In cases of defence,
'Tis best to weigh
The enemy more mighty
Than he seems.
Shakespeare, Henry V, 11, 4
IN other words, give plenty respect to your enemy; don't underestimate him, or her, and you'll be better off. But who are the enemies anyway? Puss and dog, lion and hyena, hawk and chicken, man and woman? Man and woman? Enemies?
The animals mentioned are enemies for a reason. Why cats and dogs are that way is a mystery, although folklore has many stories to explain it. Lions and hyenas just can't get along, and well, the hawk likes to eat chickens, so you can understand why the fowls can't stand them. But man and woman, aren't they supposed to get along? Why, oh why can't they get along, coexist in harmony? It's hard to believe that both are necessary for procreation, and in effect, the continuation of our species. Looking on, seemingly though, you'd think that they are sworn enemies.
This war of the sexes has existed from the first man and woman were made. And even though it was said that woman was created from man's rib, it seems that she's been 'jooking' him in his ribs ever since. Now, don't curse me -- the messenger -- for bringing this up, for I am but the lowly harbinger of tidings, that's all. I merely take the data, compile it, and pass it on. So don't whip me, as some men whip women and women lash men. Man and woman; so alike and yet so different, that's the theme this week.
You touched me with your article about touching last week. So many people are afraid to show affection, while others take it the wrong way. I remember giving a casual hug to a lady once, and her cold reaction almost floored me. She acted as if I had the plague or something, as she stiffened up and literally pushed me off. I never touched her again, even though we remained close friends for years. Maybe it was something in her past that made her averse to touching, but I was not going to find out again.
You touched on a serious topic with this touch thing. Too many Jamaican men are too familiar, as they don't even know you and want to grope and feel you up like you're a ripe tomato. Who do they think they are? One guy even felt my butt, just because he was my boyfriend's friend. I should have slapped him, but didn't want to make a scene, but I sure told my man to tell him never to do it again. A touch is a special thing, and meant only for special people. There are boundaries.
I totally agree: children should be told from a very early age about touching; about good touch and bad touch, and that only mommy must touch in certain places. Not even daddy must touch.
I have recently been bombarded with jokes on the Internet that pertain to men and women, and the differences and enmity that exist between them. In one of them, there's a series of photos of a male and female lion that's titled: 'How they see the argument'. The first photo shows the male and female cats in an all out-war, with fur flying, claws and fangs bared. That's how she sees the argument. The second shows the male lion snarling at a subdued and cowed lioness. That's how he sees it. The last photo though, shows the lioness growling at a very meek and cowering lion. And that's how the argument really happened, says the caption.
The other joke is titled 'Finally' and shows a photo of a male bird with his foot clamped on a female bird's beak, effectively shutting her up. The third was a conversation that went: Wife: "Do you want dinner?" Husband: "What are my choices?" Wife: "Choices?...yes or no." Then this other wife asks her husband, "Why are you reading our marriage certificate for the past hour?" Husband: "I was looking for the expiration date." Oh boy, so many man vs woman jokes, all with them at each other's throats.
But husband and wife and man and woman jokes have been around for centuries, and yet, underlying the humour, there is more than a tinge of truth. After all, the basis of most humour is truth, they say. But the real truth is, men and women are different and nothing in the world will ever change that. As the late great comedian George Carlin said, "Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy, is because men are stupid." And on that platform lies the basis of our civilisation, with both sexes believing that the other is either crazy or stupid. What a way to exist. I have heard it so often from my friends: "Teerob, my wife is crazy I tell you, crazy, she just get up in the middle night and start to do housework." Even as the wife says, "That man is so stupid, him don't have one ounce of common sense. I told him not to trust that con man." Is that why so many men leave the serious decision making to their women? But crazy and stupid or not, men and women do seem to be at war most of the time. No wonder that movie was titled Sleeping with the enemy.
Let's take arguments, for arguments' sake. Just like in that lion joke previously mentioned, a woman treats the simplest argument or tiff like World War III, even as the man dismisses it with a casual indifference. This casual air may also work against him, as she says, "How can you not care about my feelings?" And so the battle continues, my friends tell me. There are men and women who live together but who barely even speak to each other. That I can never understand: two people sharing the same house, sleeping in the same bed, yet not exchanging 10 words in years. What's the point? Plus, when did they get that way? They are sworn enemies, yet living together as man and wife. This often leads to the age old cliché of jaded men who say, "My wife just doesn't understand me." They often end up in bars, drinking rum until closing time.
The difference between men and women, and a cause for minor battles even goes to their taste in movies. Recently I saw the movie Lawless, so I asked my bredrin if he saw it, as it was really action packed; a man's movie. He glumly replied,"I wanted to see it, but my wife wanted to see the Meryl Streep love movie instead." He continued to say that to make it worse, the cinema was packed with an all-female audience, with only a smattering of men in the crowd, so he felt so out of place. She was happy, he was not. Just like the lioness, the female won again. Yes, choice of movies is a strong indicator of the enmity between men and women, and in most cases, the woman wins. So many times I've heard women say, "I don't like that movie, it's so violent", "I hate those movies, too realistic", "I dislike that type of movie, hits too close to home", "Horror movies really scare me". After they eliminate Sci-Fi, action and adventure movies, all that's left to watch are silly, syrupy, soapy, sob stories that should be on Lifetime Movie Network. This has caused many a discord between men and women.
Do you think that men really like women, or that women truly like men? Sure, there's the romance, the passion, the lust, the sex, but I'm talking about really liking. Based on my findings, it's very few women I know who really like men, including their own men. They spend almost every waking hour cursing their men, past, present and future. "Him is a worthless, lazy, non-supportive, mean, cheating, don't-mind-his-pickney-dem, good-for-nothing bum."
"So why do you stay with him?" I ask. Usually, there's no answer, or perhaps: "Well I married to him already so wha fi do?" The very few times I hear a woman sing the praises of her man, I have to stop and take stock. Now, I am lucky, for I am praised every day, in spite of my faults, but the majority of women who I know are always berating their men. Now, whether the reason for cursing their men is justified or not is neither here nor there. The fact is they're always cursing and cursing and cursing.
The men, on the other hand, are always whining. Oh, how they whine about their women, saying, "My wife is so miserable, she's always tired, always cranky, she neglects me, she deprives me of sex, she spoils the children, she spends too much money." One side cussing, the other side complaining. Man vs woman. When is there time for loving?
I recently saw an old schoolmate of mine, so we were catching up on old times. When I asked about his wife, he said that he had to run leave the house before she poisoned him. I burst out laughing, even though he saw no humour in it. But what a way to have lived. Man vs woman indeed.
How can two different sexes of the same species have such anger towards each other? I don't understand it, yet it's all around us. Don't just take my word for it, look around, see for yourself, read the advice columns. Some of the tales stretch the imagination. Man vs woman, not better half, but bitter half. As they say before boxing matches, let's get ready to rumble. Those of us who aren't at war should give thanks for tender mercies and a peaceful place to go home to. More time.
Footnote: There was an excellent feature on TVJ, produced by Kirk Wright, that revealed the scope of teenagers consuming alcohol at those rave parties. It was shocking to many viewers, but what surprised me even more was when people from a prominent organisation came on TV and expressed alarm at what was happening with those children and alcohol. Hello, where do these people live? Underage drinking has been a major factor in the lives of many of our young people for years. They at times put adult alcoholics to shame. And what's worse is that many parents don't seem to mind, or are in denial. "Oh, it's only a one drink they'll have at the party". Yeah right. What do you think happens at those weekend north coast all inclusive parties where your children go unsupervised? At least I'm glad that Kirk Wright has exposed this underbelly of society, so that some people can take their heads out of the sand. How could they not know? There's so much talk about illegal drugs, yet the legal drugs do so much harm and cause so much grief. Drunk driving, alcohol binges, abuse, and broken homes are among the results. And it starts with the young. Denial is the strongest drug, they say.