There is no denying that I am a woman and I am usually very happy with that state of affairs. Some of the advantages of being a member of the so-called weaker sex include being able to classify chocolate as an essential food group, being able to give a man your supposedly undivided attention and make suitably encouraging noises in all the right places while bored out of your mind and . However there is no denying that there are occasions when it is actually better to be a man. Cases in point:
When Mr. S walks through the door in the evening he is greeted with a joyous hug from his adoring offspring who is simply happy that he is home. When I arrive home the first words that greet me, before I am even properly through the door, are ‘I’mstarvingwhat’sforsupper?’ You can just feel the love, can’t you?
Similarly, when Mr. S has to provide the doctor with a urine sample the procedure is quick, accurate and mess-free. When I have to provide the same sample it usually involves a lot of peering down below, dribbles interspersed with the odd un-catchable gush, a change of trousers, mopping the floor, and being unable to look at a glass of apple juice for two weeks without shuddering.
When Mr. S gets dressed in the morning he reaches blindly into the closet, pulls out a random shirt and pair of trousers, and dons them together with socks and shoes. Job done. Getting dressed for me involves checking the current weather and looking up the forecast for the next twelve hours so that I don’t get caught short by an unexpected shower or blizzard, deciding whether to wear trousers, a long skirt or short skirt – a decision determined more by my mood than my plans for the day – choosing suitable shoes and other accessories to tie the outfit together, and finally deciding how to style my hair. Needless to say, a mental run-through of the whole procedure is usually necessary the night before to ensure that all goes smoothly the following morning.
All good reasons, I am sure you will agree, for occasionally wishing I was a man. But the most compelling reason of all lies in the sex’s polar-opposite approaches to shopping. When men go shopping they have a mental list of, at most, three items and they return home with those three items; nothing more, nothing less. Unless of course that man happens to be Mr. S, in which case he returns home with nothing because within five minutes of encountering the jostling and shoving crowds at the mall he has broken out in a sweat and bailed.
Now consider when women go shopping. Our original intent may well have been to buy three items but you can guarantee that we will return with at least ten, which may, or may not necessarily, include the items for which we originally went. The trouble is that once we are exposed to that emporium of pleasure and retail therapy (aka The Mall) we see all the things without which we simply cannot live. Men on the other hand put their innate tunnel vision to good use and simply home in on the items for which they originally came (the same tunnel vision also comes in handy when ignoring dirty dishes, clothes lying on the floor, dustbins that need emptying and lawns that need to be mown). They just don’t see all those artfully displayed goodies which are practically quivering with ‘Pick me! Pick me!’ enthusiasm. And even if they did see them they just don’t see the need for items which are purely decorative yet which, when artfully combined with other purely decorative items, turn a house into a home. And a well decorated one at that. Most men, no matter the length of time for which they have been married see no reason to have more than the essentials in a house.
Case in point: I recently popped into a local vintage home accessories store intending to buy just one item that had caught my eye the last time I was browsing there – a beautifully embossed, silver concierge bell, which Miss S now annoyingly dings every time she walks past – and instead I left an hour later with…um… Well let’s just say that I left with a good few items more than I originally intended to buy including a pair of gigantic candlesticks that now dominate my mantelpiece, some old-fashioned glass paperweights, a mannequin on which I hang my handbags and a lovely china tureen that I use as a cache pot but which Mr. S – the Philistine – insists on calling a toilet and in which one of our cats – another Philistine – sleeps, if she can first remove the plants. In fact I may have single-handedly pulled that store out of the recession, although Mr. S exaggerates when he implies that my unexpected spending spree reduced us to eating baked beans for the rest of the month. As a result I am currently suffering a mild case of buyer’s remorse and wishing I was a man so that I could have walked into that shop with my mental list of one item and walked out five minutes later, the guilt-free owner of said item. Instead I left, an hour later, the proud – yet slightly guilt-stricken – owner of a car-load of tasteful vintage home accessories, all of which have helped to make my house a home, and a well-decorated one at that.
What can I say? When it comes to shopping I am one hundred percent woman; hear me roar…