Sometimes I catch myself imagining a hypothetical man who describes the woman of your dreams:
“She has to work and study hard, have an inbox always crowded with emails. Her feet must have calluses and blisters because she walks with very high heels, back and forth. She should be independent and do what she wants with her own salary: buy an expensive bag, donate to a social project, travel by herself to Eastern Europe. She needs to be a good driver and to do her own taxes. Cooking? No need! There’s a a certain charm to even mistake the rice. She doesn’t need to be in shape, because she doesn’t have time to do all that she does and still workout. But above all: she has to be sure of herself and doesn’t want to depend on me or anyone else. ”
Yeah. I haven’t heard this speech from any man. Not even part of it. Maybe that’s why I’m single here, still fighting.
The fact is that I’ve been thinking about it. In the amazing dissonance between the way that us, girls and young women were raised and the expectation of most boys, young men, men and old men.
What our parents expect of us? What we expect from us? And what do they expect from us?
We are the generation that was created to win the world. Encouraged to study, work, travel and above all, build our independence. The few cakes I ever made never made my mother’s eyes shine like my A grades at school. The days when I’ve dressed flawlessly never stamped a proud smile in my father’s face as he gave me when I’ve got my PhD. When I decided to do a short course of gastronomy my parents thought it was cool. But when I decided to do a short course in French language and civilization at the Sorbonne they inflated their chest like pigeons.
We never had sewing classes. Never learned to cook a stew. No one asked us to change a cousin’s diaper. No one explained to us the difference between whitener and bleach. Just as it happened with the boys of our generation. But they taught us sports. We did learn a second language. Learned to drive. Learned how to build a good resume. To work without fear and to invest our money. Just as it happened with the boys of our generation.
But, listen, did someone remember to warn those boys that we would be like this? That we would fight for the same jobs with them? That we would prefer to dine out rather than cook dinner? That we would like beer, whiskey, football and UFC? That we wouldn’t want to account for what we do? That we would be willing to find happiness in freedom and we dread submission?
And then, us, with our crumpled shirt at the end of the day, our heavy purse, cell phone beeping with 26 new emails, girlfriends waiting for dinner, car unwashed, 4 meetings scheduled for tomorrow, ask ourselves “what guy on earth will want to be with me?”.
“Maybe if I was more delicate … didn’t curse that much. Didn’t have subordinates. Didn’t drive alone at night without fear. Maybe if I appeared fragile. Maybe if I said that I do not mind washing his underwear. Maybe … ” But no. These is not who we are. We want a companion, side by side, as equals. Many of us dream of children. But not only them. We want to make a risotto. But we may want to die if we our partner gives us a blender for our birthday. We want to tell you how our day was. But we will not allow anyone to question our routine.
The fact is, who was educated to want us? Which man is safe enough to love a woman who flies? Who is willing to make us want to land on your side at the end of the day? Who understands that lying on his chest is our way of cuddling? And that sometimes we will need your lap and sometimes we just want company for a wine? That we are the generation of the partnership and not of dependence?
And I’m not here on a tirade, blaming men. No. The fault is not exactly theirs. It’s from the society as a whole. From the way we were raised. The image that the world has of woman. From the parents who raise daughters to the world, but desire brides to live built in family. In the end we are nothing like the collective unconscious that the world expects from a woman. And best of all: we neither want to be like that. Let it be clear, we’re not going backwards. So it’s that old mentality that needs to move forward. We’ve opened ourselves to win the world. Now the world has to turn around to win us back.