Vinita Dawra Nangia
(First published in The Times of India, May 13, 2007)
Men move around under a cloud of guilt unable to understand or meet the ever-burgeoning expectations of women in their lives!
Sometimes, just sometimes, I feel bad for men. Considering the quantum leap women have taken from last generation to ours, men can only be said to have regressed As women gain confidence and poise, they are not just challenging men in their own space but also questioning what for generations has been accepted male behaviour.
That leaves men befuddled, with no role models to follow. After all, when they look towards their dads, they see a generation of guys who still shout out to their wives for a glass of water – and get it! Dare they try the same?! Not a chance, faced as they are with perhaps the most formidable generation of women in years past and to come – women who have discovered their identity and are reveling in the new-found strength of their feminity.
To make matters worse a recent study indicated that men may no longer be required for procreation either, with the possibility of creating sperms from a woman’s bone marrow! How men must have quaked at the prospect of being nudged out of the only activity they believed women couldn’t manage without them! Pleasure of course is a possibility without guys, as women have known since Stone Age it seems (as indicated by the recent discovery of sex toys and dildos in a Stone Age cave in Germany)!
Men today labour under a perpetual cloud of guilt, not quite sure what they have done wrong nor what they are expected to do! Not surprising because women themselves don’t seem too sure of who or what they really want their man to be!
It begins with Mom, who starts telling her little boy he shouldn’t be like Dad because no woman other than her would tolerate such an attitude. She forgets to mention however who or what he should be like. Then there is sis who is perpetually complaining about perceived disadvantages and blaming him for these, “Just because he’s a boy!” Quite unsure what his being a boy has to do with everything wrong in her life, he moves on to girlfriend and wife.
The problem here is that no woman is quite sure whether she wants a macho guy who sweeps her off her feet and vows to protect her, or a metrosexual man of the world, who is gentle and savvy and her equal. While she makes up her mind, our man has been hurtled through many avatars, which have left him one confused mess. Counter to what he has heard about feminists, a woman is quite happy with him paying all restaurant bills and holding open doors for her; wants him to be the chief breadwinner of the family and to handle all payments and matters that require running around. Pant! Pant! And yet, she also expects him to help around at home, with the house as well as kids! Whoa!
Well, to be honest, no man actually does all that, but that’s where the guilt seeps in! Expectations are a strange thing. They have nothing to do with you. And yet, either you do what you are expected to do, or you suffer guilt pangs. And once that happens, it gives the woman in his life just what she needs – a handle on her man. Most men complain women have become adept at making them feel inadequate. But of course, how else would we feel more than adequate? Come, honestly girls, how often have you heard the guy in your life whine, “Why am I blamed for everything that goes wrong?!” There you are!
Is it any wonder then that most women think men today seem confused, inflexible and inadequate? He’s damned if he does; damned if he doesn’t! And either way, he certainly can’t hope to measure up to the paragon we dream of!
Be a good boy
Push a little farther now
That wasn't fast enough
To make us happy
We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect