The first time I pondered this question was with my group of 6th grade girl classmates who had just been shown ‘the period movie’ without the boys.
“Boys don’t have periods! It’s so UNFAIR!” we moaned. What we didn’t know was that boys jizz in their PJs and then have to try to hide them from mom on laundry day; now doesn’t that seem a bit unfair? And I can’t help but wonder: While we were seeing ‘the period movie,’ did they get ‘the jizz movie’? If not, that’s more than a bit unfair!
The next time it came up was when we learned more about the real deal of childbirth. “Men don’t have to go through that! It’s so UNFAIR!” we cried. Only later would we learn that men don’t have a say in whether we keep a pregnancy – not a legal say, anyway, though they do have louder and sometimes more dominating opinions. Nor do they have a say in whether they have to pay child support – again, not a legal say, but plenty vote with their feet. On the other hand, women can actually DIE during pregnancy and childbirth, so why shouldn’t we have the say and men have to pay? Not to mention how our backs go all wonky (forever) and our straight hair frizzes or our curly hair goes limp (forever), plus he didn’t want to use a condom in the first place. Where is the fairness in all that?
The boy who most wanted my virginity told me that he was getting some from an older woman, and he was so sorry, but he couldn’t really give that up – well, unless… Today I might think I was being played, but she actually drove up and whisked him off while he was talking to me, a resolute look on her pretty but mature face. I remember thinking that even though she knew sex tricks I didn’t, I could learn sex tricks (couldn’t I?) Whereas she was old and would continue to get older while I was still young. Now why that soothed my hurt feelings I’m not sure – because I would get older too (wouldn’t I?) And right then he was driving off with her while I stood alone on a street corner with my ‘precious gift.’ Who got the fair end of that?
The age thing came up again when I was an attractive young woman driving a series of somewhat rundown heaps. I saw the women of a certain age and status in their sports and luxury cars. I thought, why can’t I have one of those; doesn’t it make more sense for a hot girl to be driving a hot car? (Yes, at times I could really be that shallow.) Now I’m the mature woman, and I just went back to driving a sexy black Mustang GT. Ultimately I think it’s fair that I do, considering that I also have the battle scars of my age, plus I’ve put in the time on my career to afford the car I want. Nature sure has a way of evening things out.
Now some of my mature women friends talk about how some men of a certain age don’t seem to want sex as much anymore. Whereas we want it more than ever! “Where is their testosterone? It’s so UNFAIR!” we sigh. Well, back when we were the pretty young things driving the dumpy worn-out cars, young men were being driven nearly mad with that testosterone. And hand in hand with their high desire was a low sophistication about how to actually get a woman into bed. Furthermore, many of the young women they desired were more interested in the flowery compliments, the roses, the steak dinner, the jewelry, than in the hungry mouth that would jam its tongue down their throats or the hard erection that would chafe and leave that aforementioned jizz in their vaginas. But later, many of those boyz-2-men pay it back, whether they mean to or not. Their waning testosterone can mean they’re more interested in the beer and ball games or the easy porn on the internet than in richer but more complicated sex with their mates. Poor us!
What can we do about these discrepancies? Is the ‘war’ between the sexes unwinnable?
Maybe when one of us wins, none of us wins. Maybe winning just doesn’t promote the equity and empathy that are so crucial to a happy mentality and a healthy relationship. What serves us better, if I can steal a couple cliches, is to understand that when the grass seems greener on the other side, it’s often just that we can’t see the forest for the trees. It’s not easy to be alive, whether female or male. It’s not easy to be young, it’s not easy to be old, and it’s not easy in between. But I’ll still take that over the alternative. Won’t you?