I went on a date once with a man who was 51, divorced with 6 children. What a catch! Most of my friends would never have agreed to it, too much baggage. But I like to think of myself as open minded and non-judgmental, so I turned up.
He was short, bald and one of the first things he said to me was, “I agreed to meet you because I know you’re a comedian and I didn’t want to reject you because you’re lower than everyone else”.
My friends said to me, “Why did you carry on seeing this man?”
Because I needed the material.
He carried on, “Do you think if we ever got married, you could give up the comedy and do something respectable like be a TV presenter, or read the weather?”
I said, “No, the weather’s not funny.”
He said, “I’m entitled to have more than one wife so I’d like to have two wives because men have a higher sex drive than women so I’d like one wife with me when I’m travelling and one wife for when I get home.”
I asked him why he was divorced, he said, “I married my wife when she was 17, she wasn’t educated and has never worked a day in her life. But she was a great cook and great in the bedroom.”
I said, “If she was a cook in the kitchen and great in the bedroom – why did it end?”
“Because she didn’t do what I said anymore”.
He said, “A woman’s role is to look after the house and the children and a man’s role is to go out and work. Men should make all the decisions and they should always have the final say, because women just make mistakes.”
I told him I had two degrees to which he replied incredulously, “Have you really, Shazia?? Too much knowledge just confuses women, and you’re too liberal. You must stop reading.”
“What? The New York Times?”
“No. Just reading.”
This man was a wealthy businessman who was brought up and lived in England. He viewed women as property, her only duties in life were to cook, clean and serve her husband. He had nothing to offer a woman in return, except lots of money and a big ego. Apparently, some women are attracted to this, not me or any of the people I know. But then all the women I know are intelligent, with self respect and a high self esteem.
What’s the difference between him and the Taliban? – A Gucci jumper. That’s all.
Malala Yousufzai the 14-year-old girl shot by the Taliban for wanting an education, and praising Barack Obama is sad, shocking and disturbing. But it’s not just the Taliban that think this way; it’s millions of men all round the world.
I’ve met educated men like the one I went on a date with, that think like this and would call themselves, ‘Modern, western, educated and liberal’ but deep down they are threatened by thought.
The Taliban may be scared of getting shot, arrested, or put in jail, but nothing is more frightening to them than an educated woman. A woman who can think, speak and fight with her mind. A woman they can’t control. It is only a weak man, a man with an undeveloped mind, and no emotional intelligence that can feel threatened by a woman who has an opinion, and the courage to criticise.
You can’t change the way these men think, they will never change; they are complicit in their misogyny and are happy to be that way. Women will change the world, and Malala Yousufzai is a modern day Rosa Parks, a suffragette, a 14-year-old girl who can see clearly the absurdity in not being able to read or say you like the American President.
It’s a good job I didn’t tell the date I went on how much I loved George Clooney.
The last thing my date said to me was, “Please don’t ever use me as material”.
Of course I will. Women will have the final say.
The author is an award winning stand-up comedian and writer. She has performed all over the world. A columnist for The Guardian UK, she was named Columnist of the Year at the prestigious PPA Awards. Find out more from her website.
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