1 Women Deserve My Utmost Respect and Consideration

1 Women Deserve My Utmost Respect and Consideration

It would seem,anyway,somewhat awkward for a gentleman to write something about women.People would wonder:“Isn't it a kind of satire?”or“Isn't it due to some disappointment in love?”as if only women were justified in talking about women.But I believe actually that women should be talked about by men,because the viewpoint of the latter may be more objective and their attitude more polite.

Of the two hundred million and one men in China[1],I am certainly the one who looks on women with the utmost respect and consideration.Those who know me often speak favorably of my womanliness,for I am happily endowed with every virtue owned by women,such as tenderness,patience and thoughtfulness.At the same time,of the two hundred million and one men I am the least suitable one to talk about women,because,having no sisters and remaining unmarried,I am familiar with no other woman than my own mother.

The only women I know anyway are a few former schoolmates,colleagues and wives and sisters of my friends,none of whom I know well.However,it is just because I have no sisters and remain unmarried that very often I talk about women.For instance,a good many of my friends' wives usually ask me in a half serious,half jocular tone,“Now that you are almost forty and have a good job and fame,why haven't you,Mr.X,found yourself a wife?”Such a question always embarrasses me,and I can only reply reticently,“I haven't found the right woman yet….”Then these women will go on asking,“What are your standards?Let us know some of them,so we can look for someone to your liking.”

It is at this point that I feel most embarrassed,for it is so difficult for me to say clearly what my standards are.In no way can you summarize the numerous standards and ideals you adhere to every day,unless God creates a perfect woman for you.Ten years ago a friend of mine set twenty-six standards for choosing a wife.But ten years passed,and there was only one standard left:“Only that she be a woman.”Still,he died without finding a wife.In his biography written by some friends,it was mentioned in a very sad tone that he died“unmarried.”God bless his soul!

In my opinion,if a man wants to put forward standards for choosing a wife,the first thing he should do is to ask whether he himself meets such standards.For instance,when we demand that our wives-to-be should be“good-looking,”we had better begin by looking at ourselves in the mirror to see whether or not we are handsome.When we demand that they should be“gentle and tender,”we had better examine ourselves to see whether we are reasonable rather than short-tempered.Every day,when you come home from the office,you always expect to find your house neat and tidy,your supper delicious and tasty,your children quiet and obedient,and your wife greeting you with a big smile.But when,unexpectedly,you find nothing of the sort,you will angrily throw down your hat and stick,knit your brows,and keep your mouth glumly shut.And when,to make matters worse,your kids come and surround you asking for cakes and candies,and your wife brings up the soaring price of rice,the difficulties in food-shopping and in dealing with the maids,and so on and so forth,you are bound to feel mounting frustration,lose your temper,and release a stream of curses.Then you will stay away to ruminate over your sores,which become more bitter the more you think of them.You will recall how you have just been bullied in the office,how badly you slept last night because of the kids' crying,and how hard it is for you to earn a living for the entire family,but cannot understand why your wife is showing so little understanding for your feelings.You have,however,no idea that there is any problem but a naughty child,a troublesome maid,or the price of rice that soars daily.

And it is in such an eternal purgatory that your wife is striving day and night,worrying that you haven't had enough sleep to deal with your office work and to remain calm.You don't know that last night,while you were still asleep,she had to get up as many as seven or eight times,lest the crying child should be scolded and lest you should be disturbed.He was crying because of a stomachache.He had been given unboiled water to drink[2] by Liu,the maid,who has not received any training about modern hygiene and forgets everything she has been told.In today's hard times,it is not so easy to find a servant at all,and while you cannot do enough to honey up the one you have found and taken into your service,dare you mention the word“change”!…

Maybe your wife didn't sleep a wink all night while thinking about all these problems;still,she had to overtax her strength and get up early this morning,because who else but the housewife should take care of all these odds and ends in the household?So many chores make her tired,and fatigue makes her ill-tempered.Hopefully she expects to be able to talk with you about all these troubles,and then obtain a few words of comfort as soon as you come home at noon or in the evening.If you speak so on arriving home and notice her frown and the dark circles under her eyes,perhaps she will throw all her complaints,old and new,into the sea.Otherwise,she can do nothing more than shed a few helpless tears in your presence or behind your back.And you,for your part,will probably think:“What can a woman do but weep!…”

The problem may become even more serious if the man's standards for a wife include her aptitude for earning a living.I know many cases of career women who have to think it over thousands of times before deciding to marry.When they are too unlucky not to be conquered by love,but,at the same time,remain reluctant to give up their careers,then love and career become two ropes that tighten together to strangle them to death!A couple,both friends of mine,work in the same office(where the wife's position seems higher than her husband's).Each time that I pay them a visit,or I am invited to have dinner at their home,it happens that both husband and wife show great delight if everything goes off without a hitch.But if,instead,the meal turns out to be poorly cooked,or if the little ones get into mischief,the husband often looks at his wife reproachingly,and she,in turn,stares at both of us apologetically.

For my part,I can do nothing other than gaze at the sky com-passionately.I would have said readily to the husband,“Good Heavens!Doesn't she work eight hours in the office,no less than you?”I don't mean that the meal ought to be poorly cooked after eight hours of office work,but at least the couple should stare at each other apologetically,or both should stare at me in the same way.As to shifting all the blame onto the wife,such a pattern of behavior is something intolerable to a man as womanly as me.

Now that we are talking about career women,we see that in the Western world of industrial civilization,it is not so hard for them to be housewives concurrently.But in China,you cannot do without a servant.Human beings are far more difficult to deal with than machines,particularly in these years of the War of Resistance against Japan,when people have to wander about in a desperate plight.I know a good number of ladies,who used to live in ease and comfort in the seaports or in modern Chinese cities,but are now toiling and living diligently and frugally.They still manage to keep everything in order both at home and in the office.Such women I cannot but admire and respect from the bottom of my heart.If the War has helped raise the standing of China in the world and the prestige of our soldiers,drivers and even our common workers,I believe what has risen most is the status of our women,who have proved themselves strong enough to endure so many hardships and sufferings.

But I am now wandering from the point.I haven't said so much as one tenth of what I wanted to say about women.Having read what I have just written,a friend of mine even took me for a prospective model husband because I am so respectful and considerate of women,and he thought it would be easy for me to find myself an ideal woman for a wife.But on this point even I myself feel puzzled.How to explain?God knows!



[1] At the time when this article was written,China was supposed to have four hundred million inhabitants.

[2] In China,only boiled water is drinkable.