Saturday, March 03, 2012

Unacceptably Groomed

I have written before on the subject of male equality, but in planning this wedding that I am to take part in I have been faced with the reality of the last bastion of exclusively female territory; The nuptials. Within these stony cathedral walls women make sexist jokes about men and their lack of ability to help with even the most simple planning, their lack of interest or insight into the inner workings of the 'proceedings' and the fact that they mostly appear to function as ambulatory wallets. In fact, as an ice breaker with most new vendors I would typically tell them how lucky I was to be marrying a man who had not only opinions on colors and details, but also was actively involved in selecting them; this never failed to garner some appreciative sighs.

The truth is, of course, that this wedding has been a melodious blend of both our interests, and
it is a singular joy that this fact gives lie to the age old notion that men have to be tricked
into marriage, and so therefore shuffle their feet down the lilac strewn aisle that the bride has chosen.
This rampant braggery is not just to make myself feel big, I have noticed, in this comparison, that the
Wedding World is not actually prepared to cede control to the greater egalitarian society.

A prime example of this mistrust was the invitations. Victor was struck by inspiration from a sample
I had found and created the entire invitation himself on the computer. I was going through some other
obligations at the time, and we figured it made more sense to leave the whole matter in his hands.
Throughout the entire process of ordering the invitations Victor had to constantly field questions about
'what the bride wanted' and 'what was the bride's name?' in order to put it on the order form, despite the fact that I never set foot in the store nor even picked up receiver to discuss anything with the shop. For all they knew, he was possibly just an eccentric who decided to design cards one day, and they were working themselves into a tizzy about a fictional individual whose name came from a small hallucination brought on by too much tennis.

They let him see his account at one point where my name was prominently placed at the top, while
his enjoyed a lower placement, almost as an afterthought. The special comment section of the account
included the gem, "Just as a note, the GROOM is the primary point of contact for this project, not the bride."
Oh, the power my sex wields.

Not to compare the trials that my female ancestors suffered, being treated as chattel rather than a human being, to the annoyance that Victor experienced at being the constant second party to this inkjet waltz, but in this 'enlightened' day it seems ridiculous that we are so backward thinking as to treat someone in this fashion.

The invitations completed, we were motivated to get them out just a few days later and so, to save time, I went in to collect them. There, proudly displayed on the box, was my name, alone. I made mention of this fact, adding that it was surprising given that the groom had been the only one they had spoken or contacted with during the entire process, and had referred to the project as 'his baby', but the only response they could give me was that they put the bride's name on the box. Always. Because they just did. So there.  

Needless to say, the world of matrimony is still pretty unwelcome to men who wish to be a part of their big day, but I like to imagine that will fade with time as being 'metrosexual' becomes more mainstream and acceptable.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fly Off the Handle (At a White Guy)

I got a compliment today. As far as compliments go it was pretty backhanded, but I actually enjoyed it. While lounging in the hot tub a man mentioned to me that I was, "Pretty jacked, for a girl." Now, let the race to disseminate that begin.

The first thing I noticed is that I was not offended. I've worked pretty darn hard at this body of mine and I like it when I get feedback that I haven't been wasting my time. I chose to focus only on the beginning of the sentence, and that's all compliment. I thought about that and concluded that the statement is not offensive if only I am aware of it because I am not offended. Why is that? Well, offending someone is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition of making an offensive statement.

Furthermore, there is nothing in the statement that is untrue. (Well, allow me to be a little arrogant for a bit) I am pretty muscular, when considered against the average of most females. Can a true statement be offensive? I suspect so, and actually, it is more likely the truth that is the offensive aspect, since it cause us to come face to face with an uncomfortable reality, and the resultant cognitive dissonance is so unpleasant that we seek to shove it in someone else's face.

But what, if someone wanted to be offended by the statement (and it sure has the smell of something offensive) could be considered offensive? First, the idea that there needs to be a special category for women is a bit offensive. As though since women are conventionally less muscular than men there needs to be a different scale or competition just to help them win something. Secondly, it is a bit offensive that he felt the need to include the honorific, "for a girl" as if I could possibly forget and consider myself on the same level as a man. Finally, one could consider the fact that he wanted to let me know that he thought I was 'pretty jacked', but needed to curtail his praise with the diminuative phrase 'for a girl', is rather condescending and a bit patronizing. 

Anyway, this whole post is what is going through a woman's brain the next time you compliment her and she stares into the distance with a vague smile for a while. Compliments: Serious business.

The title is meant to remind the reader of the song "Pretty fly (for a while guy)", and is not meant to imply anything about the race of the gentleman in question."