Women! Why can’t they learn to behave themselves?
If it sounds like a complaint from another age, it is – but it’s from our age too, Shukan Josei (Feb 12) finds. The magazine polls 500 men aged 30 to 89, asking them, “What is it about women that turns you off?” The answers come thick and fast.
A sampling: they don’t act their age; they’re subject to violent mood swings; they’re bad drivers; they’re easy dupes of nonsense like fortune-telling and spiritualism; their train manners are atrocious.
Failure to act their age is the top complaint. Men accept aging with such grace (as we all know!) – why can’t women? “A woman past a certain age in a miniskirt really gets on my nerves,” grumbles a 48-year-old male teacher.
“It’s laughable,” concurs a 55-year-old interior designer, “the way aging women cling to their past glory – if any – by decking themselves out in the hopelessly passé fashions of their youth.”
The harassed corporate slave, home after a hard day, yearning for a bit of comfort and relaxation and finding instead his wife in a bad mood is a scenario as old as comedy, which is very old indeed. “What’s she angry about? I have no idea,” laments a 44-year-old in the publishing business. “How tired it all makes me feel!”
Male drivers, especially professionals who spend their working lives behind the wheel, seem to dread another stock cliche – the woman driver. “They don’t know what it means to yield,” sighs a 58-year-old trucker.
Go to a family restaurant on a weekday lunch break and watch a “Cold War” break out between two characteristic groups of diners – salarymen and housewives. “Whenever we go out for lunch,” says a 43-year-old in finance, “there’s bound to be a party of housewives at the next table. They’re in public, and yet they seem to think they’re at home.” A 55-year-old in the transport business agrees: “I don’t like to start a fuss by telling them off, so I just put up with their racket.”
Trains – nobody suggests in so many words making them off-limits to women, but some men clearly wish that would happen. The way they make a beeline for empty seats as though they enjoyed a special entitlement is one grievance; the way they glare at you as though every man were a potential molester is another. “I want to shout at them, ‘I’m innocent!’” says a 59-year-old security guard, “but I’m a coward. I make a point of clutching the overhead straps with both hands.”
No. 10 on Shukan Josei’s list of top 10 alleged female failings is a strange one: “They don’t seem to care how others see them.”
They go out with no makeup, they wear shapeless T-shirts, they get fat – “and when you point it out to them,” huffs a 35-year-old in finance, “they say, ‘What difference does it make at my age?’ I can’t help thinking to myself, ‘Is this what happens to all those cute girls out there?’ It’s depressing.”
Why is it strange? Because, as the alert reader will have noticed, it’s the exact reversal of complaint No. 1.