The idea that women are the weaker sex did not come from men, at least not from any man who ever had experience with a woman. If you ask me, it is planted information and might even be part of the plot. Anyone who thinks women are weaker never had to negotiate with a woman over choosing paint colours. Ask Beyoncé about who runs the world, she knows.
SHE: Ok I need you to help me choose a white. Lily White? Tell me what you like, I think I like the Seashell White.
HE: I don’t know they look all the same to me.
SHE: Well you’re not helping me. Which one do you like, REALLY?
HE: Well, maybe the Bone White. I think it looks OK.
SHE: OK? Just OK? That one is too white. I think I like the Dover White myself.
HE: Ok I like that too. Are we decided then?
SHE: Well, I’m not sure I am right. That’s why I asked you.
HE: But I told you. I like whatever you like, just CHOOSE ok?
SHE: Well, I didn’t know that we are fighting about it.
HE: (confused) Fighting?
SHE: I just asked you for paint colours. What if we get the WRONG white?
HE: Glazed eyes at this point, and very, very confused.
And when those men show up at the paint store later on trying to get a refund, after painting half a wall with the “wrong” colour, you will KNOW that women run the world, because they always get the last word. You see, women always reserve the right to change their mind even after the fact, and still be right. Sorry buddy, the man at the counter cannot help you. They know this scenario all too well, that is why they put up those signs that say NO RETURNS ON PAINT.
You see, the rules for men and women are different. This came home to me in spades during my first grunt-hard manual labour job, building track with the CPR. We had to wield a sledge, a pickaxe and a shovel all day in the hot sun. That summer, CPR bowed to some of its mandatory hiring policies, and brought in a few young women although it was abundantly clear that they were physically unsuited for the work, and neither did they intend to get themselves dirty trying. The men stumbled awkwardly around the two girls, both about 18, skating and deflecting, and trying not to hit their foot with a hammer while sneaking a backwards peek. The girls meanwhile, knew the score. They chatted coyly on the side of the track while they filed their nails, tried to get a suntan and collected their pay. I understand that women are becoming more dominant in the corporate landscape because they are simply better communicators, and just in case, they can bury any man without even trying with the deadly combination of a briefcase and a mini.
Women, also are much more driven by instinct than men, they don’t get disconcerted over details. One summer when my kids were about 7, 5 and 3 months, we went for a long walk into the Halton Hills trail systems. What we didn’t realize was that we were getting deeper and deeper into the forest with night coming on. There was no short way out, no looping trail. My wife when she realized this, envisioned wolves, bears, and other such dangerous wild animals, and (maternal instinct kicking in) she started an Olympic sprint for the finish line that was leaving me in the dust, holding one kid by the hand and another on my back, and she far ahead with a breastfeeding infant bouncing along as she ran. I had a faint vision of my wife as a mythical amazon warrior, while thinking wistfully that the wild animals better stay back, they didn’t have a hope in hell.
And then there is the simple matter of numbers. Women always, always can fall back on the sisterhood. There are no stragglers of the female gender. When I was visiting my brother in Manitoba, we spent part of the time in a very small hamlet where my brother winters his kayak with an old bachelor friend René. Now René was a fairly recent add-on to the town, and he found out fairly quickly doing odd jobs that there were a few old spinsters in town. Not the sweet kind. They were CONNECTED. Before René could realize he had been eyeballed, he was sized up, assessed for suitability as husband material, and his domestic habits tracked. You see, the sisterhood had an in with the RCMP, who it seems were happy to run a profile on any resident of town, even up to their web surfing habits, and including whether they watched the Playboy channel in their spare time. These ladies were not freelancers, they were part of an international organization know as the RED CAP LADIES. The premise of the club, is to create an environment where widowed women of a certain age can find solidarity, friendship and fun with others of the same ilk. Only, this club was not just a local chapter, it was a gang. The ladies would walk about town in jaunty groups, looking for offenders who might have a messy yard, those who might be infracting local by-laws, or who might need a general telling-off for other reasons. Make no mistake who was running the town, René would sweat and duck down below the curtains the minute he say any one of them pass by. Guys, I am sorry to tell you, you are outnumbered.
There have been discussions on the internet over two very basic archetypes of womanhood from the iconic 60’s TV show Gilligan’s Island. It’s the Ginger vs Marianne question - the movie star or the girl next door? Which one would you choose gentlemen? I don’t mean to dispel anyone’s fantasy except to state that it is not an either/or scenario. They are not fighting each other over YOU. It was never a contest of Ginger vs Marianne, it’s Ginger AND Marianne, against YOU.
I am without defence I am afraid. One of my brothers has mirthfully commented that in Chinese culture, the dominant parent is calculated according to what gender your offspring are - and I have three girls. If there is ever a question who is running our toilet-seats-down household, just ask my daughters. They had Dad conquered…. a long time ago. When I first cradled them in the hospital nursery, it was a bloodless victory. In fact, who runs the world just might be the world’s most rhetorical question.