About Me

My photo
Journalist, Author, Columnist. My Twitter handle: @seemagoswami

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Battle of the sexes

We all know what women hate about men – but what do men hate about women?

(This one is on popular demand. The men are clamouring for gender neutrality after my column on what women want - so here's an old piece I did in Brunch about what not to do if you want to please your man!)

We are all very familiar with the list by now: of all the things that women hate about men. Not just about the men in their lives, but about men in general as well. And strangely enough, this list remains much the same, even if the women themselves vary vastly. It doesn't really matter if you're talking to a teenager in London, a mother of two in Mumbai, or an octogenarian in Ohio, their complaints about men are startlingly similar.

Top of the list, of course, are all those everyday irritants that make men impossible to live with. They leave the toilet seat up; they never pick up their clothes from where they left them (in a pile on the floor, if you must know); they leave sodden towels lying around; they never close any cupboard that they have opened; and they are incapable
of turning the lights out.

And that's just the small stuff. Then come the biggies, the kind that can wreck relationships if you don't watch out. They don't listen to anything; they are incapable of having a serious conversation; they never want to discuss their feelings; they don't understand the feelings of the women in their lives. I could go on, but I'm guessing
that you've got the general drift.

But surely, just as there are some (well, several actually) things that women loath about men there must be stuff that men hate about women as well? I would certainly think so. But because men, on the whole, are such uncommunicative creatures, we never really get to know their pet peeves about the opposite sex.

So, in the interest of promoting greater understanding between the sexes, I decided to conduct some strictly unscientific research among the men of my acquaintance to find out what they hate about women.

Here are my findings, in no particular order of importance:

• Women talk too much. And they talk all the time. Just when you've settled down to watch television they will start nattering about something about the other and insist that you turn the volume down to listen to them. They will burst in on you in the bath to discuss some pressing matter that can't possibly wait. They will nudge you awake in
the middle to the night to share what is bothering them.

• Even if you put aside whatever you are doing and listen to them, they insist that you are not really paying attention (and it doesn't help if you can repeat everything they have said back to them). You are just pretending to listen, they complain, your mind is somewhere else (on the game being telecast live, perhaps?). Really, there is no pleasing some people.

• If you manage to convince them that you have been paying close attention (perhaps by turning off the television?) they find something new to complain about. Now it's not that you don't listen. Now it's about how you don't understand. And there is no way to convince them that maybe, just maybe, you do.

• They constantly seek approval. If they are getting dressed, it's "Do I look fat in this?" or that old favourite "Does my bum look big in this?". And there's no right answer to questions such as these. If you say no, then you are implying that there are some outfits in which they do look fat and big-bottomed. And if you say yes…oh my God, all hell will break loose. There will be sulks, they will be tantrums, and you will never be allowed to forget what you said.

• This seeking of approval thing doesn't end there though. They want your opinion on everything: what jobs they should take/quit; where to send the kids to school; what birthday present to buy your mum; whether to invest in shares or real estate. Except that it soon becomes clear that they don't really want your opinion at all. They
have their own opinion on such matters and your role is simply to agree with them.

• They nag all the time and about everything. Why haven't you shut the cupboard door? Why are your clothes on the floor? Why don't you use a coaster under your coffee mug? Why haven't you opened that fixed deposit yet? Why can't you help with the children's homework? Why do you think that my bum looks big in this? Why don't you love me anymore? Why aren't you listening to me? Why, why, why?

• And then, when nothing else works, they cry. For all this talk about equality of the sexes, women are not above getting the waterworks going if it helps them get their way. And as we all know, men are like putty in the hands of a weeping woman.

• But what men hate most about women is that they simply can't win with them. Come over all chivalrous and they accuse you of treating them as the weaker sex. Be all tough and macho and you are told off for being a chauvinist pig. Stay strong and silent and they say that you're not in touch with your feelings. Be all weepy and sentimental
and they despise you for your weakness. Honestly, it's enough to make a grown man cry.


Indrajit / Horus said...

First of all I wonder, if all that are labeled as irritants are absent in someone, will they be treated as 'non-man'?

Secondly I must commend you greatly about all that you have researched about females! Most accurate account from men's perspective, albeit with a lot of generalization!

Janki said...

hilarious and awesome

SavvY said...

So true. . . Ur research methods may have been unscientific but the results are quite accurate though a thing or two might be missing. ;-) its sad to think bout what we guys have to live with. .

V.J. said...

Hi Seema,

I am ardent fan of your column in the Sunday Brunch and regularly read your blog.I love this blog post..its hilarious and in many ways quite true!

However, Seema, I has hoping you would express your views on a certain tendency I have noticed in most Indian Conserative Woman.

The Indian Woman of Today is liberated and modern but only just. While her dressing sense and her demeanour are certain modern and fashionable. She is assertive and unafraid and acknowledges her crosses from her noughts. She can party all night long and can give most men a run for their money at the workplace.

However, one area where women continue to hide behind the veil of conservatism is in expressing their intimate needs and desires. The Indian woman is still very socially conscious and scared of being label a 'slut' or 'loose-charactered' and this prevents her from expressing even her innermost needs and desires.

Lets face, human beings are sexual beings. Even in Spirituality, the second energy center of our body (Called the Sacral Chakra) governs our inner most desires and sexual liberation is one of them.

While, the darker sex is vocal about his sexual prowlness with endless talks about porn, hot babes and sex; The fairer sex is still closeted about her own sexual and physical needs because in our culture its a social taboo and any woman who is expressive about her desires is a slut!

Its a small wonder that most Indian women have issues with intimacy and physically being expressive even behind closed doors. For since childhood, women are repetitively scolded into being covered from head to toe and told not to let any one raise fingers on their character and question them. So not only is the girl averse to exploring her needs but starts condemning them and thinking of herself to be immoral if such thoughts which are but natural pop up in her head.
What people don't realise that, that feeling of immorality at actions which can only be termed as natural coupled with a new found guilt, makes women physically inexpressive and sex-averse. Even married women are hesistant to explore their sexual desires with their husbands because of this taboo which is by now ingrained in their minds. No wonder that India has the highest population of asexual and sex-averse people in the world.

What's ironic is that most women are even scared to admit that they enjoy reading romantic and racy literature or watching romantic movies and some even go to the extent of claiming its disgusting (well to each one their own) but one really wonders whether that is a cosequence of social taboo or an individual choice.

- V.J.

V.J. said...


Well, if the truth be told, As Karl Marx rightfully said, religious and cultural beliefs are the opium of the masses and the propoganda that having sexual needs and desires and expressing them is wrong is not only unnatural but according to Hindu Mythology blasphemy as well. After all the Yogic Literature is all about the divine unification of Shiva and Shakti, Yin and Yang, the integration of the Masculine and Feminine Energy as one.

So, women its time you look beyond the hypocritical cultural and social smokescreen and acknowledge your only human. Having needs and desires is not inhuman or immoral, its just how God made you as these desires are exhibited by all living things. There is nothing slutty about wanting to explore unchatered territories or forbidden activities like Reading Erotic literature, Watching Romantic movies, or even indulging in hedonistic acts. Moreover, be confident and true to the fact that your human.

Last Week, a friend of mine was asked by a cheeky friend that she and her boyfriend had sexual relations. Instead, of feeling embarassed or uncomfortable, my friend replied with great poise and confidence while looking that friend straight in the eye and said yes she did! And whats more she enjoyed! I was completely awestruck and the questioner too looked as though he had been slapped hard across the face.

But, retrospecting on the incident, I am extremely proud of my friend not because of what she said but rather than she was unafraid supremely confident and never looked more dignified inspite of giving a reply which most people would think as being vulgar and loose charactered.

The bottomline if you ask a guy is this, yes we don't like women competing with us when it comes to sexual and physical dominance but ask any guy and he would admire a girl who is unafraid to dare and speak her mind when it comes to taboo topics whether most women even fear to thread.

- V.J.