Today I had my friend ask me how do I get this special men’s attention. And I thought about it – for the first time since it has never occurred to me that it was really special.
I once worked for a big Italian company. And I was surprised by the fact they never opened doors to let women enter first. I asked my Italian friend about it and was even more surprised by his answer: “Because Italian women are able to open doors themselves”. Damn, I am able to too. I am able to do lots of things. Repair things at home, bring heavy bags home from the mall and do other things a woman isn’t supposed to. I think it’s not a matter of what a woman is able to do, but what they afford her doing.
I started recalling all those situations where I could do pretty well without any help and still got it. Since I started working at the chair in the university that I attended, I always had plenty of men willing to carry all those books and journals and do everything I had to. And now I am not sure what made them want to – the fact that I was wearing high heels and tight pencil skirts or just the fact that I helplessly asked them and made them feel manly. Maybe both.
I often saw my neighbor’s wife carrying bags from the store herself. And I know that her husband, seeing me with bags, always helped me.
Going back to that experience with Italians, I can say that in just a week they changed. Well to me, not to other women. There came American and Canadian specialists and they always took care of such little things. When I was coming to everyday meetings as my boss’s secretary or representative, I always got a seat. Sometimes there were 2 or 3 men willing to let me sit in their places. Other women in such situations looked like “It’s ok, don’t bother letting me sit down, I am fine here standing in the corner” or “I don’t want to look weak or stupid” and feeling sorry they are females.
Since my work experience in the university, I have never worked with women. When you are a technical translator, you don’t work with women a lot. And once on my new place of work I was passing induction training with other new employees – they all were men. So they proposed me to sit down but I wasn’t really tired so I preferred to just listen standing. After 10 minutes I realized I made a fault and just walked to that seat with that knock-knock-knock sound of my heels which couldn’t be undetected. Nobody thought I was way too much weak or stupid. They just understandingly smiled and some said: “Oh are you tired?”
They talk too much about being equals and women’s rights. But actually it’s just rights to work as much and as hard as men do and getting no real benefits but losing all the privileges women have ever had. Who could really want to be equal to men? I can’t cease repeating that phrase of Marilyn Monroe: “I don’t mind living in a man’s world, as long as I can be a woman in it”. I am sure no woman that has ever been treated as one would want to get or seem equal to men.
The problem is when you start feeling sorry for being a woman and being actually weaker than men are, men aren’t tempted to help you. What will it give them? The doubtful pleasure of getting into contact with a dull lady overwhelmed with problems? Feeling guilty for making her feel weak and not letting her mind her business? On the contrary, when a woman is feminine men feel manly around her. They feel themselves stronger as they help to feminine women. So it’s not just about making your own life easier, but also making men feel more important.
When men feel more important, they love this feeling that they get communicating with a woman that gives them it. It happened to my ex-husband I guess because he really adored me. And, as he did, all the men that knew him adored me too. Even at work he had pictures of me and obviously talked about me with his colleagues because the first time he took me to the New Year celebration to his work, when I presented myself to his colleagues, they all said they knew me and heard a lot about me, one even kissed my hand when we first met.
So I can say that being weak you get so much more than being strong. And the attitude that you have to yourself builds others’ attitude to you.
Being a woman doesn’t make you weak or stupid or less of a specialist. It’s just your nature and life gets so much better when you stop denying it and when you stop making men feel like they need to compete with you. That’s when they stop that you actually win.