Thanks to Harpyness reader Meghan L. for alerting me to yet another Crap Article From A Dude, “All I want for Christmas is to know what she really means” by Vinay Menon, courtesy of the Toronto Star. It’s less overtly douche-y than last week’s super-creepy misogynist musings from Slate, but it’s still a groaner. Meghan described it thusly: The author has kindly translated common lady-statements (obviously filled with hidden lady-meaning) into words that the men in our lives will understand.
It’s the same tired old stereotype about women being so different from men that any reasonable gent cannot possibly be expected to understand the silly things that come out of their mouths. It’s not the most pernicious sexist stereotype out there, but it’s still offensive because it perpetuates the idea that women are the Other, and whatever they say is some kind of double-speak that doesn’t need to be taken seriously.
But Menon can’t even milk this feeble conceit for laughs. His column is so crashingly boring and strangely unfunny that it winds up being more of a headscratcher, which takes some of the sting out of the inherently chauvinist conceit:
Quote No. 1: “Honey, have you seen the Scotch tape?”
What She Really Means: “Could you please go to Shoppers Drug Mart?”
Quote No. 2: “Let’s not waste money on stuff neither of us need!”
What She Really Means: “All I really want is for you to organize the garage!”
Quote No. 3: “Your mother has kindly offered to make all the sides for dinner.”
What She Really Means: “Why does your mother hate my cooking?”
[EYEROLL] There’s seven more of those quotes…and they only get duller and dumber.To be fair, I have seen the occasional piece by women that claims to decode “What He Really Means”—they’re a staple of ladymags and they tend to be equally shitty in terms of reinforcing stereotypes. In Cosmo, men’s hidden meaning is usually: “I wish you’d blow me more and quit talking about your feelings” and in, say, Redbook or O the meaning is usually: “I wish you’d let me relax instead of nagging about helping with the kids.” Not helpful. If women are ever going to be treated respectfully as equals, we need to get rid of the idea that we’re so inherently different that what we say can’t be trusted.