guys n gals n fuss
Let's talk stereotypes. Not race or age or class ones, they're eye-rolling and I often get them wrong. (Those guys - they're the ones who can't jump, right? No? Then are they the ones who can't parallel park? Who marry their cousins? Wait, that's us? Oh. I'm bad at this.) Let's talk sex, because even at their most misleading, sex-stereotypes can be funny and embarrassing. Someone called a stereotype the shortest distance between two minds (unless one of the minds is mine, and we're talking about those incestuous non-parkers), so there's some truth buried in the lies around guys and gals. I was talking with a gal pal about birthdays today. Her husband had forgotten hers, and she was mildly steamed. We've been together for 28 years, you think he'd remember even though he's only a guy, she said, or something like that. My mom and sisters remembered, she said. My co-workers took me to lunch, she said. There was wine and cake, she said. Come to think of it, maybe she was a bit more than mildly steamed. I got to thinking. With application, I can come up with a dozen or two birth dates for people in my life, but how many of those do I remember on the date? (And by remember I don't mean gifts from the jeweler or bakery or lunch with wine. I'm talking a phone call or email, a Hey, slugger today's the day kind of remembrance.) And the answer came back -- the ones whose birthdays I note are the ones who remind me. And all of those -- a solid one hundred per-cent -- are female. My first thought is Eek. Not that I don't remember more dates on my own. I am ok with that. My Eek is that so many more woman than men worry about this stuff. Of course my test sample is small, and my data aren't valid. But they are overwhelming, and if they are valid, I want to know why? Why? Aren't women supposed to fear getting old (not like men -- we love it). What's the good of an official notice that you now have a bigger number beside the AGE column of your various applications? How is this fun? Even the cake and wine don't do as much for you as they did when you were eight or eighteen. The fuss doesn't make - pardon me - sense. Is that it? I wondered. Is it the fuss? Queen for a day is a stereotype after all -- there's no real guy equivalent. (Tsar for a day? Daily Despot ...)
Gee, I hope I'm wrong. The feminist in me demands that we women value ourselves every day of the year, rather than trying to persuade others to notice us on one special day. Secretary's Day is demeaning. I don't want charity. As a women I would SO not remind my guy self that I have a birthday coming up. Of course, I am not a woman, and I like to make people feel good. One way to do this is to listen to them. My gal pal had finished talking. It was my turn. There was silence on the line, and then - belatedly, for the dumb guy stereotype has some truth to it - it dawned on me. Happy Birthday, I said. Many Happy Returns. I'm sending you some flowers. Aw, thanks -- you remembered, she said. I hung up and started googling florists.