Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The War of the Snoods--part #3--A Woman's Work is Never Done

In part #2 I gave some facts about men that should be helpful in understanding their position on the "snood wars." In this posting I'd like to give some facts about women that might help in understanding the female position on the wars.

Fact number one: Women know their hair is an attractive feature. They should; they spend enough time making sure it is. There is the shampooing and the conditioning and the deep root treatments, and the sprays and the gels, and the curling irons and the flat irons and the blow dryers.There are the bows and clips and ribbons and bands that have to be chosen. There are the routine trims and the full haircuts. In short, hair is a lot of work for women. Some single women dream of the time to come when they will not have to go through all this rigmarole. On the third day of a three day yom tov they look with envy at their married friends.

Fact number two: women, for the most part, adjust to change better than men do. Multiple studies have shown that women deal with stress better than men, and change can be a type of stress. In some areas, women welcome and seek out change. Women do not wear the same clothes for five years running. They like trying out new styles.They like to periodically refresh the look of their homes. They like to travel and see new places. They generally have few problems in meeting and dealing with strangers. They don't mind trying out new activities. Change may be bothersome sometimes but in general, change is not frightening for women. They look at it as a new challenge.

Fact number three: women, for the most part, take their clothes very seriously. Criticize what I am wearing and you are criticizing who I am. They are far more conscious then men about physical image. This is not being shallow. Women realize that many a decision about suitability is made based on what is seen.

Fact number four: women value being comfortable, even more then men do. This may be because they have far fewer opportunities to get comfortable then men do. Wearing three-inch heels, pantyhose, a slew of undergarments, a three-piece outfit with long sleeves, and long hair and makeup in 90 degree weather does not lend itself to comfort. (And the comfort does not increase in 34 degree weather.) This lack of comfort is particularly acute in single women who are "put on display" until they get married.

Fact number five: women expect that marriage will bring great changes into their lives. Being a kallah is not the same as being a wife. For the most part, women expect that their husbands will change and evolve over the course of time that a couple is married. (I am not saying that women get married expecting to change their husbands--a recipe for marital disaster--but that they recognize that change is a natural process that takes place.) I have yet to hear a woman say "If he loses his hair it's time for a divorce."

Fact number six: women are generally the "designated" gift purchasers. They think about and then comparison shop to get just the right gift. Only after they have the gift, the "content" for a box, do they choose something to wrap it in. Yes, they like pretty wrapping paper and a nicely presented package, but they are more anxious to see what is inside the box.

Fact number seven: women are competitive with other women.......sometimes. They check out each other's outfits and each other's hair styles. They check out each other's choice of seminaries and majors in school. There are a few women who find glee in saying "my choice is nicer, better." They are not the majority. When women check out other women I believe they are taking "social" stock. Am I conforming correctly to the social group I want to be a part of? Am I like all the others? Will I fit in? Where this sometimes breaks down is in the "house" competition and the "children" competition. There some women want to be the ones that others imitate, they want to be the leaders not the followers. In all my years of marriage I have only met one woman who used her husband as a "tool" to compete with other women.

Fact number eight: women subscribe to the statement "a zoy vi meh betsach shloft min"--You sleep in your bed the way you make it. Or perhaps the saying "What you see is what you get." They make do the best they can with what they have; if they can attain more, fine. If not, "a bi gezunt." This does not mean that women don't have dreams, but first you deal with the here and now.

Fact number nine: women in Klal Yisroel hold down at least six "full time" jobs, if not more. First, they are wives. Next, they are mothers. Next, they are housekeepers. Next, they are personal shoppers. Next, they are community activists, with their volunteer work supporting a number of worthy tzedaka and chesed organizations. Have I mentioned that they also hold down full time "real" jobs outside of their homes? And when parents get elderly they are expected to take care of them, and sometimes their in-laws as well. And then there is being a grandmother.

As with men, there are many more "facts" about women, but enough are presented here to get some background that may be helpful in understanding the "snood wars."

In the next post I'm going to try and connect the first three posts so you can see how what has been presented contributes to the "snood wars."

No comments: