Girls need our skills of invention
MARTIN VAN BEYNEN
Martin van Beynen
Quite frequently these days we hear how the world can do without men.
We hear, for instance, that as the technology of baby- making in the laboratory races ahead, men will soon be redundant in the perpetuation of the species.
We hear also that in the knowledge economy, where the abilities to communicate, co- operate and multi-task are more important, females are just much better equipped to thrive than males.
Men can be funny but for the serious stuff of making a living, women are your men.
A new book by American journalist Hanna Rosin provocatively called The End of Men argues the balance of power in society is rapidly changing in favour of women.
In communities across America, women are becoming the breadwinners, Rosin claims.
'The working class is slowly turning into a matriarchy," she writes.
Apart from the fact I don't see too many women working on the Christchurch rebuild, I think people like Rosin have overlooked one significant thing. This is the often undervalued male quality of inventiveness. If you surveyed the New Zealand patent office you would find, I am sure, that more than 95 per cent of the inventors are male.
If you looked at who invented the dishwasher, the vacuum cleaner, the microwave and the front-loading washing machine, you will find they are all male. If men did more of the housework there would be even more cunning labour-saving devices around the home for domestic chores.
Men are resourceful. Women might be good at co-operating and social intelligence but when it comes to coming up with a terrific gadget or clever shortcut, men are the unthreatened champs.
Rosin might argue this is due to the way girls are brought up. If they were given old clocks and bikes to pull apart instead of Barbies, then a lot more girls would grow up to be crane drivers, diesel mechanics and instrument technicians.
That might be true but inventiveness is quite another thing as I am about to demonstrate.
I was feeling in an inventive mood the other day when I was doing the housework. The invention I came up with is more of a lifestyle thing but useful all the same. I invented an exercise programme designed specifically for women who like to exercise but just can't find the time for housework.
This routine is structured so all the muscles of the body get a good workout and it has the added advantage of combining aerobic activity with productive enterprise.
I feel pretty pleased with it and although I haven't shown it to Mrs VB yet, I know she is going to be impressed with how the male mind works and how it will guarantee the survival of the gender.
Just as a sample I thought I would explain a few of the exercises.
Spray each shower wall with soap scum remover and working from the top use a cloth to scrub the wall vigorously while doing slow squats. Do this 10 times on each wall until the wall is clean. Keep your back straight.
Fill a bucket of hot water and a strong detergent and carry it up the stairs. Repeat this 10 times and after the tenth move to the toilet and clean this using quick but strong movements.
Take the settee cushions outside and put them on a garden table. Put on a dust mask and then beat each of the cushions until no more dust can be seen. Box and punch the cushions for at least three minutes before having a rest. Do this for each cushion and then restore them to the settee.
Take the vacuum cleaner and simply vacuum the house. If this is done properly - that means moving the furniture - you will have a sweat up in no time and your heart rate will be similar to a jog. Remember to check the vacuum cleaner bag.
Fill another bucket with hot water and detergent and put on rubber gloves.
Get on your knees and taking a cloth dip it in the bucket and twist the excess water out. Do this at least 10 times making sure you can feel your your biceps and shoulder muscles working.
Then take the cloth and in big sweeping movements with your knees staying in one place clean the floor. Do at least 10 movements before you return the cloth to the bucket. Twist the cloth again 10 times before moving to a part of the floor which requires cleaning.
Stand on a chair and look up at the ceiling. Move your head up and down 10 times. By this time you should have noticed how dirty the ceiling is. Take a hot wet cloth and wash the ceiling.
Great upper body exercise and getting on and off the chair is good cardio exercise.
In this modern age do we still need men? If we want to progress, we certainly do.
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