When people ask me ‘is your husband home?’ (or variations on that theme), I correct them in the same irritating way I’ll hiss ‘Ms’ if asked whether I’m a ‘Miss or Mrs’. My partner and I aren’t married, and I used to think my initial burst of frustration when people asked for my ‘husband’ was because I didn’t like the assumption that all couples have to get married at some point. It’s not really that, though: what’s frustrating is how often I am asked – or expected – to defer to my male partner. As if he’s the CEO in our relationship, and I am merely his secretary.
Last week I watched an hour-long YouTube video of a man playing a game called ‘Super Seducer’, because I am ever keen to unravel the mystery of men. What ARE men, exactly? If I believe the creator of ‘Super Seducer’, the answer is that they are absolute twats.
The best date you could take me on wouldn’t be the most expensive. In fact, the worst date I’ve ever been on was the one where the guy was most obsessed with money – buying expensive wine and ordering it loudly so that I (and everyone on the tables nearby) would hear and be impressed with how fat his wallet was. And if I were looking for the perfect partner, ideally I’d want to find one with exactly the same income as me: matched to the penny, to avoid causing fights. Because it is never ‘only money’ – it is so much more than that.
If you could put one thing from the world into ‘Room 101’, banishing it forever from the planet, what would you choose and why? There’s plenty I’d be tempted to go for, I am a person who gets angry about a lot of things: plastic cups, pear cider (it’s NOT FUCKING CIDER), or men on Twitter explaining my own bra to me. And that’s before you even get started on the important bits like war, poverty, and every political ad that’s ever been shown on Facebook. But there’s one particular concept that seems ready to disappear: chivalry. Chivalry is on the way out, and I won’t be sorry to see it go.
It’s odd for someone like me, who has been saying for a long time that feminism won’t harm men, to have to explain that feminism means some men might have to be paid less in the future. But that’s exactly what I’m going to say, and what’s more I need to point out that it doesn’t actually mean you will have ‘less’ than women. Let’s talk about the BBC, Birmingham council, and Tesco: all places which have been subject to criticism over unequal pay.