“Make-up can only make you look pretty on the outside but it doesn’t help if you’re ugly on the inside. Unless you eat the make-up.”
“Your blog is like lounging around the house and watching TV, maybe picking up some sticks in the yard. It’s you, and you have a casual vibe going on. A book is like going out for a big evening. You want your hair, nails, and makeup right. Maybe you spring for a new dress, which is like your cover art.
“You may not like the work that goes into it, but you’re going to like the reception when you finally get to the party.”
-C.S. Boyack, “So it begins“
THE Battle of the Sexes
That’s it. I’m throwing the gauntlet DOWN.
I want to determine, once and for all, who has it harder: men or women.
Let’s take men first. For this purpose, I have brought in my masculine side. It’s just survived a long weekend with all four boys home from school for a holiday, worked outside in the yard, and done some manly exercises like …girl push-ups.
I say that men have the short end of the stick. Why?
- Men are expected to work for their entire lives. Even in a ‘woke’ society of both sexes working, or just the woman heading out in a business suit, a man is not considered a whole man unless he pulls his own weight.
- The male species cannot feel anything like sadness, vulnerability, or silly joy. Those are weak emotions, symptoms of an insecure or incompetent man.
- They have to deal with, date, and understand women (assuming, for this argument, they bend that way). And not offend any of them. And still be manly.
- Men must initiate relationships. They must often pay for a date. They must read what a woman (for sake of this argument) wants without asking blunt questions (see #3) and without getting accused of harassment and rape later.
- When a man gets sick, he gets mocked. Who cares if he literally feels at death’s door? Let’s kick his pride while it’s convalescing.
- Males are often stinkier. Practically everything sweats, and in large amounts. Thank goodness for deodorant, aftershave and cologne. And windows.
- Men are expected to be good at most things, especially where fixing stuff or sports are concerned. They are also supposed to only be interested in those topics. As before, lack in these areas is a sign of weakness.
- Similarly, a man must be strong. He needs to look fit and be ready to move a couch or a car with his bare hands.
- If a woman feels like it, she may pick on a man. She may slap him, belittle him, and accuse him. He may be strong, but man is not allowed to hit back.
- Even though men spend hardly any time at home (see #1) and are not supposed to get involved in decorating the house (see #7), they must figure out where their tools have been moved to and why a couch (complete with an obscene number of throw pillows) is now where their favorite recliner was.
Women think their life is difficult, but it’s a bed of roses (that match in color, and were complimented on by their hordes of friends) compared to a man’s.
Now, in order to prepare an adequate female defense, I must think more girly. Allow me a few hours on Pinterest ….or not. I’m not the most feminine representative of the female sex, but I’ll try my best.
Women have a harder life, hands-down.
- Periods. Since many men do not understand this sensation: picture a sharp knife inside your lower abdomen that scrapes at your organs. Once a month-ish. Not only that, but you must endure odd hormonal effects like loss of mental capacity and car keys just before the fun starts; plus, blood.
If all of that weren’t enough, people snidely tell you that you’re grumpy because of PMS or that you ought to just “deal with it” when crumpled over a toilet.
- Childbirth. It’s not much of a break from the alternative; especially since menstruation and pregnancy share symptoms like pain, forgetfulness, and grumpiness. Being pregnant is just weird, and delivery is the worst pain many have ever been in. Ever.
- Menopause. Imagine a relief from the #1 issue, that was designed by a drunk engineer who didn’t care how (or if) the machine functioned after it ran the full program.
- If the first three points didn’t win this debate for women, the judges have obviously been bribed. The women recommend that each judge pass a kidney stone before being allowed to vote. -Which leads to a real #4: more health issues because of female organs. One doctor visit for one symptom leads to an overall diagnosis of “because of womanhood.”
- Shopping for women’s clothing is enough headache and cost that they just might need a government-sponsored representative. Seriously. Men get measurements for everything and one name for each color. Women get inaccurate numbers by 2’s and colors like “blue with gray in it” or “gold that may be black.”
- In a traditional home; a woman needs to stay home, take care of the home, raise her children to not be psychopaths, and feel fulfilled doing so.
In non-traditional homes; women need to do all of the above, plus work a job and arrange for childcare …and keep themselves sexy but not too sexy that they’re attracting coworkers.
- Females need to look good. If they buy into the ‘inner beauty’ and ‘be yourself’ crap, they have few dates and few friends. If they, instead; nip, tuck, makeup, inject, smile, style, and flaunt; they get a lot of positive attention.
- A woman is a b*tch if she’s pushy. She’s unfeminine if she (necessarily) picks up any ‘masculine’ slack. Her opinions are emotional ones, and therefore not as valid or as sound as a man’s.
- When a woman takes a younger man, she’s a cougar. If she sleeps around she is a slut. If she dresses attractively and flirts then she is “asking for it.”
- Women are expected to arrange everything around the house to buy some social cred, make friends (to admire the house), and plan fun family or couples outings. They are also expected to not overspend their budget doing this.
Men get ‘that look’ when they come home to a house full of pillows, but say they don’t want to go furniture shopping. They say they have simple needs, then demand that women look good and feel sexy after doing all the laundry. Face it: men hold the power and prestige, and women hold the garbage bag.
In developed countries, the battlefield of the sexes is nearly even. In terms of permanent penalties, however, I feel that women will always have it worse. I’m not looking for compensation (though, some sort of temporary transferal of woman parts might be nice); I’m looking for agreement.
Do you agree? Do you not? Let’s hear your reasons. Don’t be shy; I’m a fair moderator.
While you gather your thoughts and rebuttals, look at what I posted this past week:
Wednesday, March 13: Talked about Dr. Pickell and our ignorant influences in “Do You Know Your Influences?”
Thursday, March 14: “The Cure for Depression: Eat Healthy,” another suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.
Friday, March 15: Versed “Prometheus,” in response to Frank Prem‘s poem.
Saturday, March 16: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Bruce
Announced the Xth Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is verbosity. I haven’t had a lot of entrants, so PLEASE ENTER!
Sunday, March 17: “Crescent Illusions,” a sci-fi response to D. Wallace Peach’s popular prompt.
Monday, March 18: “Wilhelmina Winters, Eighty-Six.”
Tuesday, March 19: An inspirational quote by Trent Shelton.
Wednesday, March 20: Today.
I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Why Oh Why Must We Have The Teenage Years?,” “The Magic Clothes Washing Machine,” and “Five More Minutes” (a poem).
Image by VIVIANE MONCONDUIT from Pixabay
Image by Josethestoryteller from Pixabay
Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay
It Takes Pains to Be Beautiful but I’m No Masochist
My neighbor is a hair stylist. Last year or the one before, I set an appointment with her and got ready for it. I put in contact lenses, dressed in actual clothes, and applied my usual round of makeup.
After she worked her magic and I admired the results in the mirror, she said, “This is the time you go home, put on your makeup, and take a selfie.”
I didn’t tell her that was about as made-up as I got.
I also didn’t tell her that I don’t take selfies.
Granted, I have negative thoughts and poor self-esteem and little support or encouragement from people I know in real life. Those things may contribute to the anti-selfie-thing. Mostly, I tell myself, I avoid preening and self-photography because it’s selfish, shallow, and silly.
Whether anyone agrees with me or no, we’ve probably all noticed that one cannot go through life without any pictures being taken. If the old superstitions regarding photography are correct; my local gym, Costco, and the DMV all stole a piece of my soul. But when I consider voluntarily sharing my face all over the place like a peacock, I instead turn into a turtle.
The same is true of beauty tips and tricks, makeup, spa treatments, Botox, tummy tucks, hair removals, and other alterations women make to
screw up enhance their natural beauty.
To me: it’s weird, verging on wrong.
Recently on TwoFacebook, one of my neighbors invited everyone to a Botox Party. We-e-e-ell -it was a cheaper version of the same thing. As I read people’s comments I came to realize the event was like Tupperware Parties of old, except women showed up to inject themselves and not to preserve leftovers. (In a way, they are still preserving leftovers.)
I realize I may have a less-desperate perspective because I am younger. I haven’t started coloring my hair yet, though my boys seem determined to hasten that greying process.
Yet as I do age, I notice signs of the process that are less attractive. My body weight has shifted. I have eye lines at the corners. My lips, never much darker than my pale skin to begin with, have disappeared and require coloring if I want someone to find them.
I’d postulate that I may embrace more of these treatments as I age, yet also know I will always feel a slight shudder at the prospect. I really and truly wish we could all stop with so much makeup and injections. I wish we could all age gracefully and all be okay with that.
Instead I find much older women with blonde hair, fake eyelashes, and skin that resembles a folded potato. How many times did that woman go tanning? Nip a fat layer? Inject her face? Kill her roots with that color?
Where do you stand? Do you like women who are wearing so much makeup they used a trowel to apply it? Are you in favor of all this ‘mainstream’ plastic surgery these days? Is beauty only skin deep and is this how we unearth it?
They may not be selfie-worth, but here’s what I wrote this week:
Wednesday, February 27: Wrote “The Power of the Word,” a short dive into wordcrafting and wordplay.
Thursday, February 28: “The Cure for Depression: Get Up and MOVE,” another suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.
Friday, March 1: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Furious Pockets!
Saturday, March 2: Announced the 16th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. Something about stories with a moral. PLEASE ENTER!
Plus, I posted a picture of my totally-not-dated St. Patrick’s Day t-shirt. For those hecklers, that is my perhaps my fourth selfie ever taken.
Sunday, March 3: “Right Quite Not Something’s,” my poem entry for Carrot Ranch‘s prompt this week. Da Vinci shook hands with Yoda while readers eyes’ crossed.
Monday, March 4: “Wilhelmina Winters, Eighty-Four.”
Tuesday, March 5: An inspirational quote by Brian Tracy.
Wednesday, March 6: Today.
I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote about supporting mothers, how boys smell, and why quiet time is suspicious time.
That’s not all! I wrote a piece for Kids are the Worst titled “Screaming Kids? I’ve Got a Music Playlist for That.” It’s very helpful. Trust me.
Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash
Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash
Photo by yunona uritsky on Unsplash
Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash
Wilhelmina Winters, Seventy-One
Blinking away a world of sunsets and wings, Wil snuggled her arms free from their blanket cocoon. She groped into an outside coat pocket, searched, and removed her thin, black gloves. The other outside pocket produced a few wood chips, and a remembering blush. The inside pocket held lint and a rather bent novel. She frowned, hoping her teacher wouldn’t be too upset at the state of her loaned material.
Wil reached into her last pocket. This held a crinkling wad of official paper folded over a handwritten letter: her goal. Wil spread them out as best as she could and read them over again.
“Mom,” she said. Her fingers traced the looping flourish of Guinevere Greene’s signature. The title of Mother belonged to Cynthia; there had never been any thought or chance or wish for Wil to believe otherwise. She’d read stories, of course, of children with awful parents who wanted more than anything to be cared for by someone else. Wonderful, loving Cynthia, however, had always been so sweet. If they hadn’t had limitations like health and money, the mother she and Jakob had known for most of their lives might have spoiled them.
As such, they were only ever spoiled with affection.
Once when Wil was quite young, she remembered, she got into Cynthia’s makeup. Staring at her tiny, painted self in the mirror, Wil had realized that her mother was standing right behind her. Arms crossed, face frowned, Cynthia had not been pleased. “Now Wil,” she’d said. “This is my makeup and you need to ask permission.” She’d come forward and sat right next to poor, apologetic Wil. “Now,” she’d added, “Let me show you how grown-up women put on their lipstick.”
Wil’s lips pursed forward, remembering the way she and her mother -the mother she’d always known- had made kissing faces at the mirror after painting their lips. Anytime she’d wanted to after that, Wil had joined Cynthia at the mirror to get made up for the day.
Wil stared down at the cursive again, trying to picture its author. Was Guinevere the sort of mother who smiled with love when her daughter blurted out whatever came to mind? Did her laugh or smile light up a room? Would she have asked Wil about her day, every day? Would she have shown Wil how to put on makeup from her own supply?
Wil had no experience with how a real mom might be. If anything, her reading had taught her to fear a stepmother, but Cynthia was nothing like the cruel stepmothers that stalked the pages of fantasy stories. Given that, was Guinevere the evil one?
She had left Wil behind. She had insisted on Rob’s never telling Wil about her.
“Whazzinit?” Syl the pixie paige asked, ever the nosy sprite.
Wyl Winterling cast him an imperious glance, her coils of dark hair shifting across her featherlight wings with the movement. “I believe that is none of your business.”
Syl drawled a disappointed, “Awwrr.”
“Still,” Wyl interuppted. “I may tell you that I’ve learned I’m also daughter of The Great Lady of the Greene.”
The effect of her statement was instantaneous. Syl drew breath in, and was blessedly speechless. The Great Lady existed in forgotten ballads and old stories, and was whispered amongst the branches of the magical elder boughs.
“So,” Queen Wyl’s paige squeaked out, “Will she be comin’ for a wee visit soon?”
Continued from Seventy.
Keep reading to Seventy-Two.