Saturday, March 10

The Perfect Woman

So since it was International Women's Day this week and I talked about everyone being human I got thinking about my own perceptions of others, particularly women.

A particular female friend keeps commenting about how I don't really know how to treat women correctly; probably because I had no sisters. Of course, I always vehemently disagreed with this assertion (I mean hey, I treat girls just as badly as I do the guys). But if I'm pressed on this issue I would have to admit that, yes, I do discriminate against women; but possibly not in the way my dear friend was thinking.

It's fair to say that I haven't grown up around women. I went to a boys' school till GCSEs and it's not like Imperial is famous for its boy to girl ratio. I didn't have any female cousins in the UK till recently either. Any girls I know were either of another generation or just friends. I guess at one point most of what I had assumed about women was, well, kinda made up. I had to presume certain things, but unlike some who automatically choose to believe the worst about people they don't know, for some reason I went the other way.

So for me, women were perfect beings; flawless and incapable of doing anything wrong. They would always be sensible, intelligent, understanding and (of course) beautiful; however absurd it sounds they were all pretty much goddesses in my eyes. It's rooted in the typical Asian Mummy's Boy Syndrome or something. Well, probably anyway.

Yes, it's an irrational stance. Even more so seeing as how I actually know real live women now and have seen them to be brilliantly normal, warts and all. The trouble is that I still presume any I don't personally know to be perfect and, possibly worse still, I'll also always expect them to be.

Some of you might already see the problem here. You see, the truth is that women are not perfect. Or rather, they're human and so will act as such. They're not all sensible, intelligent or understanding, with some individuals not even coming close.

This has two implications in how I interact with the opposite sex. Firstly, since they're assumed to be the mature, sensible, confident and self-assured party, I tend not to be. In such situations of disparity, liberties may be taken and sensitivities discarded with. Secondly, as is always the case with unwarranted and unfair expectation, it's all a bit, well, disappointing when they inevitably turn out not to be as perfect as I believed them to be.

Of course, putting women on such a tall pedestal is only an indication of my blatant ignorance and nothing else. But even after recognising this I don't see my behaviour changing any time soon; this expectation just seems to be too deeply ingrained in me. And although some may say that it's better to think the best of someone than the worst I don't think this holds when the bar is set unfairly high, especially when one isn't able to handle the consequences when it's more reasonably fallen short of.