We, the are-you-really-a-woman ones

by Irina Slav

Women like to share and sympathise. Women like shopping (for hours on end). Women like babies, theirs and other women’s. Women eat salads/gorge on ice cream. Women are crappy drivers. The list goes on and on, yes, and the stereotypes live on.  I’ve started asking myself if I’m really a woman on a more or less regular basis but, having met other not-really-women, I’ve more or less regained my peace of mind. You know, fitting into a stereotype is vitally important, ask anyone. Or maybe not. So, here’s what we, the are-you-really-a-woman species do, among other things. Feel free to say “No way!/Yes, that’s me!”

1. We shop quickly.

Need a coat. Got a general idea about model. Colour — open to negotiation, except for any blue outside navy blue. Go to nearest store that sells coats. Scan. Find one that looks right. Try on. Fits. Looks fine. Warm. Colour not bright blue. Pay. Take home. Wear next day, because, okay, we all like to wear our new clothes.

2. We don’t do baby talk.

‘Isn’t s/he cuuuute?’ ‘No. S/he is an exceptionally ugly baby. Alternatively, s/he could be a beautiful or reasonably good-looking thing but cuuuuuute — please. Most newborn mammals are cute, and human ones are no cuter, in general. And no, s/he is not THE cutest/smartest/funniest/adjective of choice baby in the world. Except for its parents, and yes, that’s us included, even though we’re pretty certain sometimes that this genetic continuation of ours is in fact a demon from Hell come to punish us for all the mistakes we’ve made in the past. We still love them to bits, but that is no reason to melt at the sight of a set of baby toes.

3. We don’t sympathise.

We empathise, which is harder and more devastating. You’re being neglected by a husband and harassed by his parents into becoming a multifunctional household appliance that cleans, cooks, washes and takes care of the child? You don’t need advice, you just want to hear ‘There, there, you’re too good for this, it’ll all be alright?” Wrong number, love, we provide solutions to problems here, in case you’re too scared of yourself to apply your mental faculties for a second. Lose the sonofawoman, raise your kid in a healthy place.

4. We distinguish between fantasy and reality.

We don’t expend energy trying to shape the world around us in  ways we believe will make it perfect. We do what we reasonably can and let everything else sort itself out. That’s because we are clear about what we can do and we are also clear that perfection is unattainable, so we enjoy what we have, men and kids included, and don’t try to make it better, men included, kids — not.

That said, we also:

1. Love a steak with fries and a side dish of onion rings. Just a random instance.

2. Some of us are great drivers, just like some men are great drivers and others are complete crap at this.

3. Help our nearest and dearest and, if it’s very necessary, sympathise.

4. Cook because we enjoy it, not just because we have to. Nobody has to.

5. Drink/smoke/use bad language or all three. Our choice.

6. Couldn’t care less about stereotypes.

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