There are double standards and there are Double Standards. (I suppose there are also DOUBLE STANDARDS, but I don’t feel like thinking that hard right now.) I’m just talking about the small things that indicate we have separate rules for men and women. These are not the equal-pay-for-equal-work issues. These are the things that, in the middle of an attack by an alien race from another galaxy, would not even cross our minds. But absent such an attack, they are at least curiosities. Here’s one.
It’s almost Father’s Day. Flyers and radio ads are again flooding our senses, trying to convince us that what men really want is a new power tool. You see, we’ve needed a circular saw for almost a year now, but the lumber remains uncut because we just didn’t think, hey, I need a saw, I don’t have one, and maybe I should go to the hardware store and buy one. Instead we thought, I’ll just wait until next June and ask for it for Father’s Day. On the other hand, I could really use a new 104-piece socket set. (The set I have now has only 87 pieces. Eddie next door got a 95-piece set for his birthday last month and he’s been rubbing it in ever since.) And pliers! I’d love some new pliers. And you know, that cordless drill is fine, but the battery is dead after an hour. Those new ones hold a charge for up to three hours!
It was only a few weeks ago that we celebrated Mother’s Day. The special gifts for that special Mom included a day at the spa, flowers, scented candles, books, cameras, watches, and jewelry. Men were reminded — by sheer omission — that giving their wives food processors or kitchen towels could result in sudden and severe bodily harm. But somehow, it’s all right to give a man a leaf blower, a belt sander, or a hedge trimmer. (“You’re the greatest, Dad. Here’s a new lawnmower. Now go cut the grass.”)
I don’t know when things changed, or how. At one time, men got a new tie for Father’s Day. If they were extra good, they got two new ties. Now we get tools. This is probably just my suspicious nature, but I think we’ve been tricked. We would never dare expect our wives to polish the floors on Mother’s Day. Yet we tear the gift wrap off the new hand tool and rush outside to find some hard-to-reach bolts we can tighten.
The aliens are obviously smarter. They get to fly around to other galaxies in new spaceships, shooting ray guns and abducting people. Now that’s what I call an advanced civilization. Most important, there’s no double standard: female aliens are an integral part of these missions, and often lead them. We could be attacked and enslaved tomorrow, transformed into pathetic drones forced to carry out the will of hideous space creatures. Yet here we sit, listening to the radio and reading our Father’s Day flyers.
I wonder how long the charge lasts on those ray guns.