Asha Iyer Kumar :
A friend recently triggered an interesting Facebook debate on gender preferences. It isn’t that there aren’t other weighty issues to debate over in our silly, sensitive world. There is an argument after almost every second sentence uttered, for we have all, over a period of time, matured to high levels of awareness and intelligence, and disagreement now only means self assertion to which we all have unlimited rights. Yet some debates, like the one my friend started, make for wholesome entertainment. It wasn’t the stale Mars versus Venus debate, but an ‘if I were a boy’ pretend game.
It began with the hypothesis that a majority of women at some point of time or other in their lives have wished that they were men. Have you, she asked. I have imagined becoming the prime minister of India or the president of the US, and hidden in the attic at the very thought, put myself in the shoes of Angelina Jolie and collapsed under its phantom strain, but getting into a man’s shoes? No, I haven’t. Wearing the pants in the house is a different matter altogether.
Going by the trend of the times, I should have jumped from my seat, waved violently, and hollered, “Never. I love being a woman; nothing but a woman.”
That would have sounded proper and fittingly feminist. But not wanting to jump the gun over an issue that, if ‘man’handled, can set the cat among the pigeons, I decided to mull over it before arriving at a conclusion. Serious issues need serious considerations, or you can end up ‘hurting sentiments’. Human skin is getting thinner by the day, you see.
There are times when I feel seriously vexed to be a woman, like when I open the fridge and stare at the veggies, wondering what to put in the pot. Or when I have only 10 minutes to get ready and I have the whole nine yards of dressing to do. Or when I endure the torture of waxing just to avoid the looks that I imagine everyone in the metro is throwing at me for being slightly furry. How fantastic it must be for men to walk in from work and find dinner ready without having to agonise over the menu!
How easy it is to slither into a T-shirt and jeans and be ready in a jiffy, sans make-up or hairdo! How blessed not to have hirsute concerns of the womanly kind! Come to think of it, how can something natural on masculine legs become detestable on feminine shanks? But then, they have the drudgery of the daily shave. I can’t imagine running the razor on my face every morning and for this I am grateful.
Thank you, God, for not making me a man! Your small mercies mean a life to me.
I am particularly grateful when I find a ladies’ queue or get service with a smile as an incentive for belonging to the fair sex. My husband effectively uses this to his advantage saying people oblige a woman’s request more than a man’s. I don’t deny that.
I am not sure if there is a definite thing called menopause in men, but when we women step into that rogue phase, it is the end of all things nice and dandy for us, and often to those about us. These are times when we wish we had a different set of contraptions inside us that weren’t this erratic and unpredictable. I don’t want to get into serious deliberations of physical vulnerabilities here. It is part of the pot luck we have taken from the creator.
So, man or woman, given a choice? I can’t yet decide. But I love my sarees and jhumkas. And that, on a bald, pot-bellied, moustached or on a brawny, rippling-with-muscles figure can be a wee bit preposterous for my liking.
(Asha Iyer Kumar is a freelance journalist based in Dubai)