Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday's Words for April 7, 2010

I have a question. Why is it only women have the guilt gene?

You may know that I have as much respect for men as I do for women. I came out of the 60s and 70s without any feminist overtones to my personality. Sure, I might make a joke from time to time about women who seek parity with men lacking ambition, but I don’t really mean it.

Men and women are different is so many ways. The best of us complement each other, and I believe that is why we each have been designed the way we have by the Original Manufacturer. I do believe men and women are equals; but they are different.

For the most part I celebrate those differences. The only real imbalance, it would seem to me, is that women got an over-abundance of the guilt gene, and the men, none at all.

If you’re a man, and you awaken early on a Saturday morning, and emerge from your bedroom to a home that is in dire need of tidying and cleaning, chances are you will have no difficulty stepping over the mess to get to your coffee. You might eventually raise yourself up to set things to rights, but in your own good time.

If you’re a woman facing the same scenario, you will begin to tidy on your way to the bathroom, no matter how badly you need those facilities. Coffee will be a cherished goal for you, a reward to be collected once the job at hand is done.

If you’re a man, and the wind has come in the night and toppled the umbrella you thought imbedded securely to prevent toppling, blowing it dangerously close to where it might sink out of your life forever, you might have no trouble whatsoever shrugging your shoulders and carrying on to your golf game with a clear conscience.

If you’re a woman you’d waste a lot of energy and worry on trying to figure out how to rescue that umbrella, and feel guilty as hell when you realize you simply don’t have the strength to do so.

We women tend to feel guilty if we do anything for ourselves that could even remotely be considered selfish. But that’s not the worst of it. We feel guilty for working, and we feel guilty if we don’t work. We feel guilty if we do too much for our kids, and we feel guilty if we don’t do enough.

Most women seem to excel at taking care of others all the time. What causes this great giving of the female soul? It’s guilt, to some degree. We seem to be the ones who feel it is, not only our sacred obligation, but our destiny to take care of others.

Society does play into this, I assure you of that. Women don’t drive the engine on this particular vehicle all by themselves. Don’t believe me?

Have you ever gone to visit people—I’m thinking people you don’t know well. You find yourself in their homes for the first time and the place is a mess. Been there? I challenge you to deny that the thought that went through your head was, “gee, this woman isn’t a very good housekeeper.”

Now it could very well be, as one former acquaintance once said to me, that women like to feel guilty. Feelings of guilt, this person said, morphed into feelings of righteousness, and women live to feel righteous.

I’m not sure if I totally agree with that, or not. The unfortunate part is that I have known women who are like that, which kind of works against us all.

Now I’m not for changing the roles between men and women, overmuch. I love the maleness of men, their strengths which do come with their weaknesses, as do ours. I’m not asking for any kind of cultural or social revolution, and I for one certainly don’t want to burn my bra.

But if we could shave oh, about a quarter inch of guilt off of us and put it on the men—why, I think that would be a fine thing, indeed.

Feed the flames of your passion…with a novel by Morgan Ashbury

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