What is this whole macho thing about men that separates them from us as a race? It baffles me really.
I have known various men since they roamed around wearing loafers and dungarees and collected bubblegum wrappers that came with free washable tattoos. And while I have graduated to growing my hair waist length and applying kohl on my eyes, they haven't changed much.
They still collect trophies and swap lewd jokes and tell exaggerated tales of conquests. I have tried to figure how their minds work, what causes them anguish and what is the right button to push but I am still in the dark.
Us, girls, during sleepovers or otherwise have taken to spitting out the word "MEN!" in the most derogatory way when we are irked by something they have done or are planning to do. But I doubt if they do the same. Or if they do, I suspect it is laced with their innate good humour and amused tolerance as they discuss the silly ways of all women.
I had a pebble in my shoes and asked my friend to hold my purse for a moment while I shook it out of my shoes. He held the purse with two fingers, as far away from him physically as possible while surreptitiously looking out for any passersby who might think he owned the brown, frilly contraption. I was amused but also baffled as to why holding a woman's purse might be effeminate. I mean, I'd hold a chainsaw any day if he offered me one.
I was having trouble with an abusive secretary of the housing complex I lived in. While I was worried, I felt it could be sorted out in a sit-in. Not when a bunch of my journalist friends felt the secretary has offended them personally and landed at my place charged with adrenaline with two cops in tow. As the situation unravelled I was trembling inside at the raised voices and threats flying around and assumed the guys would be concerned as well.
But one look at their faces and I knew I couldn't be more wrong. They were loving every minute of the brawl, one had his sleeves rolled up, the other had his arms around the shoulder of one of the cops while he showed who's boss to the 75-year-old grouchy secretary.
It is this aggression and protectiveness about their women that I think separates the two sexes. I do not know of any women, barring NGO activists of course, who would be quick to brawl when the situation demanded it. We have gathered around and bitched endlessly about troubles and have gone back to our lives without feeling the need to settle it NOW!
Take TV shows. I double over with laughter at every re-run of F.R.I.E.N.D.S and badger him with "what Monica says, what Chandler does, how Phoebe sings, Ross is so cute...". But when I ask him if he saw Season 8, he will assume I'm talking about soccer. "Chandler..who?" and I'll fly into a temper. He hears these names 19 times a week and still has no clue about what I'm talking about. Go figure.
Or conversation for that matter. My good man thinks I bring up the line "We don't talk anymore these days. lets sit and have a quality conversation," whenever he is trying to follow every ball bowled by Mendis. Absentmindedly he concedes..."yeah....talk...sure...lets..."
I have always assumed men are bumbling good natured overgrown children who need to be left alone with whatever dratted things that they do. But I never realized the depth of their vengeance.
So its 7 pm and time for FRIENDS re-run. As I settle in comfortably (having hidden the remote under the cushions out of his reach) he turns to me with a determined glint in his eyes and says "so what do you want to talk about?"