When I am not accidentally gluing my own eyelashes together or tripping over the empty tubs of houmous in my room, I’m often thinking about how evolved we are. Especially when it comes to gender issues. There is a growing awareness that sexism, like racism and paedophilia, may have been a LOLS-o’clock thing in the seventies but is completely inexcusable. However, sometimes misogyny lingers like the whiff of Drakkar Noir on a piano tie. I often get subjected to all kinds of shit, by boys, because “birds love this.” It’s always well intentioned. But it’s sexist. Here are some things that birds emphatically DO NOT LOVE:
The ‘ladies man’
If you have ever described yourself as a “ladies’ man”, this fact about “ladies” may shock you: We’re all completely freaking different. One girl’s “don’t stop” is another’s “I am CANCELLING your subscription to Men’s Health, so help me God.”
I don’t get offended when someone calls me a chick – but it does bother me that some boys believe chick flicks will soothe me like CBeebies soothes the sulky toddler plonked in front of the telly. Hey Angela Merkel, have you been up all night fretting about the Eurozone crisis? Let Katherine Heigl and Ryan Reynolds soothe your anxious lady head! I don’t think she’s going to go for that.
Some rom coms are brilliant pieces of cinema. Working Girl is a work of art. Woody Allen’s movies are perfectly pitched, nuanced and unforgettable – but they’re all about a boy, a girl and some LOLs. I love Bridesmaids so much that I’m tempted to go to Speaker’s Corner and tell everyone how great it is. But to assume that any film with a romantic premise will be hugely distracting and enjoyable to anyone with a vagina is INSULTING. Some ladies have broken their copy of The Notebook through overuse-and some ladies are on their seventh Full Metal Jacket DVD. We don’t assume you only like films with Danny Dyer in them, do we?
Man, have I got beef with cupcakes. In fact, I wish I had beef with cupcakes. It would improve the flavour enormously. Oh, hell, who am I kidding, cakes are ace – but never assume that a person is going to fetishise glittery pink icing beyond all sense just because they have a vagina. I know I’m not the first person to feel uncomfortable with the twee, retro, lady baking phenomenon. Let them bake cake, like Nigella, but let them remember that you don’t have to have balls to go balls deep in some offal.
So guys, baking isn’t a “lady thing” any more than running or collecting WW2 memorabilia or reading or making origami isn’t a “lady thing” or a “man thing.” It’s just a thing. Some of us are cooks in the kitchen and whores in the bedroom. Some of us come into our own in the garden shed.
Shopping With Boys
Most normal, sensible women hate shopping. An idle spritz around the Boots perfume counter of a Wednesday lunchtime? Hit us up. A little accidental Visa melting in French Connection? It happens. But finding a man with a fat wallet who will drag us around the shops for hours and drape us in a confusion of furs? I hope I speak for most ladies when I say I would rather set myself on fire.
Everyone likes pretty things. Your pretty thing of choice might be a vintage Dior perfume bottle, a Gibson guitar, an early edition of a Dickens novel, an iPad…whatever. It’s fine to want to possess and accumulate some stuff. But the suggestion that women want to spend days on end accumulating stuff for it’s own sake on someone else’s dollar is insulting.
Gift giving is ace, but it’s the thought that counts. And wearily schlepping around Selfridges and chucking your credit card about is kind of thoughtless. It was very nice when an ex boyfriend bought me a Vivienne Westwood handbag for my birthday, but I knew the relationship was dying because I’d seen him look more animated when buying bags of frozen peas. It was much more romantic when he bought me a raspberry jam Krispy Kreme I hadn’t asked for after a shit day at work. An invitation to go on a shopping trip with a boy is about as alluring as cystitis. One of the sweetest things you can do for a girl is offer to go to Sainsbury’s – and leave her at home.