Sunday, January 3, 2010

Low-maintenance women and other mythological creatures

I have had more than a few guy friends explain to me that they plan to buy or bought their girlfriend a more modest, less expensive engagement ring than they could afford because their girlfriend is "practical," "has simple taste," and "wouldn't want a very big ring."

Um, yeah....try again.

The problem is not that these men are cheap. Instead, they have fallen into the classic trap of believing they are about to marry a low-maintenance woman, a woman who makes few if any demands on them, is just happy to be in a relationship with them because they are so awesome, and is secure enough not to need fancy gifts or worldly tokens of their affection and esteem. Such a woman, if she even exists anywhere in the universe, is so rare, if a man is dating her, he will likely be banned from touching her at some point by some endangered-species-loving lobby group, which will put a serious damper on their relationship anyway.

Lest any feminists out there think I am stereotyping women or otherwise being unfair to them, let me say that a major reason why there are few if any low-maintenance women is that there shouldn't be any. Women, even if they start out not making any, eventually make demands on men for several very good reasons.

First, if women didn't make demands on men, many of them would never bathe, much less get married, have jobs, do chores, eat vegetables, and/or help take care of kids. I love men, but they can be awe-inspiringly impervious to guilt or empathy or other sorts of inward motivations. For instance, if I come into our bedroom and Kevin is already visibly sleeping with the lights out, I will crawl on the floor in the dark, eating dust bunnies while I feel my way to the bed as if I am Anne Frank and simply breathing too loudly will mean the certain death of my entire family. Kevin--who has dramatically improved on this front, after I made repeated demands, see how that works?--used to come in, turn on the lights, rustle around in his closet, take off his massively-heeled shoes and drop them on the ground like the Blitz or something, maybe even get down by my ear and ask me if I am awake so he can then inquire about something really important like what time did I plan to get up tomorrow or did I hear about that study about how artichokes cause cancer (No, but I did read an article about how sleep-deprived women are 59% more likely to commit murder).

But mostly women make demands on men in an unconscious attempt to level the playing field in some way. Through no fault of men, the system really is stacked against women. Even if men make no explicit demands on their women, their women will at the very least carry, birth, and breastfeed (if they are crazy women that is; I think everyone knows my feelings on this topic) their children--a physical and emotional ordeal that lasts a good two years per child and leaves one's body and mind looking like post-Katrina New Orleans--and in most cases take primary responsibility in seeing that said children do not starve to death, freeze to death, annoy other people to death, and otherwise live to see adulthood. You might say, c'mon, children would not die without women around, to which I would reply that this theory has not been widely tested and doing so would risk the future of the human race. I do know that dishes that are not done by this woman probably will go some days without being done, and meals that I don't plan and cook certainly never materialize. Granted, dishes are less assertive than a small child (Hitler was less assertive than a small child for that matter), but I'm just saying. Women seem to be hard-wired to notice these things and to take responsibility for them. In addition to all of this, thanks to that witch Gloria Steinem and her ilk, women also have to have stellar careers on top of all that.

So, yes, I want a massive diamond ring, even if I do have "simple taste." And I want you to do the dishes, dammit, I'll nag you if I have to. It's the least you can do, given the circumstances.



1 comment:

  1. Oh man, yes! Men, God love 'em, can be SO clueless. I love my husband (yadda yadda yadda) but he has NO sense of being quiet or thoughtful when someone is tired and trying to sleep. He clumps around like an elephant after I've gone to sleep at night or when I am trying to take a nap, or sends our daughter into our room to "say hi to Mommy!" (when of course once she sees me she'll insist I get out of bed). Whereas if HE were sleeping, I would totally do the Mission Impossible creep, I'll spirit away the child before she has a chance to make noise near him or wake him up... Just the little things women do without thinking of it-- the ways we're wired to sense people's needs and be mindful of them. And my husband truly just doesn't have that sense at all. It's not that he's actively trying to be mean, it just doesn't occur to him. Lord have mercy.

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