The Peculiar Obligations of Women

Why isn’t The Practical Woman’s Guide called the Practical Person’s Guide? Men have similar needs. But women – and this is, of course, an incredibly gross, perhaps even politically incorrect generalization – have a particular sense of obligation that seems to make it more difficult for them to just go do what they want.

Witness this startling example from rocker Annie Lennox in Would I Lie to You. It’s a fantastically fierce song, delivered with maximum attitude, about how she’s going to walk out the door on her lousy boyfriend. But catch the lyrics: 

My friends know what’s in store

I won’t be here anymore

Pack my bags, clean the floor 

Watch me walking, walking out the door.

Did you notice the part about cleaning the floor? Wow! Even in the midst of all that moxie, she wants to make sure she tidies up before she’s off. I find it hard to imagine a male rocker singing that line, letting alone having the thought occur to him. Don’t get me wrong, I have great affection for men. But I think women bear a different kind of burden.

And so The Guide is for those of us who feel compelled to juggle responsibilities, keep the standards up, and seek the unachievable perfection of life called Balance. Feel free to pass the wisdom on to the lovely men in your lives. But this, ladies, is for you.

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