Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Gender disparities (or despairities?)

Today's post seeks to draw attention to some interesting bits in two written works I read today: one of which is the newly re-issued Adibah Amin treasure that is As I Was Passing (written using the pseudonym Sri Delima (trans., "the glow of a ruby")); the other of which is an issue of a magazine that I picked up a couple of weeks back in Hong Kong but only really looked at this evening; both of which provide illustration the divergent ways in which men and women are apt to view matters.

First, while looking through the issue of Australia's The Bulletin whose main feature looked at Why more of us are choosing to live alone, the following observation leapt out at me from the page that it was on:-

A survey of single or divorced people showed that 39% of women over 50 planned on staying single forever, with only 36% interested in a relationship. [But in stark contrast, o]nly 2% of men of the same age wanted to remain single and 90% said they planned to seek a new partner.

(To read more, check out Bad cohabits by Katherine Fleming. Also, go here for the main article in the magazine -- one entitled The power of one -- on the sea-change in favor of singledom over in Australia.)

Then, should one decide to look for some possible reasons why women -- especially of an older generation -- may decide that they would rather stay single, one really could do far worse then to turn to Adibah Amin's collection of amusing newspaper column pieces which were originally written in the 1970s for Malaysia's New Straits Times newspaper.

From a piece entitled Tender Tussle:-

A man, they say, is Nature's eternal challenge to womankind. Just as she feels she is beginning to understand him, he changes completely and eludes her grasp. He is born contrary. Chase him, and he runs for his life. Give him up for lost, and he comes after you, all intense and wild-eyed. He does whatever he likes, goes wherever he pleases, and you must not question him. But try doing one-tenth of what he does and he flies into a jealous rage.

A man is always right. The more wrong he is, the more important it is for you to say that he is right. He must always feel he is the boss. The slightest argument from you and he suspects you are trying to "wear the trousers" -- and he becomes really impossible...

A man spends his time working, chasing a hobby, gallivanting with his cronies or staring at the television. He ignores you completely -- then expects you to light up like a beacon the moment he looks at you. He expects you to be many things in one -- wife, sweetheart, friend, counsellor, mother, sister, secretary -- and to switch from one role to another according to his moods...[!]

And this from a piece entitled The Romance Killers:-

...and what about the metamorphosis of hero into husband? When a man courts you, he is all masculine charm and gallantry. His looks are smashing, his manners dashing. If he does not jump to open car doors for you, this is only because it is not the Malaysian style. He does just about everything else for you and spends the time in between services whispering sweet nothings in your ear.

Comes the happily-ever-after you have been dreaming of and what do you get? Your Prince has turned into the Frog, the Beast, the Orang-Utan, the Fire-Breathing Monster of your favourite fairy or folktale.

He hogs the bed, the blankets, the bathroom, the newspapers. He takes the caps off bottles and tubes and never puts them back. He leaves a trail of clothes and miscellaneous belongings wherever he goes, then yells at you when he cannot find them. His den is sacrosanct, his rusty tool kit and littered desk not to be touched or even looked at, but he blithely pinches your precious nail to varnish to paint some old junk of his...[!!!]

Of course, this being dear ol' Adibah, she does go on to declare an amiable pax rather than continue to add fuel to the gender wars. Consequently, in another piece -- this one entitled Mind the Snails, Romeo ;D -- she decides to contrarily ask "Could it be that men find us [women] most lovable when we are least perfect?"

Though not before admitting to having done such as naughtily asked around, collected and proceeded to share with her readers quite a number of "odd" marriage proposals (made, of course, by men to their lady loves -- and, therefore, furnishable as further evidence of the peculiarness of men); one choice one of which goes as follows:-

"My mother likes you very much." [says the young swain]

"Really?" [asks the female half of the pair having the conversation]

"My younger brother thinks you are very pretty."

"How sweet of him."

"In fact, my whole family would love to have you as an in-law."

Electric silence.

"Would you? Be their in-law, I mean?"

!!!!!! :DDDDD

4 comments:

alejna said...

Interesting stuff. I loved the proposal. Hee hee.

The bit about the prince turning into a frog reminds me of another post I just read about "one-book boys": men who pretend to be readers in order to impress women, but who really only know one book.

YTSL said...

Hi Alejna --

On the subject of books: I'd love to recommend Adibah Amin's works to all of this blog's visitors. The only problem is that I'm not sure whether they're available outside of Malaysia and Singapore. :S

And thanks for the "one-book boys" link. Pretty interesting stuff over there too! :)

eliza bennet said...

This is a very perceptive and amusing article for us unlucky women living in male dominated societies.

Actually I was reading something one of our female journalists wrote last week (I would post the link but it is in Turkish)related to men being more comfortable when with imperfect women. Paris Hilton is ideal woman for Turkish men since
a) She is not very beautiful therefore approachable
b) She is ready for sex anytime
c) she is very rich (so they don't have to worry about money)


"A man spends his time working, chasing a hobby, gallivanting with his cronies or staring at the television. He ignores you completely -- then expects you to light up like a beacon the moment he looks at you. He expects you to be many things in one -- wife, sweetheart, friend, counsellor, mother, sister, secretary -- and to switch from one role to another according to his moods...[!]"

Hmmm this is a reality check for me since I'm this kind of person, this is why I think my ideal companion is a robot.

YTSL said...

Hi "eliza bennet" --

"This is a very perceptive and amusing article for us unlucky women living in male dominated societies."

I guess this means all of us women then since, based on my anthropological understanding, even while there are some matrilineal societies in the world, all societies in the world are patriarchal... :S

"Hmmm this is a reality check for me since I'm this kind of person, this is why I think my ideal companion is a robot."

You mean the kind of person who spends his/her time working, chasing a hobby, gallivanting with his/her cronies or staring at the television? ;D