Blogging on demand

Emma K recently posted 10 reasons why she couldn’t be a man. It was good, although she had clearly not thought through the massive advantages conferred by ownership of a penis (for example the ability to buy a pair of trousers in less than twenty minutes).

I made a throwaway comment about how I could easily write 10 reasons why I couldn’t be a woman. And so she told me that I should (i.e. here). So I tried. Turns out it wasn’t that simple. You lot have it bloody easy!

So… “blogging on demand”. I have accepted my first challenge. If anyone else has anything they want me to blog about then email it in. I will probably ignore it, I am like that.

Alternatively, we could convert it into a meme… Here goes… I tag:

1. Emma K to blog on “Santa Claus” or “Trying on shoes”
2. Pomgirl to blog on “Haiku” or “Tents”
3. Welshy to blog on “Tents” or “Santa Claus
4. Vapidly Vibrant to blog on “Why raspberry-flavoured beer probably heralds the End Times” or “Haiku”
5. Meva to blog on “Trying on shoes” or “Why raspberry-flavoured beer probably heralds the End Times”

Or you can nick each other’s categories… I’m not bothered. And you can join in if you aren’t there too, I picked randomly. It’s a very chilled out meme.

I will link to them when/if (!) they are done!

Anyway, here’s the actual post:

10 reasons why I could not be a woman

1. Bleeding. This one is fairly self explanatory. Now, there is nothing shameful about menstruation, but I wouldn’t want to do it. It is messy and inconvenient, and I just can’t reconcile the adverts for Bodyform (running around dressed all in white, windsurfing, being in love with the whole world, etc) with my own personal experiences (knife embedded in wall next to head).

2. Penis. I wouldn’t have my penis. So I couldn’t write my name in the snow without getting a nasty frostbite. Nor could I get it stuck in the vacuum cleaner, thereby necessitating a highly amusing trip to A&E that I really must blog about sometime.

3. Inequality. “To be considered half as good as a man, a woman must be twice as capable.” There is a lot of inequality around still, I suppose. Not limited to but including the problem of career breaks while you pop a few children out. Of course, the finale of the above quote (as I’m sure everyone knows) is “Luckily, this is not difficult.” That makes me smile.

4. Shopping. What doesn’t make me smile is the way you drag me round the shops. I hate shopping. It pains me. Nothing to add here.

5. Having to squeeze something the size of a watermelon out of something the size of a satsuma. I don’t really wish to add anything here. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! Don’t touch me again, you bastard! (Coincidentally, since I wrote this, I have had a comment from Phishez_rule saying this exact thing. But I didn’t understand why… maybe now would be a good time to go into it?)

6. I would have to learn to answer questions. Yes and no are not the only answers to questions if you are a woman. I would have to develop the knack for truly putting myself in the place of the questioner, empathising, and coming up with an answer that addressed the emotional implications as well as the factual ones. As recompense, when *asking* questions I would learn the art of asking “what are you thinking?” at the most awkward time.

7. Body control and appearance. I would have to learn not to fart. I would have to learn to not sweat inappropriately. I would have to learn not to scratch things that itch when appearing in public. On the plus side, I would be able to hug same-sex friends without being called “a gayer”. I would have to start having fashion sense, and I would no longer be able to cut my own hair. I would become unable to get from deep sleep to leave-for-work in 10 minutes.*

8. Being an emotional wreck. How many of you have spontaneously burst into tears because “that dress is so beautiful”? Come on, be honest. I don’t think I could cope with all the emotion that you lot sometimes feel over the most mundane of things. I think this one might be hormonal… I also know that if I say that something is hormonal, then some of you will get a rag on. Oh look I did it anyway!

9. Toilet etiquette. I would need to become accustomed to finding the toilet seat up and being annoyed, rather than thinking “already up, how considerate”. Alternatively, I would need to become accustomed to finding the seat down, but covered in wee. I would no longer be able to leave a toilet cubicle and utter the immortal phrase “phew, I wouldn’t go in there for a bit”. I might have to learn how to make conversation in a public toilet, and even (*squirm*) look people in the eye. I would have to learn how to conduct a conversation about my love life (*bigger squirm*) between cubicles.

10. Colours. I would need to learn a million new colours, such as turquoise (a blue), mauve (a red), magenta (a red), magnolia (a white), taupe (a brown), and jade (a green). Stephen knows what I am talking about.

So that’s that. I imagine that a lot of girls/(possibly) ladies reading this will now want to make me sleep on the sofa. Sadly, I actually live with a friend at present, and not my girlfriend, so I will be safely tucked up in bed.

You should also probably be aware that we (men) secretly love sleeping on the sofa… we get all tucked up in our little sleeping bag, and it is like a camping trip. Except better, as we get to watch the late night sports on TV.

* Juliet knows that I spend hours in the shower, so she will be able to shop me on this one if she so chooses!


21 thoughts on “Blogging on demand

  1. what is it like to have a penis? It would be weird! Hmm as I look at the bananas on the counter….

    I am happy to be a woman, so what being on the rag is a drag but at least there are cool women shows on tv!

  2. Chris you are so cute! but mauve is a pinky purple and magenta is a pink.

    forgive my color pedantry but I am a woman and a graphic designer!

    I would frickin’ love to be able to buy trousers in less than 20 minutes.

    but yeah I also do not want to talk to anyone while in the “little girl’s room”, that is yucky.

  3. The squeezing out of the watermelon sized being is not as bad as people make it out to be…I’ve done it twice now so I should know.

    Last time I bought jeans it took me less than 10 minutes – probably because the watermelons were with me 😉

  4. An amusing attempt. Regarding giving birth, the having to squeeze something the size of a watermelon out of something the size of a satsuma actually doesn’t hurt that much, believe it or not …it is the agony of the contractions that make women scream and shout “You’re not coming near me ever again!” at their dear spouses standing beside the bed.

    I will try and blog about Santa Claus or trying on shoes. But I’m not feeling inspired at the moment.

  5. my boyfriend would totally have written #10 too, he’s always like how am I supposed to know what shade “mauve” is. And don’t forget to go with your inequality part, women also make less then men in their lifetime even performing the same job.

  6. tarametblog, I’m afraid I’m forced to question that assertion. See, I have never seen a set of statistics on this subject that has not been corrupted to uselessness by the extreme feminist lobby, and I’ll wager you have not either.

    Some observations (to back my point before I get lynched for it):

    1) There are a great many jobs, including my entire industry, where salaries are determined by negotiation. Under these circumstances, lower salaries for female employers does not automatically indicate inequality – it is entirely possible that they simply did less well in negotiations.

    2) It has been shown that men are more likely to uproot themselves and their families and move considerable distances, either to move to a better job, or at the behest of a company that wishes them to do so. This puts us in a better position for finding really well-paid jobs – “the best paid job I can get within 50 miles” is probably no as well paid as “the best paid job I can get anywhere.”

    3) It is harsh but true that often, when a woman becomes a mother, her priorities shift from her career to her family. In men, and in general, the shift tends to be less severe. As a result of this, a mother is less likely to be available to do overtime for the company, to work weekends, to travel, or in other ways to “go the extra mile”. Under those circumstances, it is not the case that the man and the woman are “doing the same job” – the man is of greater added value to the company, and so it is entirely appropriate that he be rewarded accordingly.

    When the government last published a set of statistics on this topic, Ruth Kelly decried the findings are terrible, and called for more employers to offer more flexible working hours, more part-time work, and more opportunity to telecommute to women with families. Now, I’m sorry, but that’s not equality of conditions, it’s favouritism. Now, it may be that it’s an inequality that we as a society deem appropriate, but let’s not implement it and pride ourselves on our ‘equality’.

    (Actually, the very best illustration of this came from Ally McBeal, of all places. In one episode, they were hired by a woman to sue her employers because they overlooked her for promotion because she had children. The company noted that since she had become a mother they were no longer her first priority, and so they promoted a man who did put them first. But that’s not the illustration – the tall blonde lawyer played by Portia di Rossi (I think) was assigned to the case, but refused to take it, because she didn’t agree that the woman should be promoted – since she herself had chosen not to have children but to put her career first, she expected, nay, demanded that she be allowed to reap the rewards thereof.)

    4) In a similar vein, and also in the “harsh but true” camp, there are a great many jobs where one simply cannot take a sizeable break and come back as though nothing has happened. Many jobs simply require that you remain current on the latest trends, policies, and so forth. And, even in other jobs, taking a sizeable break will in the best case result in one returning exactly where you left off, where your colleagues will have accumulated an extra block of real experience.

    As a result, women who take maternity leave, and indeed men who are in a coma for six months, will inevitably fall behind, and there’s nothing can be done about that. Guess which of the two is more common?

    5) On a related note, of course, the terms and conditions under which a man and a woman work are never equal, for precisely that reason. In the UK, women are granted six months maternity leave by law, while men receive two weeks of paternity leave. In the US, I believe it’s two weeks and none. So, again, there’s an inequality there.

    (These last two points should not be read as an indictment against maternity leave – it’s right and proper that it be granted and taken. However, in a raw analysis of pay vs. conditions, the disparity is relevant, and so is mentioned.)

    6) It is also likely women take more sick days than men. Rightly or wrongly, when a child is sick it is common for a parent to stay home and look after them, taking a sick day in the process. And, rightly or wrongly, it is far more common for the mother to do so than the father. In this case, from the employer’s point of view, who is the more valuable – the one who took five days off sick, or the one who took only one? (This is less an issue in the US, where one typically has a fixed number of Sick Days per year… but US labour laws are insane anyway.)

    7) All else being equal, it’s still not clear that a pay disparity implies inequality, since we’ve said nothing about the quality of the employees. However, here I will concede that it is highly unlikely that the average male employee will be significantly more adept than the average female employee with the same education and experience, barring some mitigating factor.

    Now, if you wish to shoot down every point I have made in one fell swoop, here is the simplest way to do so: provide a set of statistics showing male vs. female earnings in industries where salaries are on tight pay-scales (with a minimum of negotiation), and excluding all women who are married or have children. Of course, that is not the only way, but it is probably the easiest… or it is if such a set of statistics exists.

  7. Please forgive the length of my previous comment. It’s a subject that really gets to me for all sorts of reasons… and it’s also one that can’t simply be dismissed in twenty words or less, but rather demands exposition.

  8. I have to agree with you on some points Stephen. I used to work many hours before I became pregnant with Ned, then when I had him I became a strictly 9-5 person and every opportunity I had/have to be with him, I take. I am quite fortunate in that I haven’t missed too much time from work due to him being ill, probably only 2 days, and as we don’t have maternity benefits here in the States, it does not encourage a woman to take unpaid leave. I took 12 weeks, 3 weeks on full pay which was my vacation time and 9 weeks on half pay as I worked part time at home, so it wasn’t really much of a maternity. Even though it doesn’t seem quite fair because men are incapable of giving birth to babies, I do understand why an employer would view men and women to be different in the same role.

  9. Yay! I got mentioned! But I’m menstrual so I’d be much happier if it were a link to my wondrousness.

    Anyhoo. It was an excellent post.

  10. Mrs Mogul, it is a lot of fun. And if you embrace your metrosexuality you still get to watch the women’s shows!

    SBelle, okay so mauve is a pinky purple and magenta is a pink, but pinky purple and pink are both reds, so I fail to see your point! :o)

    Oh and it is “little girls’ room” by the way! Mwahahaha!!

    Rebecca and Emma, I am delighted to have confirmation that childbirth is not painful… I had long suspected it was a ruse to get more sympathy from us men. I bet man flu is much worse.

    Stephen, yes I have definitely seen studies where it was shown that women are dramatically less good at negotiating a salary increase. I suspect it might be because they have been repressed their whole lives by masculine pig-dogs!

    Ruth Kelly is the AntiChrist though, so let us not mention her here again.

    And stop admitting you watch Ally McBeal!! That is taking things several steps too far!

    Your points are mostly good ones… Let’s not forget that we live in a capitalist society and that is why we are focussing on the money aspect here… who is of greater value to society – the couple who raise a family of future workers/thinkers/doers/whateverers or the couple that both work for their whole lives and rack up an enormous amount of money? Wouldn’t it be nice if society didn’t just reward us for the work we do now?

    Anyway enough of such unfocussed socialist ramblings. The one point I do want to make is that you might want to change the wording of “however, here I will concede that it is highly unlikely that the average male employee will be significantly more adept than the average female employee with the same education and experience” (my emphasis) as it could be perceived as being offensive.

    Phishez, you are wondrous. Well done.

    Anyone want to come back to Stephen? Anyone agree or disagree? This is not a place where you will be attacked, don’t worry. We can all have a friendly debate and then have tea and scones (pronounced to rhyme with bonbons not stones of course!) afterwards.

    Peace out.

  11. LOL, my first thought was, “hey, magenta is a pinky color!”

    Soooo glad I’m not the only female that thought that.

    While it was good and it definitely amused me, there are a few things you forgot. Like expenses. Do you KNOW how much it costs to get your hair cut, colored, styled? Or how much it costs (and hurts!) to get your eyebrows, armpits, legs, and pooter waxed?

    I’m not saying that guys have an “easy” time of it – but trust me, being a woman is a helluva lot harder than (most) men give credit for. Seriously, when was the last time you heard a man stressing/talking about how to balance his career and his homelife/kids/home/significant other/pets/friends/whatever?

    Nice blog, though! 🙂 Boy can write!

  12. Chris, it’s a good point that perhaps the word ‘significantly’ is poorly placed.

    That said, if studies were done, I think I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out that men proved to be marginally better on average than women in some fields, and that women similarly outstripped the men in others. I would be very surprised if the studies showed either gender as being better across the spectrum of career choices, and I would also be very surprised if the difference was more than marginal (i.e. significant) in any field that isn’t massively dominated by one gender over the other.

    (Curiously, for fields where one gender does massively dominate, I would suspect that it would be the other that shows a significantly better average. This is because the ‘favoured’ gender would be averaged across a huge sample size of the good, bad and indifferent, while the other would be sampled across only a much smaller group of exceptional people who have chosen to enter a field where they’re very much the minority… which almost guarantees they’re self-selected for quality. Case in point: you don’t get many female mechanics, but I’ll bet those who stay in the industry for any length of time are probably really good at what they do.)

    I’m also surprised that my previous post didn’t provoke more of a reaction. Guess I’ll have to be more controversial next time.

  13. Well, hodely hey, isn’t this a[nother uncalled?] lively post!

    Have nothing to really argue against per se, as most of what Mister Stephen have written I tend to agree with. I just find it a little frustrating that this Family vs Career dilemma is almost completely relegated to the woman psyche. At least, from my (certainly very unbiased) perspective anyway. It’d be easy to blame on society, how a woman who picks her career over having children is still generally consdered as cold heartless maneaters (e.g. Nell from Ally McBeal!), and how we rarely hear about men talking about the guilt of leaving their child with strangers while they bring home the goods. Not they don’t feel it, I don’t think, but it is something much less prevalent. Is this bc males tend less to express their feelings? Are less in-tuned with their emotions? Their nurturing side?

    Bollocks. Most emotional/intellectual differences between men & women are, as Mister Stephen pointed out, less than significant, generally & biologically speaking. Yet in a context (and a very competitive one to boot!) like the workplace, these small differences are blown out of proportions, and yield rather ‘unjust’ consequences.

    Sorry. This comment isn’t going anywhere. I felt like whinging aboot it. Guess what I’m trying to say is, it’s a little sad that it’s either family or career, instead of ‘and’, and somehow can’t help but wish, for both men and women, for a better alternative…

    Will be on top of mountain now waiting to be inspired by Mister Chris’s tag.

  14. Ok, Chris, lively debate is good, but it will have to be all out war over the scones (rhyming with bones).

    Here’s what I don’t get (and this applies all over the place). 40 hours is plenty to do in a week. 9-5 is enough work for anybody and too much for a fair lot of people. So if I arrive at five-past nine and leave at 5.05 and do my work well between those times there really shoudln’t be any problem. If other people choose to do more, well good luck to them, let them burn themselves out. But really, there’s no need.

    And you know, when you first start out in an industry you have to learn about what’s going on. SO, if you take 2 years off, you can just learn it all again. If you were good at your job before, you’ll still be just as good, it just takes a bit of time to get used to.

    The world needs all sorts of different people to do all sorts of different roles, but I don’t see why some are valued more than others. People with children are doing about 3 full-time jobs if they work as well (and if they’re raising their kids right!) so why not cut them a bit of slack? Raising kids is the most important thing- I mean, most of the jobs that involve all the overtime and stuff are really doing very little for the world in general- raising a kid is shaping that whole person’s life.

    In many ways I’m all for the French 35 hour week. Either a 4.5 day week or extra holiday. Overtime’s not really available. Ok, so that screwed people over at the start, when they’d been relying on overtime, but let’s be fair, you really shouldn’t need to work overtime to pay your mortgage and buy food- I mean that’s not what it’s for.

    But just think of the gain in quality of life… The extra time to spend with the family, chilling out, at home, on holiday…

    Surely that’s more important than our stupid ideas that you have to work your arse off to get ahead?

  15. VV: You’re right that the career vs family thing shouldn’t be relegated to a question women have to face, and this is an inequality in our society. I didn’t really touch on it because it wasn’t the inequality I was talking about.

    JB: The idea of a 35-hour week without overtime really is quite attractive. However, if we’re to be competitive with the US, that’s really not an option in the UK.

    However, I do quite agree with your 9:05 – 5:05 argument, though – unless a company has a compelling reason to require employees to start at a fixed time then they really shouldn’t, to ease congestion if nothing else. That said, there are some jobs that will always require fixed starting times, because of the nature of the work. Of course, you knew that already…

  16. Hmm, no I seriously advocate flexitime in my job. I turn up to the lessons when I like and we all just hope that the students feel like turning up at the same time.

    A plan with no drawbacks methinks…

  17. BTW. Where I used to live in Wales (middle of nowhere) there was a club which had a corner toilet with 2 toilets and a chair. I’d LIKE to say I’d never been in there, and I’d certainly like to say I’d never been in there whilst my housemate was having a shit. However, these things do happen.

    I also had a friend back then who would bring out toilet paper so we could wipe after pissing in the churchyard (it was a LONG way home, alright)

    Sorry, this may all be a case of TMI- I just thought I’d whip it in here, to shock Chris more than anything!

  18. Juliet, I will agree with you on the 9:05am to 5:05pm rule and often use it…okay, I abuse it daily but I do get my work done.

    However, I have to disagree with you on the scones-bones issue. As much as it pains me to agree with your boyfriend, it is scones as in bonBONS. And I know that you will think that I am just agreeing with him because I am trying to steal him from you but seriously, agreeing with him only makes him feel like he is a smarty mcsmartypants and any time that I can disagree with him, I do!

  19. It should be noted that Scone (as in “Stone of…”) is pronounced Scoone.

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