What Women Want is a 2000 American romantic fantasy comedy film written by Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa, and Diane Drake, directed by Nancy Meyers and starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt. We know that the film earned mixed reviews from critics but was a box office success. It is what the people looking for answers to a crucial question very much wanted! It was followed by a loose remake, What Men Want, in 2019 but it was not as successful. Wonder why? Any guesses?
Taking a cue from this, in 2020, following the sudden imposition of the first lockdown, I asked around, “do you know what women want… in a lockdown?” In the last part, I added to narrow down the possibilities; I was returned with the rhetorical question by always noncommittal diplomatic men. Do you?
I have heard from a lot of men about what they think women want. None of it has been verified because none have testified; they are terrified. Anyway, I do not believe I know. And if I ask the subjects of this survey, they don’t or will not say – which, I cannot say; for one, they are figuring it out themselves, and for another, it would be self-limiting, wouldn’t it? And that is not their style. I know that much! But they are still active, have not shut down at all, just re-arranged their schedules and aren’t we glad? After all, ME time has converted itself into US time – for some time – and “YOU” time for some more time? This, according to the Times! which has/have changed – for better or worse is for future generations to say.
Are they happy or sad, that everyone gets to stay at home all the time? The kids, and the men of the house too? Is it a tad of this and that? Has their fridge planner gone cold? They do not say, but occasionally, one can hear the rumble from the jungle and the sound system at home is so good that it can relay the low frequencies with equal felicity as the higher ones. Ohm, Ohm – It is time to count your ohms! (For those who are in family therapy – it is a unit of electrical resistance)
Some are over the moon no doubt; first-time mothers, or even second time (or more) mothers who were committed to returning to their workplace beyond 3 or 6 months, while their minds and hearts were firmly locked down at home. Maybe there was a wee bit of regret about their carpools and coffee maker chats or just the chance to get away for a while, but it was just in passing! Their spouses too were happy perhaps, given that their responsibility could be shared – for often when it comes to babies, the bible is correct – Fathers know not what they do – but you’ve to hand it to them – they learn quickly! For the Millennial hubby it may not so, he is highly evolved, even involved, and wants to be a character model (whatever that may be) to his own!
“There was this one guy I chatted with that really knew what women want in a lockdown – and he said it with authority derived from her! He said they want a Bai. “Say Bye? “Nah, cannot be”. I said faithfully. “No”, he said, “they miss saying Hi to Bai”. They miss it more than using that syllable to their spouses; he however clarified that according to his information, the spouses – not all, himself included – are not a bad substitute at all. But they are cheesed off also because Bai too wants to work from home – her own home! Giving instructions, rather than taking them! Now that is a piquant situation if ever there was one!
The first lockdown saw a lot of happiness – one presumes – at being at home – togetherness, family time and bonding and all that is good according to Dr. Spock and Salvador Minuchin’s book on family therapy, “Family Healing”. There was much to heal, and once the antibiotics ran out, the vitamins took over the healing process, though occasionally there were signs of nosocomial infection as the social distance narrowed and the masks came off.
There was this golden opportunity to share ideas, burdens and aspirations, improve spouses listening and speaking skills, teach more of what goes on in and around the house and how and when it’s done; not so much with the spouse’s office work, though one got the general hang of what he actually did in office and a glimpse of all the “clowns” in his office. Giving instructions from behind the screen, given their third-party perspective became a useful and interesting sidebar routine for some and indeed enriched their lives. It is true – behind every successful man is a woman!
On the flip side Spouses discovered (or were taught outside of the Google Classroom) how-to pick up socks and everything else, how to squeeze the toothpaste, and find out first-hand, how the clothes found their rightful place in the cupboard – these were all part of a first-level MCQ assessment test. Something they had now become familiar with, sitting through a google classroom without googling! There was one exception, there were right and wrong answers and they had a right to the right answers of course.
Then there was a delight in the delicacies made by men and error; the routine conversion of delicacies into delights as a routine still eluded them, but they do not give up easily. Last I heard they were still at it, and man craving appreciation for his creations was biting the bait (and creating it!) at least in some homes. He was also learning quickly (He was bright) the brittle difference between Scotch and Scotch Brite, through the overlap!
But with lockdowns on the upswing, the second one saw perhaps more disappointment. All the lessons had been learned, what was to be discussed threadbare, was, and everything was hanging by a thread that might snap anytime with just a tug (do not need the one that got the Ever Given stuck in the Suez Canal – Forgiven could get you unstuck though)
And, Covid was at an unwashed hand ready to prick an already deflating balloon! As social distance increased and the masks returned, the question of what everyone wanted in a lockdown assumed the greater significance, not just what women want. Coz’ if we could not find out through two lockdowns, it would be better if we sat down and reminisced and ruminated… together.
See you next week…
This Article is written in a lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connection with any such real-life event or character, rest assured it’s purely coincidental.
Image by Mabel Amber