I found out it was International men’s day yesterday so I dug this piece up. It was written over 9 years ago and already seems dated and a teeny bit silly.
I am a man and a feminist, and no, I’m not a woman trapped in a man’s body; truth is, I love women, in all respects – they are magical and beautiful beings, but it’s bloody hard work being hitched up to one. They expect you to operate on the same telepathic level of communication that they do. They don’t like long, rambling analytical speeches about the origins of the universe; they don’t like miserable ponderings on the injustices of the world’s political systems – they just know these things instinctively and get on with it.
Women want long walks on a beach at sunset; they want to marvel at the beauty of a cathedral; they want to cuddle strangers’ (and strange) babies; they like to be given flowers (what the hell is that all about?) and they’re always right. That’s not meant to be sarcastic, they ARE always right and we men know this, perhaps that’s why we are so afraid of them. We know that the biggest problem women have with this life is the existence of men. It’s men who cause all the grief: wars, glass ceilings, debts, leaking taps and the overgrown weeds on the patio.
Talking about women, the queen is 80, and what a bloody fuss – she’s been given ‘endless bunches of flowers’ according to Channel 5 news. I guess that makes her the happiest woman in the world. I imagine she gets to visit cathedrals too, but probably has to decline the strolls along the sands in case suicide frogbombers emerge from the sea. Still, even the queen can’t have everything. Anyway, I don’t get it, this false fondness when commentators refer to her highness – “isn’t she wonderful”, “isn’t she strong”, “let’s give her another bunch of dead vegetable matter to show her we care.” Would a king be patronised in the same way?
I have a grudging respect for our monarch, that tight-lipped smile, those gimlet eyes; stoically doing her duty, swallowing whatever weird concoctions are deposited on her plate and staying polite even though she must often feel like puking-up over the ambassador. Her hubby, of course, is a gobby git – when he gets the chance. Not only does he have to suppress his manly irascibility in the company of his wife, but he has to keep it buttoned at all other times too, otherwise, as his history shows, there is a stinking clamour of attention from the media. I wonder if he keeps an anonymous blog where he can unleash his vitriol unfettered?
Being a man is hard enough, but it’s a million times worse when you’re a skint man. Men are measured by the quality of the nests they build, by the size of the pile they have stashed in the wine cellar. They are expected to work like donkeys and suppress their natural tendency to sprawl, bellies out, around a campfire pontificating about the meaning of life.
I am a feminist, I don’t mind if women want to run the world, I don’t mind if they want to have equal opportunities in the workplace – they can keep the bloody workplace, they can work as hard as they like and get paid as much as they want. I’m sure if we lived in a society where women had more control, there would be less war and less debt and I’m sure that us men would be happy to weed the patio and fix that leaking tap, as long as we could do it at our own pace and in our own time (usually tomorrow).
The problem with that premise is that without the power and control that men have in the world, they are practically useless. Women are essential if the human race is to survive – men can be replaced by domestic robots who can be assigned tasks each day; they can be controlled by voice commands, switched off at will. A few real men could be kept on an island with a brewery, a few footballs and a plantation of finest skunk and occasionally tapped up for their sperm. Medical science now makes it possible to choose a baby’s sex, so this scenario would be fairly easy to achieve in a couple of generations.
But – as things are, men do exist, and they have emotional needs too. They want to talk about their feelings, they want to feel loved and wanted and not just for their plumbing and carrying skills. They want attention; they want to feel valued for themselves, however shabby and useless they are. And in the end men do have a use, look at the queen’s hubby; he’s there to take the flak, to draw fire, to make Lizzie look good. Without men who would get the blame for everything?