I wouldn't want to be a man these days. Men are usually in the wrong. They are under incessant attack for their moral failings. In every field of human endeavour, from Hollywood to science to the military, they stand accused of sexism, harassment and microaggressions against women. Men have brought us rape culture, manspreading and mansplaining. In short, male behaviour is essentially deviant.
I think we can agree that the world would be a better place if men acted more like women. But is the reverse also true? Do women have anything to learn from men? Maybe we do.
Here are a few things I admire about men:
Men get to the point
Here's how I arrange a lunch date with another woman. It usually takes six e-mails, maybe eight or 10. No one wants to be pushy. Do you have time for lunch? What day works for you? Where would you like to go? How about Il Bistro or La Tourette? Once we've settled on the details, we have a hard time with closing off. Great, can't wait to see you again! Me neither! It's been so long! Like chimpanzees picking the nits from each other's fur, we express goodwill by stroking each other with exclamation marks.
Men do not consider such grooming necessary. Here's how men arrange lunch. "Hey Fred, let's have lunch. Next Tuesday at 1 at Il Bistro if that works for you." "Good." The end.
Men are direct. They don't think emotions are all that interesting. Women are overly sensitive to emotions. We tend to get all caught up in process.
Sometimes I think that if Christopher Columbus had been named Christabel, she never would have discovered America. She'd still be in the harbour, making sure everyone was okay with it.
Men don't hold grudges
Women are allergic to conflict. When we clash with someone, we turn it over and over in our minds, and brood on it forever. I remember everyone who was unfair or hurtful to me, back to kindergarten when Blanny Higgins pulled my hair.
Men just let it go. They can get furiously angry with each other, and two weeks later they're the best of friends. Women would be better off if we didn't take stuff so personally.
Men externalize their failures
When men fail at something, they're likely to blame it on their subordinates, their boss, market conditions, bad luck or sunspots. They seldom blame themselves (and if they do, they get over it).
When women fail at something, they're likely to conclude that they're no good, and who were they kidding anyway? The only solution is to go home, have a martini, and remind yourself that no man would ever think like this.
Men are focused and persistent
Sure, they can't multitask the way we do. But they don't get so distracted either. If they decide to fix the doorbell, they won't quit until they do. If I decide to fix it (not likely), I'll probably give up as soon as I can't find the screwdriver. (On the other hand, men can go for months or years without noticing the doorbell is broken at all.)
If I send my husband to the store to get three things, he will come back with exactly those three things. If I go to the store to get three things, I'll come back with 16 things, not including one of the things I meant to get.
Men have no problem being assertive
Why do women who are no longer teenagers still engage in uptalk? What are they apologizing for? Or are they just afraid they'll sound too smart and bossy?
For that matter, why do women ask questions instead of making statements? Why do we say "Honey, do you feel like taking out the garbage?" when what we really mean is "Honey, take out the garbage before it starts to stink." Why do we say "What do you guys think about this deadline?" when what we really mean is "We've got a major problem here"?
Women are so worried about appearing obnoxious and overbearing that instead we sound meek and apologetic. For many reasons (some of them social and some, I hate to say, hormonal), we tend to be less self-confident, though no less competent, than men.
Research has found that most women will only apply for a promotion if they are 100-per-cent qualified for the job, and sometimes not even then. Men, on the other hand, will apply for a promotion just because they're capable of breathing in and out. But is that men's fault? No, it is not. In my experience, one way to deal with the confidence problem is to fake it. You'd be surprised how well this works. Eventually, when you are 50 or 60 or so, it will probably go away.
Men are less complicated than women
They don't have to be in the mood to enjoy sex. When men appear lost in thought and you ask them what's on their mind, very often the answer is not much, or how the Jays are doing. I used to think these traits meant that men were insensitive and shallow. Now I know they are just different.
God knows they have a lot to answer for. But maybe all this manshaming has gone far enough.