By Lavinia Plonka
If you take a look at the animal kingdom, you’ll notice some things that distinguish almost all of them from the human species. The males and females are often equal partners in the hunt. You don’t see a female lioness, or a female domestic cat for that matter, sitting back and saying to her male companion, “Oh dear, you are so much bigger and stronger, would you please go catch that rabbit for me?” In fact, in some species, the female is larger. Usually the male of the species puts on outrageous displays of color to try to impress the often indifferent female, who sometimes cold-heartedly dispatches her lover after he has serviced her.
And while mammals have a system that allows the alpha male to choose his girlfriends, you don’t find any King Bees, or Ant Kings. It’s all about the Queen and her power over the eggs.
Somewhere between ants and gorillas, females started getting smaller. Maybe over the millennia females thought it was a clever idea to hang out at home and take care of the kids while the guys went off and did the hunting. Maybe in their quests for dominance, the alpha males kept getting bigger while the girls coolly sat and waited for the victor to come sweep them off their feet. There are species of monkeys where the females battle for alpha status (and often win) even though they are smaller than the male monkeys.
There have been entire books written on the differences between men and women. New Age parents have been distressed to see their sheltered one-year-old boy grab a stick and pretend he has a gun, even though they are sure he’s never seen one. Modern mothers tear their hair out at their baby daughter’s obsession with Disney princesses and the color pink. Is gender equality just a dream? Are we victims of our DNA? Or are we truly entering a New Age where our behaviors blur into a rainbow of choices from women on the battlefield to men wearing skirts to work? (And not just in Asheville).
Many “goddess” fans wax nostalgic about an era in the dim mists of time when women were in charge. Men were blissfully unaware of their role in reproduction, and relied on the Great Mother and the largess she dispensed. As men began to understand paternity, and simultaneously began to flex their already superior gorilla muscles, we entered the dreaded patriarchal age where women, with few exceptions in the last three thousand years, have been kept in their place thanks to brute force.
As we enter the “dawning of the Age of Aquarius”, during which, pundits tell us, gender equality will empower all of us to be whoever we want to be and do whatever we want to do, I’d like to offer a poignant and completely biased farewell to some gender specific behaviors that I’ve loved and hated through the years. Centuries from now, as the men busy themselves applying make-up before the big game (oh wait, I think some of them do that already, they just call it war paint), we will look back on these ancient male/female behaviors and smile tolerantly at our primitive ancestors.
1) Can spend ½ hour staring into the refrigerator and not find the peanut butter.
2) Will delay repairing the faucet/hanging the picture/painting the living room until he sees the female actually begin the job. Then he will either take over (she hopes) or stand and micro manage.
3) Spend endless hours obsessing about their hair or lack of it.
4) Lust for a John Deere riding mower.
5) Return from shopping for milk with three shopping bags of cookies and meat, and no milk.
6) Turn dishwashing into an odious three-hour project that demands a reward.
1) Will never learn that constantly asking, “So when are you planning to fix the crack in the ceiling?” doesn’t yield results.
2) Need to match the sheets and the pillowcases.
3) Talk baby talk to their pets.
4) Spend endless hours obsessing about their hair or lack of it.
5) Pull out pictures of their grandchildren/dogs/flower gardens at the slightest provocation.
6) Tilt their heads to the side and smile when intimidated.
7) Can’t help but screech, “Oh my God, you’re kidding me!” at any surprising news.
Hold on a second. I just got off the phone with a male friend of mine who screeched, “Oh my God, you’re kidding me!” when I told him some news. And then I passed my neighbor blissfully sipping her Starbucks as she mowed her field on her John Deere. I went to prepare lunch and I’ll be damned if I couldn’t find the mayonnaise. And what’s this? The dishes are done?
Contemporary research shows that we are actually altering our genetic structure during our lifetimes.
Experience imprints itself somehow, so that our DNA carries the new information forward. While I wasn’t paying attention, the gender gap closed a bit more. Who knows, maybe by the time my husband and I reach our 80’s, he’ll be fussing over the flower arrangements while I try to postpone taking out the garbage …
When not battling for alpha status with her new tom cat Mr. Lucky, Lavinia uses the study of body language and the elegant Feldenkrais Method to help others go beyond their perceived limitations. Learn more at LaviniaPlonka.com Want more CosmiComedy? Visit CosmiComedy.com.