Ponder this. Two Russians are walking down a street in Moscow. One is the father of the other’s son. My question: how are they related?
Now, to give you time to think it through a little, I’ll fill this paragraph with superfluous details about the crisp winter air on that particular Moscow day, and the well-cut black trenchcoats that they were both wearing.
Got the answer? Well it’s rather simple really – they’re married, and are the mother and father of the son. Now I’ll bet the majority of you didn’t even begin to contemplate that one was female. Why? Do we think of Russia as a vast expanse of snow inhabited only by blokes? Of course not. Rasputin’s playboy reputation would be in tatters if we discovered he actually played with boys.
So what’s my point. Well, it’s that we’re all a little bit chauvinistic. Even you girls that didn’t spot the answer. It didn’t enter your mind that women were permitted entrance to a riddle.
Now chauvinism is wrong. In fact, not even wrong, but stupid and dangerous. Especially the inherent patronism inherent in chauvinism; the condescension dressed up as “Oh darling, let me get that for you” or “Don’t worry, I’ll build the wardrobe, you put the kettle on.”
I learnt my mistake on a night out in Leeds last week, where, soaked through with rain, we were waiting at the station for a bus that never came, when we spotted two young ladies, themselves and their suitcases drenched.
“Oh,” loudly remarked one of the more inebriated of our group, “Look at those poor girls with theirsuitcases in the rain.” His compassion for these lost waifs, so loathed by ardent feminists, was a mistake.
“POOR?! You calling me f*cking poor?” the one with the most acute sense of hearing and a repulsive crop of blonde hair screams in our general direction. We recoil. Perhaps they didn’t need our friendly sympathy. Perhaps, in fact, they were super-women. Perhaps I should research Leeds – obviously the domain of the Überfemsch – a little more next time.
“F*cking posh tw*ts, calling us poor.” Oh, silly me. This is about income groups, not mis-placed pity, and she’s united them both under the one socio-economic-slur banner. Now we’re for it. “We ain’t f*cking poor are we?” she asks of her partner in rain-soaked misery, whose ‘I’ll stab you’ glare confirms that she’s wholly on-board with this ‘piss-off-you-wankers’ enterprise.
A stranger stood near us pipes up in our defence: “No, you see, he was just saying that it’s unfortunate that you have to carry around that big suitcase in the rain… you poor thing.” Oh no. He used the sodding P-word again. It was all going so well until he said p…
“F*ck off! I’ll f*cking kick your head in!” she screams, leering and gesturing with her lit cigarette like it’s a full-blown flamethrower.
I’ve never had my (f*cking) head kicked in, and threats of that nature aren’t frequently directed at me, but I was pretty certain that she’d do a bloody good job of it. We scuttled off to safety.
The thing is, while I’m pretty sure she’s not read a lot of Simone de Beauvoir, and doesn’t subscribe to Germaine Greer’s podcast, the blonde-haired Myra Hindley lookalike and her medusa-esque companion on that rain-soaked night ultimately disproved exactly what my little riddle aims to state.
I not stupid enough to look down upon women. They’re bloody scary. If we’d provoked a bloke, at least the female members of our company might have escaped with their limbs intact. If blondie had got her way, it would have been like Ypres on the pavement.
Patently, feminism is dead. The bidding, patronised woman is dead. And if that night in Leeds was anything to go by, soon all men might be dead too. Welcome to the age of the Female 2.0.
And here’s some more food for thought. Women’s Committee – that bastion of social equality – has brought out a magazine full of ‘anonymous sexual experiences’. Now unless all the authors are lesbians, I’m sure there’s a fair few men across campus nervously flicking through the pages. Let that be an awkward lesson to all you chauvinists out there: The day of the silenced woman is gone, too.
So if you didn’t immediately work out that women are allowed in riddles, watch out. A Female 2.0 might find you and kick your f*cking head in.