ImageAs with everything, it starts young. It’s all ‘little rascals’ for your sons, but ‘perfect princess’ for your daughters. No pressure, like.

Perfection appears to be a feminine attribute – who knew? Would be nice to think it were so, to think it’s empowering, but in fact it’s the opposite.

It seems to be the case that women beat themselves up about things a lot more than guys do. Blokes are happier to muddle through and get shit done, while women, it seems, agonise over the minutiae (‘What did it mean when she said “fine”? Was that “fine” or, you know, “fine”? Oh God!’). Women notably initiate divorces far more than men, and I wonder how many blokes a demand for divorce has hit utterly out of the blue when they believed, reasonably or not, that everything was just dandy.

So the girls are expected to get it all right, dammit, as perfection is one of our attributes. A bit like God, but more hormonal.

The perfection bug is especially notable around weddings. When I got married one of the associated clichés that especially pissed me off, among many – don’t get me started on ‘Every woman has dreamed of her wedding day since she was a little girl’ – was the old ‘Every bride wants her day to be perfect’.

Well, for a start it wasn’t my day – it was a day for me, and my husband and our families and our friends. Additionally, I had no expectations of it being perfect, that would be deranged.  As it was, in the end it was a mixture of triumph, slight disarray and absolutely torrential, apocalyptic rain.

But naturally, we’re supposed to be bridezillas, tearing limbs and crushing buses when the napkins turn out to be ‘Brightest Azure’ and not ‘Vibrant Turquoise’ as requested. In our case, it was my husband who had far more of an idea of what sort of wedding he wanted than I did myself, and despite my hesitation on the practicality of our scenario (barn, countryside, 200 miles from home and seriously pushing their seating capacity) I decided it would be churlish not to go along with things when it wasn’t as though I had a better idea myself. Fortunately, one thing we totally agreed on was that ‘perfection’ was not part of the plan.

It’s not just weddings – we always read about ‘perfect’ homes, men, little black dresses, children, lipstick, dates, holidays. But material aimed at men doesn’t seem to have anything like the same emphasis on perfection. Blokes are laid back, blokes can improvise and go with the flow, we are lead to believe.

So the flipside can be that women are seen as unreasonable, unrealistic and not to be taken seriously because we have a lower threshold for coping with the messiness of life – which is funny, because we’re usually the ones cleaning it up, too.

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