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Believe me, I am no Misandrist. Half of the best people in my life come from the male species, they support me and buoy me up and keep me sane — besides lending a fresh perspective to life that is unclogged by the feminine ideas surrounding me at all times. But then, there are these quirks that men have that aggravate me no end. I’m sure we annoy you plenty, too, and I know it’s not fair to lump all the males in one. But I’ve asked around, and my girlfriends and sisters have compiled a formidable list of what all we would like our men to miss.
First on, there is the preconception that all women are feminine (and worse still, should remain so). If you have read Harry Potter, you will know this one: when Hermione cooks every meal for Harry and Ron, and Ron keeps complaining about each dish, until Hermione finally bursts out: “I seem to be doing all the cooking around here. Must be because I am a woman!” Yes, I completely know how she feels. How, just because I am a female, men immediately assume that I must have been versed in the culinary arts since births, I must be an expert at washing and cleaning and sewing and knitting and all the other ‘housewifely’ acts, because that is what a girl must be, right?
While I would certainly like to be the kind of person that dabbles in all of these, the reality is that I was brought up pretty much like all the oblivious men out there. I have the same tastes as you do, I get equally (and even more) tired after a day of work, it is not as if my job is any less taxing than yours. There are days I feel feminine, and days I don’t, so please allow me that liberty. Some days I will put on a little kohl, and other days I will look like a zombie, and still other days I will be in my ‘just-out-of-bed’ look. At those times, don’t tell me that a woman must pull herself together, must put on some make up or high heels or whatever, she must be demure, she must be caring, must look after everyone. I beg you, please don’t even harbor those notions (and pardon the cliché), because I don’t want to fail up to your idea of a perfect girl every single time. And never, ever dare say, “That’s like a typical girl.” No one wants to be a typical girl, no one wants to be a ungirly girl. We just want to BE. Let us.
I would also like to protest against the (false, untrue, intimidating) expectation that all women have strong maternal instincts (and anyone who decides otherwise should be derided and ostracized). Also the belief that every woman wants to be, and indeed must be, a mother, or else her life is doomed. That she must somehow be programmed to know all about how to deal with a baby, otherwise she is less than a woman. I protest, vehemently. And I know a lot, lot of my sisters will too. Just because I am a girl, I do not WANT to have a child, I do not desire to hug babies as soon as I see them, I do not revel in their godliness, and I have absolutely no clue what to do with a newborn infant. I would run away screaming, too, so please don’t expect me to be nurturing and loving and extend my goodwill to all the babies around the world.
There has been enough said about the male gaze that strays southwards of our faces (and remains glued there for the rest of the conversation): To be absolutely honest, this didn’t bother me much until the person was an absolute lecher. I mean, sure, I feel uncomfortable too if someone pays more attention to my… assets… rather than my intelligence, but I just assumed it was some kind of a subconscious reaction. Scientists always say we have still got the old hunter instincts where we are constantly searching for the best mate — which, unsurprisingly, happens to be a well-endowed individual. That was until a friend put it on the top of her pet peeves about men, and I saw her reason too. We are already burdened by all these aforementioned baggage that weigh us down no end, we would be much obliged if you settled your eyes on the pretty house behind our backs instead, thank you very much.
Also, please do not equate a smile, a friendly chat, or even mild flirtation with love. Please. That will be highly detrimental for both of us. I have never been able to understand this concept — if I exchange a ‘hello’ with a guy, I don’t go around strutting and bragging about my (imaginary) conquest. So why, just why, must you imagine that I have an interest in you just because I am nice to you? I have learnt this the really bitter way. There was once a guy I considered to be a good friend — he was encouraging, appreciative, and we often discussed ideas on writing. That was the era of ‘missed calls’, where we exchanged missed calls to signify we were missing or remembering each other. I remember that I was an aggressive ‘missed caller’, returning all the calls and giving lots of my own. Until one day I heard that my ‘friend’ had said, “This girl doesn’t let me sleep all night, giving me missed calls all the time.” Well, that was it. I not only stopped every form of “missed calling”, I began to treat every ‘friend’ with suspicion, and haven’t been able to let down my guard since then. See, this is what one wrong word of yours does to the female race. It makes them guarded, and hostile, and wary. And you wonder why women are so.
Another mistake men make is underestimating women. Which is really, really, aggravating and unbelievably irritating, and you will never realize this until it has been done to you. I am the first to admit that I am not clever enough to imagine of a career in rocket science, or even simple everyday physics. But that does not mean that I am intellectually deficient. Neither are my sisters. So don’t, ever, make the mistake of considering we don’t understand, or don’t need to. The final point, and one that makes me change my tone into a really serious one, is this: I hate men’s coercion. I dislike being told what to do, and when, and in what manner, because “that is the best way.” Yours might be the most scientific and well-planned strategy, but that doesn’t mean you have to force us to follow it. All of it, then, boils down to just one thing: please don’t judge us. Be our friend, and respect us, and let us be ourselves, and a friendlier woman you will never see.