Wednesday, September 12

Cars vs Boobies

Sensationalist titles aside, I should make it clear that this post is not about running women over with your pick-up truck (no matter how much you might think that they deserve it). There is a serious point about inequality here somewhere. But it's probably best that I start from the beginning anyway.

So there we were, a mixed group having a friendly spot of dinner, with some of us not quite knowing each other that well yet. In some way or another the topic of cars came up - specifically what we each drove. For an innocent joke, someone claimed that I drove a Porsche, while he himself claimed that he drove a Ferrari.

We must have been pretty convincing because all of a sudden we had become very popular with those at the table who happened to have been blessed with a pair of X chromosomes. Now don't get me wrong: we didn't get any offers of marriage or anything else, but there was a definite increase in interest, at the very least passively - we had both become funny all of a sudden, and what we did, when we bought our cars and how many children we wanted all became points of interest. Well, okay, perhaps not that last one.

To be fair on the company at the time, this wasn't a particularly unique reaction on their part. In fact, I would guess that it happens a lot and not just when the trigger happens to be a fancy marque. As a man, if you flash an expensive watch or phone, dress to impress, even wear some expensive shoes, bizarrely enough you're sure to get more attention from the opposite sex.

I'm sure some of the female persuasion reading the above would see no problem so far. And that's okay, because it's normal and acceptable for a woman to react in this way (apparently - this was an observation of the girls at the table, not mine). What they didn't agree with (surprisingly enough) was my pointing out how hypocritical they were all being.

I did this by simply asking whether or not it was okay for a (hypothetical) man to be (hypothetically) impressed by a woman's (hypothetical) bra size. I took the verbal and almost violent reaction as a resounding "no", and came to the conclusion that I might have been better off picking a less blatant example to make my point.

But the point itself still stands. Why is it okay or at least acceptable for a woman to be impressed by a man's car/house/suit/bank balance, but not for a man to be impressed by the (hypothetical) size of a woman's assets/pins/behind? And further, why is it okay for the former to express this vocally but not the latter?

Neither reflect the true personality of the owner; not outside of the respective stereotypes anyway. Both acts, however complimentary, are equally shallow, equally irrelevant and equally offensive - I know I was dismayed at the change of behaviour toward me once people were told that I drove a fancy German sports car. I'm still kinda struggling with it, in fact. Did they really only find me funny because they thought that they were going to get a lift home with the top down?

There is a clear double standard here. Both triggers of appreciation are terribly wrong and inappropriate, yet only one happens to be accepted as being offensive. What's up with that? And even if we took the position that this kind of behaviour is acceptable (whatever the details), frankly I'm glad I drive a Suzuki. At least then I'll know for sure that a girl will like me for who I really am.