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  • Ekta Kumar

Two Halves, That Don't Always Fit

Men are fascinating creatures. At the risk of stereotyping, perhaps we can call them an interesting study of contrasts. Closed, yet intensely vulnerable; intelligent and yet incredibly stupid; strong and also weak; all at once. If I were to objectively analyse my interest in men, I think a lot of it is driven by our differences. It is much easier for me to understand women. With men, I am constantly failing.

Last afternoon I was reading, or trying to read rather, a series of scientific papers that supposedly analysed the two sexes on various parameters – biological, neurological, psychological, neurochemical, anatomical, behavioural etc etc. It seems fairly simple intuitively, but when put down by experts in writing, with theories, experiments and analysis, it can get extremely complex. I tried, but after googling ‘monoaminergic system’, I gave up.

We are similar, men and women – have two eyes, a set of kidneys, an imagination, and nails that tend to chip. Yet, too much is apart. Neural pathways take separate routes, fat sits differently, reactions are ingrained, bodily secretions vary, throw in genes, evolution, environment, start of agriculture, the end of burning bras, who knows what else, but la voila, suddenly we are incomprehensible to each other. And then we begin to build walls.

The past few days my inbox has been cluttered with messages building up towards Women’s Day. The whole concept of a day dedicated to women started at some conference about a hundred years ago, to draw attention to equal rights. Since then, it has grown into a multi headed monster, that screams ‘discount on spas’, ‘free drinks’, and a plethora of awards and ceremonies. Hawk eyed public relation consultants are on an overdrive for quotes, and enthusiastic HR teams are pushing their women employees forward to claim their stories and their glory. The mood is celebratory, and sometimes contemplative, but also somewhat incomplete.

As much as I love the feminine energy, the secrets whispered in girl groups, the comfort of shared struggles, and also the ‘likes’ and loving each other, I do feel we leave the men out, and not just on this particular day. There is tokenism, one polite man on a panel discussion, blinking gif flowers forwarded by sweet considerate male friends, and jokes about the invisible Men’s Day, but that’s about it. After it is over, we go back to building walls - googling ‘monoaminergic system’ when we are in the mood, and ranting when we are not, or laughing at sexist jokes (yes, women do it too), and complaining in silence.

Our lives are hopelessly intertwined, but also painfully separate. The two halves are distinct. We would all be a little happier if we understood each other more. But how do we get to recognise, or appreciate or know each other better – as colleagues, as brothers, as lovers, and even as friends, supposedly the most uncomplicated of them all.

The answer will not come from complicated scientific research, and it won’t come from staring at Mars and Venus either. And there also lurks the possibility that there is no answer at all. Nothing that describes the difference between the two sexes, and no explanation that tells us why we do what we do. Perhaps then, not knowing is okay too…as long as we try.

Effort signifies intent. It means we have chosen a direction. To truly empower ourselves, both halves must come together, even if they don’t fit. We don’t always need rational answers, or the perfect explanation to know the opposite sex, and everything that lies between the two ends… just attempting to understand is sometimes enough for a bigger, sweeter world.

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”

― Albert Einstein

Pictures - Courtesy - Freepix, Pixabay

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