Tuesday, January 20, 2004

over easy

My partner-in-crime Nikki has posted her thoughts on how we guys have it easy. But do we, really? And if we don't, is it enough for us to wish we were women instead?

1. Upkeep Costs. In patriachal Philippines, we are expected to be the ones to bring home the bacon. That amount should be enough to pay for rent, utilities, food, salaries, child upkeep and other necessities, plus have extra for "lifestyle" - which includes dinners out, the occasional show or film, books and comics and other entertainments, clothes and shopping and such. Rightly or wrongly, that is the expectation every Filipino man is raised to adhere to. To be unable to provide for family is a devastating blow to self-esteem and self-worth. As a result, men become focused on earning more (and needing to release their stress more as well).

2. Follow the Leader. All major decision eventually rest on our shoulders, because much of them involve finances. But part of Filipino tradition is the ingrained respect for eldest male authority in a household. Pressure to balance books meets pressure to balance other non-financial needs.

3. Look At The Menu, But Don't Order. Once married, we are forbidden to appreciate any female forms apart from that of our loving wife (I'm just lucky Nikki isn't the narrow-minded type). The interplay of insecurity, jealousy and ownership struggles with the frank admiration of sexiness, allure and, okay, big tits. As if the change in civil status suddenly blinds and emasculates us. But we need to play along, to maintain harmony (and sleep in bed instead of the couch). But sex is always on the brain, whether we confess to it or not.

4. Mr. Fixit. If any electrical or plumbing-related mishap occurs, we are expected to know how to fix it immediately, despite any misgivings on potential danger or ignorance. Because we're men, dammit. Same with cars, ships, planes and bombs. It's worse when something breaks down in the presence of a large group of men. Watch the machismo take over - it's mob mentality at its ugliest.

5. And The Award Goes To... Men need to achieve something and get validation. Often, it doesn't matter what the contest is, for as long as you win. It is not enough to compete, you must win. It is not about making friends, you must win. It is not about the prize, you simply must win. Win. Win. Win. It seems that we are trapped by the fundamental aggression in our genes.

There are more, but that should suffice for now. So, are these reasons enough for us to want to give up our gender and become women? Absolutely not.

1. I do not want to spend money on tons of make-up and exotic fruit-flavored beauty products.

2. I do not want to have to think about maintaining gigantic wardrobes and multiple pairs of shoes, open-toed or not.

3. I do not want to have gowns made for weddings or commission vanity portraits of myself, airbrushed and all.

4. I certainly do not want to experience childbirth.

5. I do not want to menstruate. Ever.

And there are more.


There are times when I do wish we had it easier. To be able to sit around and be supported by someone else instead of having to worry about the business. To be able to spend more time with my daughter. To pamper myself like there's no tomorrow.

But most importantly...

To find out just why, exactly, women have to go to public comfort rooms holding hands.


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