I am so tired of having work to do – and being made to rewrite an entire story by my boss (more on that later) – that I’ve decided to continue blogging about my weekend before it slips away. Because it was such a heady contrast to the slug weekend before that, I feel obliged to record it. No matter if nobody feels obliged to read about it. Though I know SOME people will. So there.
So on Saturday, we were slugs and then had to go to V’s boss’s house for a farewell party. The main crowd here is Malaysian Indian who I am constantly surprised are very different from Indian Indians. In the sense that they dress very modern but generally are conservative. Or maybe this whole crowd is just older. But the women – some of whom had grown children – were wary of the safety of a girls’ night out and the most exciting thing that happened to them seemed to be a drunk man coming up to their table when they last went out and chose to sit at a separate table from their husbands. Sometimes, I don’t know where to look when these conversations happen. Also, when conversations about cooking happen. Or children. Or.
Ok I should just go hang out with single women.
Then on Sunday, I was trying to be very independent and make plans to meet some friend of my cousins while V went for a movie with his friends but somehow I got steamrolled into trying to club them both together and ended up ditching the girl to go for the movie with V and his friends. (Movie review in side bar).
And then we went to Grappas where I consumed the most enormous lunch ever. So much for tummy flatness but anyway I’m PMSing and so deserve desert. The conversation steered towards women who don’t go dutch, or rather, as V’s friend A claimed the tendency of Asian women in Hong Kong not to go dutch.
Now, despite my affection towards Simone de Beauvoir and all her doings (except pimping for Sartre), my attitude towards this might differ slightly from conventional feminist wisdom. My thoughts are:
1) Women generally have a raw deal in life. We have to contend with sitting on patch of blood and accompanying cramps every month, the pressure of bearing children if the couple desires them and therefore nine months of lugging around heavy burden, leaky albeit bigger breasts and other weird physiologically changes, as well as PMS bloating, ovulation cramps etc. Even if you don’t want children you can’t avoid ovulation and period. I don’t think guys have an equivalent. Shaving does not count. We shave too. Or wax – infinitely more painful (refer to Brazilian reference in last post).
2) Women generally prep themselves more for dates and look better. Ok now a lot of men prep themselves too but it still isn’t that much better. And all these men who want women to go dutch are not the ones who are going to accept sloppy, hairy, non-pedicured women. Also, it’s my opinion and the opinion of most men too, that women end up being more attractive.
3) In Hong Kong specifically, a lot of the time the men are a lot older and worse looking than the women they are dating. So really, they must remember that there’s no such thing as a free lunch and the women with them are not blind nor are the men very interesting personality-wise to compensate for the lack of looks. On the flip side, even if the women have no personality they at least look good (refer to point 2).
4) As touched upon in point 3, the men that hit on you in bars tend towards offensive sleazy conversation (sample – “Korean women are so sexual” to a Korean woman) or general lameness. Thus, they must compensate in some way for cutting in on the stimulating conversation involved in a girl’s night out. Because while women are quite happy to be talking to each other, men always seem to find US more interesting than themselves and so shouldn’t they have to make for that gap, in say, cash-fuelled alcohol?
However, when I state point 1) I always get looked at as if I’m crazy which means I rarely get to the other points. Actually, I think point 1) is the most valid. Now, de Beauvoir said in The Second Sex that women shouldn’t succumb to the temptation of marriages of convenience because it undoes all the good of the feminist movement but I don’t think she said anything about making men pay for inequality in situation – biologically, socially (hair removal and make-up) and general intelligence and amusing-company-providence.
And just because someone paid for my drink, I don’t feel obliged to sleep with them because really, their company and conversation is generally not compensated by 60 ml of whiskey or even 180 ml. When I thought about it, I realised that when I really enjoyed a man’s company I actually spontaneously offer to pay – because then he need not be paying me for the honour of my company given that his was as good – but generally they refuse and it’s really hard for me to aggressively turn down a freebie.
The only regret I have is telling the three men at the table all this because then they might really stop paying for drinks thereby undoing all the good that we semi-feminists (I use this term not because I am coy about calling myself a feminist or want to disown that branding but because I feel that many feminists might disown me) have done in getting our nights out financed by men while refusing to be their slaves.