The battle of the sexes has been raging since the beginning of time.
Ever since our cave-dwelling ancestors used to argue about whose turn it was to bury the bison bones after dinner, men and women have been squabbling about one thing or another, each seemingly unable to understand why the other acts the way they do.
And while we’ve come a long way since those caves, battling our way through the Suffragette movement, the rise of feminism and those hilariously stereotyped and sexist ads that Don Draper used to make, there are still plenty of gender issues to get stuck into today.
Just ask an arts student (or don’t, if you have somewhere to be in the next couple of hours).
Today, we’re hopefully going to contribute something to the great gender debate, by arguing that burning question, “does it cost more to be a girl or a guy in today’s world?”
So without further ado, let’s take a look at the evidence.
~ 27-year-old gal, Sydney NSW ~
I have a tendency to draw out the time between haircuts to about 10 months, unlike the six weeks as suggested by my friendly hairdresser each time I see him.
This is a great way to keep costs down, but every time I go it’s still a sting to my hip pocket, leaving me wishing I could get a $10 haircut from the guy down the road like all the boys at work.
The difference between a men’s and a women’s cut (no colour, no fringe, no gloss, no toner, no treatment) at my salon is $35.
Another salon in the area shows a price difference of $50 between men’s and women’s cuts, while yet another shows a difference of $70. Unfair.
Even the most low-maintenance girl will have more beauty expenses than her male counterparts.
Some products are absolutely necessary (think monthly), while others will be a little more indulgent (hair masks, hand cream, nail polish).
And at the very other end of the scale is eyelash extensions, eyebrow tinting, fake tan, teeth bleaching, microdermabrasion, lip exfoliation, split end serum, anything that says “cellulite” in the name, vajazzling, nail art… the list goes on.
Even if you don’t get all these treatments done professionally, women still need way more products than men.
And these products are more expensive. There are $30 bottles of shampoo and conditioner for women (My Organics at Chemist Warehouse), while most guys are pretty happy to use whatever shampoo is in the shower at home or the gym or at work.
And if you need even more proof, a quick search at Chemist Warehouse shows a Neutrogena 124ml Men’s Face Scrub is $9.99, while a (women’s) 125ml Oil Free Daily Scrub is $11.69.
Planning on having a baby? It’s time to up that health insurance cover to obstetrics and hospital.
There’s a difference of about $70 a month between singles cover for basic benefits (from $60 a month) and for those ‘planning for a family’ (from $130 a month).
Now, given there’s no point for a guy to be covered for childbirth, this is another area where guys win out over their female friends.
Plus, there’s the simple fact that men just don’t go to the doctor as much as women do, because then they would have to admit they’re not superman.
So all those doctors’ bills, specialist fees and surcharges are bound to add up much more quickly for a woman than a man.
Sorry guys, you’re not.
~ 28-year-old guy, Sydney NSW ~
Picking up the tab.
While many of the more offensive gender imbalances have (thankfully) been put to bed in modern society, some traditions from days gone by have managed to sneak through.
Yes, I’m talking about the fact that, in a male/female dating scenario, there will often be an unspoken expectation between both parties that the man should offer to pick up the tab.
Now, while there are thousands of gals out there who won’t take up the offer, there are still plenty who will. And even in many ‘equal’ financial relationships, men are often still expected to front up extra.
Valentine’s Day is a great example. Try getting out of that one. Or it could be that ‘special’ date night, or those times when you’re grabbing a couple of drinks with friends at a bar, drinks that are never spoken of again.
And on the subject of alcohol, “can I buy you a drink?” is not a pick up line that many guys are used to hearing out of anyone’s mouth but their own.
This ‘man as the provider’ tradition stems from old-fashioned notions of chivalry, masculinity and the fact that men were historically the main breadwinners in a relationship. Not to say that’s a good or a bad thing. It just is.
Gosling is the exception to all rules noted above.
Speaking of old fashioned traditions, let’s talk about engagement rings.
According to Funny or Die (check out the video, it’s well worth a watch), this is a tradition made popular by the DeBeers diamond company, where some marketing genius saw a direct correlation between creating a situation where men were expected to buy diamonds to get married and DeBeers’ profits.
But however it came to be, even though buying a fancy and expensive diamond ring for your beloved is a wonderful, sentimental and impressive gesture, it’s also really, really expensive. Chalk that one up as a point for the guys.
Look, ladies, at the end of the day being a guy is tough. We used to be hunter-gatherers roaming free across the land in search of food and people to fight, and now we’re chained to the nine-to-five.
That’s why we spend so much of our time moving from hobby to hobby in search of meaning.
Across the country, the sheds, garages and back yards of men everywhere are littered with failed experiments and hobbies gone wrong.
Golf is the classic offender. That once-gleaming bag of brand new clubs cost a fortune when we bought them, so it’s a shame they haven’t seen the light of day since Howard was Prime Minister.
But golf is just the start. It could be surfing, ‘learning the guitar’, an unhealthy obsession with the latest electronic gadgets or a deep-seated desire to collect every single vintage Rabbitohs Jersey on eBay.
Or, even more likely, it’s an expensive and money-draining combination of all of those and more. So pity us, ladies, if you can.
Guys want more. Of everything.
From ordering an extra side of chips to stave off their hunger pangs after they’ve just eaten a hearty meal of steak and chips, to drinking fifteen beers on a Saturday night or buying the flashiest car they definitely can’t afford, guys seem to enjoy doing things to excess.
And excess usually means expensive.
Still, for many men a combination of a competitive nature and peer pressure forces them to keep going even when they know the better (and cheaper) option would be to stop.
We can be silly buggers, can’t we?
Maybe it’s the thrill of the chase, the promise of a quick buck, or an attempt to escape the repetitive and numbing nature of modern life, but there’s something innate in many blokes that leads them to donate a good chunk of their hard earned to gambling companies, casinos and each other.
While I don’t doubt for a second that there are a few ladies around who enjoy a flutter, too, something about Sportsbet’s marketing strategy makes me think they’re not too worried about the female demographic. Good luck fellas!
So there you have it folks, the for and against for which gender lives the most expensive life. The question is, who do you think won?
Image: Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, New Line Cinema