Sunday, 6 August 2017

Ageing maleness is not a pretty sight

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It was a revelation to recently discover what a disgraceful employer I must have been. At one stage, at the height of my business venturing, I owned a bacon factory, three butcher’s shops and a smallgoods factory. Later on I managed real estate company and concluded my career as the half-owner of a sign factory.

Over that period, spanning some fifty odd years, I employed a large number of members of the ‘fairer sex’ (hang on, am I even allowed to say that now) and if they were of the child bearing age I invariably asked them at the employment interview what their intentions were regarding motherhood.

I was blissfully unaware at the apparent sensitivity of this line of inquiry, but last week a number of males, some with high profiles and impeccable credentials were severely castigated for asking Ms Ardern the very same question.

No matter that the new Labour leader had broached the subject herself in a recent Next magazine article that featured her airbrushed picture on the front cover.

In that homily she claimed to have no ambitions regarding the leadership of the party as she wanted have a family first.

Bob Dylan sang “the times they are a‘changing” and my generation obviously weren’t listening. In our day the potential for pregnancy question garnered important information. No sense in training applicants as meat packers, checkout operators, office staff, real estate salespersons or graphic designers if they were going to hive off and have a family.

And remember these were those halcyon days before paid parental leave.

And our misogynistic mistakes keep mounting up. Not long ago rugby league great Graham Lowe was asked what he thought of Ms Ardern and walked into a minefield when he said: “She’s a pretty little thing, isn’t she?”

I thought it was reasonable response; after all she has pretty big teeth and a pretty big mouth and the overall picture is pretty attractive and anyway in ‘my day’ to describe a lady as pretty was deemed a compliment and a much sought-after description of themselves by young women at the time.

For Lowe it was like Chicken Little’s sky had fallen. The news media and social media came down on him like a ton of bricks and he was sent to Coventry. Well actually that’s not true. In fact he went to Bradford on his own accord and bought a British rugby league team, the Bradford Bulls, presumably keen to get as far away from this country as he could.

That’s why you’ve never heard of him since.

Jacinda’s pathway to potential premiership came pretty quickly. The ageing Annette King was encouraged to step aside; I’ll bet she was a pretty little thing in her day too.

Oops, I’d better go and pack my bags; I’m off to Coventry.

“To judge from the covers of countless women’s magazines, the two topics most interesting to women are 1) why men are all disgusting pigs and 2) how to attract men.” - Dave Barry


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