I’ll say one thing, speaking of that boy who came to my aid when my raspberries spilled onto the asphalt that day: people help women more readily than they help men, maybe because we’re not as afraid of showing weakness. Guys hate to show any kind of weakness or uncertainty. They don’t even want to be seen sitting down. I know, I watch ’em at my Mobil station. A guy can almost never just sit in his car when the attendant checks the oil even though he knows the man will come show him the dipstick. He has to get out, walk around to the front and look under the hood too, as if he wouldn’t be at all surprised to find a raccoon under there, or a tangle of spaghetti or somebody’s underpants.
Men need to look like they’re in charge. They just do.
I think of that line from Shakespeare when the two grown daughters of King Lear start sassing him the minute he signs his lands over to them. “Being weak, seem so!” one of them barks at him and the phrase often rings in my ears. It’s all guys ever wanted of us sure: that being ‘weak’, we act weak.
Only somewhere in there we learned to read, and teach the children, and make the peace, and calm the angry waters. We even figured out some pretty good ways to not have a baby every ten months and to ease the pain of childbirth when we did. Midwives held centuries’ worth of knowledge.
Next thing you knew we’d gotten the vote, the job, a seat on the bench (and I don’t mean the bench at a ballpark.) For some reason we still earn only 75 cents of each dollar guys earn but we’re bound to close that gap too. In 2009 7,823 women earned medical degrees as against 8,164 men.
AND, if we care to, we can still show weakness. We can still show need. We don’t posture and brag not because we’re these big saints but because we’re not hard-wired to.
I like being a woman and I like the stretchy tension of living with a man, especially one who is thrilled to see women doing so well. I just pray that when my kind is really on top we have the sense to stay away from war. I’m kinda thinking we will.