International Women’s Day was held on March 8. What is an International Woman? It’s probably a woman who has dual citizenship, or someone with a lot of stamps on their passport. I was in Sweden a couple years ago, and I said could you please stamp a couple stamps right on my face there on page two—I HATE that picture.

Anyway, let’s celebrate all the International Women out there, and in fact let’s just celebrate ALL women. There is something to like about every one of them. Women put up with a lot of crap when you think about it—just the idea of bearing children alone is enough reason to bake them a cake. My mom had six children, and she used to say she loved her children to death. I said, “Hold on a second, Mom, but just to clarify, I’d be OK with you loving us to a point just short of death.”

Now that there are female Supreme Court justices and presidential candidates and leaders of industry, young girls have more role models. They used to have just their mom and Shirley Partridge. Even Barbie was considered a role model, because she had a Corvette and a Dream House.
Barbie just celebrated her 60th birthday, and what International Woman has had a bigger impact on young girls? Barbie has always kept herself in shape—she wears the same extra-tiny size she always did, and she hasn’t gained an ounce; and if she did, it would certainly show. Sure, Barbie may have had a little work done—maybe she had a little Botox, but only for migraines. I read that Barbie’s fashions over the years have become popular for real girls, although I imagine the fit is a little tight.

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Celebrating women means we are reevaluating interpersonal behavior more so than at any time in history, except perhaps for the nascent days of the “feminist movement,” when we started calling people “Ms.,” which I still think sounds dumb. If I was in charge at the time, I would have suggested we get rid of “Mr.” and “Mrs.” instead and call people either by their names or “Dude.” We’ve come a long way from the ’60s, when women used to burn their bras, which seemed like a weird thing to do. I would have recommended that you just not buy one in the first place, instead of burning your bra and setting off the sprinkler system and causing a wet t-shirt contest just when you’re trying to start a feminist movement; not a “HELLO, I’m up HERE” movement.

I’m a guy, and if you’re a guy, too, there are probably things you used to do that you just can’t do anymore, and some of those things you shouldn’t have done in the first place. Ladies, you can correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m willing to bet that it’s never, ever Brad Pitt who’s whistling at you. It’s a myopic, barely employed guy with bad skin and food on his shirt that’s not from today who is able to whistle so well because he is missing a tooth. Has a “cat call” ever gotten you anywhere with a woman? Has it ever gotten you anywhere with a cat?

Even simple affectations are being called into question. Should you still let a lady go first? Only if you promise that your motives are completely honorable and you’re not just trying to check her out from every compass point. I held the door for a lady the other day and she gave me an exasperated look. OK, it was a revolving door, but it’s the thought that counts.

The problem is that things get complicated, and not all women want the same things. You simply can’t always decide for people what they SHOULD want. If you ladies had any sense, you’d date a guy who knows how to code, drives a 2008 Honda Accord, uses the same hair conditioner as you, and lets you talk now and then. 

Women always say they want a guy with a good sense of humor, and I like that, too. It took me years to find out that if she laughs at my jokes, she probably doesn’t have one. But the fact is that certain women cloud the conversation by hitching themselves to a “Bad Boy.” You know the type: a guy with a long, dark wavy hair who rides a motorcycle, has a tattoo of a dragon eating a guy who knows how to code, speaks in monosyllables and has never balanced a checkbook. 

So, we still have a ways to go before we’ve completely worked things out. Should we stop enjoying the work of artists or celebrities who did things that were not nice? We might need to find a way to separate the great works of history from the people who authored them, but it might not always be easy. The answer is always respect. I like to make fun of things, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect them.
Does all of this mean that romance is dead? I don’t think so. Don’t I still speak French to you during those tender moments? Even though it’s only English with an Inspector Clouseau accent, not everyone can do it just right. And think of how nice it was when I jumped out of the driver’s seat to run around and hold the car door open for you in the rain. Now think of how much nicer it would have been had I remembered to put the car in “park” first.

So, to all you International Women out there, big and small, old and young, I hereby celebrate you!

Say hello at rlife8@hotmail.com.