I was intrigued when I heard, via David Warnock, of this little piece on Female Role Models. And I have shown it to Drayton Parslow - who said it made some interesting points - but I pointed out to him that he's not allowed to learn from them, as he's not a woman. But then I realised that, on the same basis, he's also not allowed to receive instruction from me either - and he just had. Leaving him in a terrible paradox, I'm sure you'll agree.
It seems to me that if an Evangelical church starts allowing its women to lead and preach as long as only other women are around, it would be heading down a terrible slippery slope towards them realising they're actually as good at it as men - maybe tending less towards the high-flown rhetoric and aggressive finger-pointimg, sure - but compensating with those feminine wiles like taking account of who the audience is, and building empathy. But rather than engage further with the piece - because after all it's written by a woman, so doesn't need too much consideration by any menfolk out there - I'd like to share with you a piece of social behaviour that has always intrigued me, and of which the post has reminded me.
I occasionally take the rail trip into London, and I always wonder at the behaviour of an, admittedly small, group of male commuters whose wives pick them up (and drop them off) from the station. Except for one-car families, I've always wondered about the financial wisdom of this operation. Sure, they save on parking. But then there's all the extra petrol in making two journeys. There's also the time Wifey wastes driving backwards and forwards, sitting at the station waiting for the Great Hunter's return from the Thames-side Forests when there's points trouble, to be sure. But I'm sure that her time is factored in as "valueless".
But the phenomenon I'm referring to is this. In the morning, Mr Commuter drives the car to the station. Wifey sits dutifully in the passenger seat. When they reach the station, Mr Commuter goes off for a day's hunting, be it in Docklands or the West End, while Wifey gets out of the car, goes round to the driver's side and drives home, or takes the kids to school. It is at this point we discover that Wifey is able to drive. She is not doomed to sit outside the railway station all day listening to Chris Moyles. No! She has sufficient intelligence to drive a complex 2-ton piece of machinery all on her own - without male instruction.
In the evening, she sets off from home to drive to the station. She has no doubt spent all day doing Female activities - looking at pictures of kittens, perhaps, or baking lovely cakes. She reaches the station - practically always without, at any stage, forgetting the route, or sobbing hopelessly at a traffic light because she can't remember which colour means "go". She gets out of the car, goes round, sits in the passenger seat. And when her Provider returns, he throws the dead antelope or whatever he's caught into the boot and drives home.
What I believe we're seeing here, Gentle Ones, is pure evolution at work. Clearly the male of the species is a much better driver - his instincts attuned to following the movement of gazelles across the Great Plains, he can slip safely into moving traffic, beat that bloke in the A8 away from the lights, and effortly sweep cyclists from the bike lanes. If the Male is not available, then the female of the species is clearly capable of driving. But then it is only she, the offspring, and other road users that are at risk. The Male is safely in London. As long as the Male is involved, clearly he must drive - for the safety of all concerned, and to preserve the gene pool.
I think there is much we could learn here from cases of gender-related behaviour in history.
Clearly Boudicca's problem was that her husband was deceased - if he were alive, the chariot driving would have been much better and the Romans would have been driven from Britain.
If Jael's husband Heber had been at home, he would have driven that tent peg into Sisera a lot quicker and straighter. Contrariwise, Jesus could not have been female as in that case the traders would never have been driven from the temple - instead they'd have got lost, wandered about a bit and then stopped to ask for directions.
If Margaret Thatcher had been a man, she would never have wasted her time on reducing the size of the state and taking on vested interests - instead she would have dealt with important, manly stuff, like pasties and petrol cans. The sort of stuff you buy in garages.
I'd go on - and frequently do - but I think on this occasion I will stop. I've got to go into Milton Keynes to do some shopping later, and I'm a bit worried about how I'm going to cope with all those roundabouts. I wonder if I can get Hnaef to drive me?