done it was all that counted.

What would Jesus' mother do?

What would a woman have done? I’d like to think that a woman wouldn’t have been reading My Pet Goat to a bunch of kids, trying to look ordinary, when the job she held was extraordinary. Anyone can read My Pet Goat; only the POTUS can lead America. So I would have hoped she’d be in D.C., doing the job of the President and reading something more enlightening to adults than My Pet Goat…a security briefing, for example.

Indeed, I’m hoping a woman would have paid heed to the prior warnings that had been floating about, things about Muslim men learning to fly planes and not land them.  But then, I’m hoping a woman would not have had Cerberusoops, I mean Dick Cheneyinsulating her from the essential information she needed for her job.

But even assuming four planes were brought down by terrorists during the tenure of a female president, as they were on 9/11 during a man's tenure, I would hope she was totally communist about the response.

Women put first things first
That is, if one assumes that the first goal would be to prevent any attempt at a recurrence, then she would instruct the minions to find out what was needed to defuse the situation, and then provide that. She might insidiously and with lack of malice aforethought bring learning to the hut-bound masses so they couldn’t be so easily fooled and led by cunning demons in human clothing. She might apologize for previous national insults to others, and make amends. She might, indeed, send a goon squad or two to find the mastermind of the disaster and bring him/her to justice, but it wouldn’t be the first priority. Solving the global inter-relational problems would be the first priority, because that would keep her population safe. Catching the evil-doers, if indeed their own people didn’t marginalize them as they began to hate America less, would be no more than gravy.

But that magical woman president would lack one thing. She would lack the ability to simply claim, at the conclusion of her term, that she had followed the rules, done the expected, filled in the usual blanks. That would be enough for a man, enough for a male president, and more than enough for Dumbya.

I can dream, can’t I?