Comfortably Numb

Sheila Kumar's Storehouse

Published on: 05/6/06 3:45 PM

Humour: What do women want?

What do women want?

Back in the old days, it used to be far easier.

The relationship between the sexes was one-dimensional, contained no surprises.  Men were men, macho, less than refined, not in the least sensitive and more than a bit chauvinistic.

Women, well, always the resigned lot, they just put up with things, contriving to bring about change in subtle ways, doing their complaining in hushed tones to other women for the most part.


Then came the New, Improved Male. He got in touch with his  inner self; he went in for facials, manicures and pedicures.  He was a hands-on father, a demonstrative husband and what do you know, some husbands even started bringing  home flowers for no special occasion!

It was out with the  boorish behaviour, in with the caring behaviour.

So, you’d think women would be over the moon with delight, right?

The reality is a bit more complicated. There are some women who, while acting thrilled to bits with the new man and shouting the fact from the rooftops, are secretly wondering if this changed man requires a changed woman in turn.

There are some other women who prefer the times as they were, before they (the times) changed and the men changed, too. Handling the chauvinistic male (and the Indian species is in a class by itself, any woman will tell you that), took finesse and dexterity but women were getting to be experts at it.

Ground reality

Now here is the ground reality: women are not too sure  how they ought to react to this man, Mark II. Which in turn,  has the man unsure about whether he ought to continue on  this enlightened path or revert to being man, Mark I.

Altogether a confused scenario.

Let’s take a few situations. Ms Post-Modern is out at dinner with  a male friend. It’s a swank joint, great food and it’s been a  lovely evening. The bill arrives. He reaches automatically  for the bill and pays it. She is immediately affronted that he didn’t have the courtesy to ask if she’d like to go
Dutch… after all, this isn’t a date.

Then again, the act was a masterful one and she is secretly appreciative of the way he took the initiative.

Scenario Two involves a bus. A man refuses to give up  his seat for a woman. Women’s lib and equal rights notwithstanding, the woman promptly feels upset. Never  mind that the man may have had a long, hard, tiring day himself, Ms Post-Modern sees herself as the injured party.

She, of course, is a secret believer in the saying that while all are equal, some are more equal than others.

Other situations occur when he holds a chair out, or the door,  for her. The feminist in her cringes at such `patronising’ gestures, while the woman in her smiles in sweet acceptance.

The Metrosexual male waves bye at the end of the streetand lo, the woman expects him to see her home to herdoorstep! He says her hair looks great. She smiles awkwardly, not sure how to accept personal comments froma man who is not father/brother/husband/cousin. She wonders, is this a pass; he, of course, is only being the observant and appreciative New Man.

The confusions multiply. He doesn’t call like he saidhe would. She can’t bring herself to call… that’s nothow women do things. He forgets special days, anniversaries, birthdays, and the like. She shrugs but smoulders. Dittowhen he forgets to bring her flowers. And when he saysnot tonight, he has a headache, she is outraged andembarrassed beyond words.

At the cinema, her eyes fill when the hero dumps the heroine.He offers his hanky. She takes it, inwardly cringing at this showof weakness on her part. And the best one of them all, in this new
scenario: “You’re one of the guys,” he says and she grins. Seething like a volcano, inside.

Sure makes you long for the old days, when men came in one type and format only and women knew the ropes, every warp and weft, very well, indeed. The one consolation, if you can call it that, in this is that the Old Male outnumbers his Improved Model — 80:20.


humourmenpost modern menwomen

Sheila Kumar • May 6, 2006

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