Monday, September 05, 2005

Compared to women, blokes are lazy no-good layabouts.

From the keyboard of guest writer, Sticko

WE'VE opened a stall at Balmain Markets on Saturdays and, I hafta tell ya, it's fun. Fun, that is, if your definition of a good time is ooh-aahing out of a warm bed at half-past-five in the freezing cold, and filling your frost-dusted car with stock, stand, signage and sustenance.

We've been getting on really well with our market "neighbours", Antony and Rachel, who sell Aloe Mist, aloe vera products which are great for the skin. Their moisturiser, for example, can turn warthog into wonderful in a matter of days. Or a few short decades, in my case.
Antony's something of a gentle new-age guy, a fella who genuinely tries to see things
from perspectives other than his own. That's probably why he showed me the results of a recent study which show that, compared to women, blokes are lazy no-good layabouts. At first glance that might not seem too complimentary, and it was obviously troubling
Antony. But on closer inspection, it's clear that the study is skewed to favour the fairer sex.

How come nobody runs surveys asking the kind of questions in which men are able to show their stronger traits? Queries like:
1. In an emergency, could you open a stubbie with your teeth?
2. On average, how long do you spend each week craning your neck to see how much cellulite there is on your thighs?
3. Are you emotionally mature enough to make a meaningful, life-long commitment to a favourite pair of reggies? or
4. If someone is concentrating intently on, say, the football on the telly, and you're wondering if his lack of chit-chat is because he is cranky about something so you ask what's wrong, and he fails to answer because he is wondering why the Tigers kicked on the second tackle, do you accept this perfectly reasonable silence or do you blow a fuse and start to HENPECK HIM UNTIL HE HAS TO HIDE IN THE BACK SHED?

But do we ever see these types of questions on surveys? No. Just questions like the ones asked in the survey Antony showed me, from the Department of Labor and Industry. It petitioned 13,000 Aussies to find out how they spend their time when they're not working. It revealed that womenfolk spend twice as much time as menfolk on looking after the kids and doing household chores, while men dedicate more time to sport and leisure. This is clearly quite misleading.
Take the concept of "housework". Sure, women spend more TIME on it. But hey, what are they really accomplishing when you break it all down? Spending hours scooping up a three-year-old's toys and putting them back into the toy box is clearly WORKING, but not what we blokes describe as "working smart".

We are savvy enough to realise that all these toys will soon be back scattered all over the place again, and we wisely leave the toy-picking-up until a more sensible time, say when the child has left home to study at university. But does the Department of Labor and Industry give us credit for this? No bloody way.
And let's talk about child care vs leisure. For women, these are two separate activities, but men have perfected a productivity-enhancing technique called "multi-tasking."
Say a man is supposed to watch a child, but he also wants to watch the footy. Thanks to "multi-tasking", this man can keep one eye on the football game, while at the same time keeping the other eye also on the football game. But in some remote lobe of his brain there's a vague awareness that there is a child around somewhere, and if he hears anything suspicious - a siren, say, or an explosion - he will respond immediately, unless of course it is the last tackle and Benji Marshall has broken into the clear.

Speaking of which: I was once at an Easter gathering where there was a backyard touch football game involving all the guys except one - I will call him "Fred" - who was watching us while holding his little daughter. My team was short one player, so we looked over at "Fred" (who has a superb sidestep) and, after making us swear we would never tell his wife, he very carefully set his daughter down on the lawn and joined the game. Seconds later Nick - whoops, I mean "Fred" - scored a try in the corner to win the game.

This never would have happened if we had allowed ourselves to be shackled by the rigid, inflexible definitions of "leisure" and "child care" which have for so long enslaved women and the blinkered "Department of Labor and Industry."

Now this is not to say I believe all men are perfect. Not at all. To be honest, some areas of domestic life have scope for blokes to show more sensitivity toward, and recognition of, the imbalance between them and women, and I intend to take steps to close that gap. However, before we embark on that journey, I have an urgent question for Antony:

"Why did they kick on the second tackle?"


Grinder said...

Spot on!

Mrs G is rarely idle. Yet somehow there’s an incumbent inefficiency that is associated with so much busy-work.

A couple of months ago, while Mrs G was away, a new male-oriented regime managed the household; dishes were done once a day (if needed) glasses and plates were actually reused without washing rinsing and drying, the kids were seen in the same clothes on more than one occasion, and toys were collected and put away only prior to going to bed.

Far less energy was expended for the duration, but somehow it came to a slow realisation that cutting corners and sweeping under the carpet didn't maintain the same standards to which the household had become accustomed.

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