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Monday, July 16, 2007

I'm not a feminist, but...

... men are definitely weird creatures. The more of them I see, the more I feel the urge to burn my protective sea-shells and throw myself under a sea-horse in protest. Emiline and Cecilia had the right idea - the only way you'll get a man's undivided attention is to either show up naked and bring beer, or create a scene in public. Or wear a Wayne Grinsky mask, but the latter only works in North American countries.
We females, contrary to male expectation, do not walk around in the nude carrying six-packs for our partner hominids, nor do we actually LIKE to create a scene in public, especially on a bad hair day, or when we've got a cold, or when we have an Ugly day, or when it's a birthday. Or when we're wearing the wrong shoes. Or have mis-matching accessories. Or are not wearing enough accessories.
So, how to get a man's undivided attention without exposing ourselves or leaping under public transport, is a problem that bugs every woman.
Let's take some case studies.
Many years ago, my mum one night woke up, wondering whether my feet were cold (*this was before I became a mermaid). She nudged my dad. "Are her feet cold?"
"I think there are two of them out there."
"Two what?"
"Two men."
With that, he rolled over and went to sleep.
A classic case of divided attention. Mum wanted to wake him up with a spurious question about my welfare, probably at 3 am, which is when she inevitably wakes up and hears "noises". And Dad wanted to sleep before going back to work the next morning. How selfish!

Talking of mum and noises... my late uncle Leo used to live with us. Every night he would come back from the theatre (he worked the West End stage scene) about 1pm. He would creep in quiet as a mouse, but mum would inevitably wake up. Every single night for eight years, she would lean over the balcony and say: "Is that you?"
Finally, he snapped. One night, she asked the question, and he replied: "No, it's a burglar and I'm stealing your marmite". I thought that was hilarious, but a bloody battle ensued, during which the offending sandwich spread bought the worst of it, along with the kitchen wall.

I've digressed. Back to my original lament. This classic case of "divided attention" has continued to bug me. Once I was on a date with a nice young man. Might have been Andrew the First. Andrew I and I were having a meal, and I had dressed up especially for the occasion. As it was my birthday, I thought that was a reasonable excuse to make an effort beyond ironing my jeans. But before I'd even got my coat off, Andrew I gave me a perfunctory glance up and down, said: "You look nice", and promptly walked over to the bar, where Wigan were playing Arsenal in a friendly. As he knows less about football than I do, and supported neither team, I felt this was an affront to the birthday girl. We stayed there all evening, the table reservation forgotten, while I munched on a celebratory bowl of onion rings.

Things have gotten worse the older I get. In the old newsroom, while trying to get my former news editor to pay attention regarding this potentially legal minefield of a story I was writing,I noticed that he was evidently on another planet from the rest of us. To us, it was one hour to press deadline. In desperation, I shouted out: "SEX". Immediately he turned his undivided attention to me, but before I could go over the story, he leant over, and whispered: "Do you think Holly is wearing suspenders?"

Then there's the late-night phone call. Girls who call boyfriends after 10 - beware. They are either watching footy highlights, or there's a Steven Segal film on. I once phoned my bloke about a problem at work, but found him distant and distracted. So I started to make stuff up to see if he was listening.

"It would not have been too bad, apart from the alien invasion."
"Oh yes, dear"
"They made the men dress up in gimp costumes and whip themselves with page proofs"

"Are you actually paying attention to me"
"Pink. Definitely the pink. Or maybe red."

Turns out he was watching snooker championship highlights.... On his BLACK AND WHITE TELEVISION.

So I've got used to the fact that there's not much one can do to get a man's undivided attention. I raised this fact this weekend with dad and one of his male friends. "So all women need to do is show up naked and bring beer, eh?" I said.
Frank thought about it.
"Nah, women should just show up naked - we'll supply the beer."


john.g. said...

It's Wayne Gretsky, and I'll supply the beer!

Gorilla Bananas said...

Taking off your clothes is a silly idea. He won't be interested in what you're saying if you're naked. Try throwing a coconut at the back of his head. That's what a female gorilla would do.

Fat Sparrow said...

"So, how to get a man's undivided attention without exposing ourselves or leaping under public transport, is a problem that bugs every woman."

Grabbing their nads and squeezing works fairly well, but people will give you funny looks if you do it in public.

Geoff!!! said...

Wayne Gretzky, not Grinsky - FYI he is simply known as the great one. As in the greatest hockey player ever. Every Canadian knows who he is, so what's your excuse?

Mermaid of Moorgate said...

John and Geoff - WHATEVERRRR... I'm a female. I've only just about worked out who the Liverpool Football team are.

GB - I think you are right. The last time I took my clothes off in front of a guy to get his attention, he laughed so hard his pacemaker gave out. Coconuts are not easy to come by in London, but bricks are very handy...

Fat Sparrow - I may try that, but does a baseball bat feature in your attention-grabbing antics?

LucyBgood said...

lol! hitting men with hard & heavy objects seems to be an obsession with u - r u still wondering why u r single? xx

electro-kevin said...

Nicely written, MoM.

Our love's dulcet tones eventually become ambient, rather like the sound of passing traffic. In a funny way it's sorely missed when absent.

old fart (TARF) said...

I have been told that I tend to always shout on the bolg. Using cap letters but as I am in need of glasses before I could see if someone is naked with or without the beer.

I thought I should use caps., but being completely chastised by the mermaid, I will forgo my sight and use the little letters instead.

Old Tarf said...

Old Fishermen never dye their grey hair. I may get a hearing aid so I can turn it OFF.

Mermaid of Moorgate said...

Thanks for that Old Tarf.

Electro Kevin - really! Love is more than a random noise in the background as the woman talks incessantly. It's also the sound of the football, farting and the beer can opening

Mermaid of Moorgate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nocturnal said...

Naked and sporting a pint is nice, but I much prefer a sundress, baseball cap with a ponytail pulled through the back, sunglasses and lace sandals.

Catches an eye every single time.