My friend has been struck by an insanity induced by the presence of children. She cries when she sees toddlers hugging their parents, oblivious to the fact that the parent is only just restraining themselves from squeezing the living daylights out of the brat who, only moments ago, stopped crying after three days straight. She takes photos of adults being kissed by babies — this is not a joke — and posts them online. She’s talked about baby names, but at last check Spartacus was at the top of the list, so that’s not going well.
My friend has fallen victim to that madness that comes over women in their late 30s who meant to have children but haven’t managed to find the right man, or the right mistake, or the right moment in their career to take maternity leave.
Balancing ambition and ovaries: just one of the many downsides to being born without a doodle. Here’s another one. The monthly gentle suggestion that maybe what you’re saying is a little irrational because maybe, you know, it’s that time again. Nice work. That’s a sure-fire way to induce irrational anger. Then, as a special treat for everyone, all women who live or work together start making like an Apple device and syncing. Only, we’re not syncing our way into the Apple cloud. We’re pretty much syncing ourselves and everyone around us down into the Christian opposite. Thanks a lot, Eve. I hope that was at least a candied apple you sold us out for.
We girls learn about the curse early. Try climbing a tree in a dress. The only boys who know what I’m talking about come from the Pacific Islands and medieval Scotland. After the tree phase it briefly becomes a wonderful thing to be a girl. There’s mum’s perfumes, your friend’s makeup and your own first bra. By 20, you hate those boob braces.
Think that’s it? Oh no. Blow-drying, bikini-waxing, Botox, breastfeeding. And those are just the words starting with ‘b’. Crying like a little girl, driving like a woman, nagging like a fishwife. Even the English language picks on us.
Now, what you’re reading is a well-disguised argument for paying women at least the same as men. At least! Right now, guys earn more across the board, just because they’re guys. Maybe it’s because they’re pushier in pay negotiations, or historically the breadwinners, or men in a man’s world. Rubbish. Women deserve to be paid equal because we are men’s equals. But we’re more extraordinary because we pull that off while privately coping with being a woman. You know those gender signs where boys get the circle with the arrow pointing out one side and girls get the circle with the plus sign dangling off the bottom? That plus sign stands for plus more pay.
Having said that, given that a plus is the international sign for positive, it’s possible that whoever dished out the gender signs just had an ironic sense of humour.
About Heather du Plessis-Allan
Heather is a Jafa who’s called Wellington home for seven years and counitng. The wind still drives her crazy, but the bucket fountain still makes her smile. She’s running around Oriental Bay and learning to surf Lyall Bay. Her day job is reporting for TVNZ’s Seven Sharp.
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