I belong to the category of people who don’t have the strength for uncivilized arguments. For clarity I’ll rephrase, I detest raised voices, un-reasoned words and accusing fingers. But the few who have the understanding to respect others’ opinion have my admiration. The few who are able to notice and acknowledge statements in the line of, ‘I feel that…’. And however strong they may be convinced that their version is the truth, they will still listen.

One of the most recent ugly argument I had was centered on gender biasness. This is one of the topics I am passionately opinionated about, and yet I will try as much as I can to avoid indulging others on it. On several past instances, the other parties, coincidentally where males. Most of them maintaining a dogmatic view that the ideologies of feminists are grounded on bitterness. Adding that it is the natural order of the universe, and the plan of the Creator, that females ought to be below men.

In my view, both lines of thoughts are heavily tainted with ignorance. They all are motivated by selfishly skewed thinking; to sustain the out of order status quo of male dominance. Order and perfection are attributed to the Creator. How is it then, that half of the whole should be greater than the other half? It in such ignorance that males oppressed and treated unfairly, the females. And this ignorance has been passed down to our generation, and males still think of females as the weaker sex. Any opinion contrary to their inherited views irritates them.

Last week on Sunday evening, Cynthia, my favorite cousin came to visit me. Cynthia has a charming personality with an infectious carefree spirit. Her smile is mischievous, and her deep spontaneous laugh are ever at the tips of her lips. Okay, before you accuse me of having a thing for my cousin, let me admit that your suspicion has teasingly crossed our conversions and we’ve mutually ruled it out. Whenever we meet, no topics are off limits. This evening she had dared me to perform fifty press-ups.

I stood in front of my mirror. My chest burning, and tiny lines of perspiration starting to form on my forehead. After the thirty seventh push-up, I could not push through the sore muscles anymore. With her I didn’t have to prove anything, so I lifted myself off the floor. As I admired my poorly arranged six packs, she kept teasing from the background how overtime I have grown week.

“What happened to Dismas the gym enthusiast? Did you stop growing balls, and decided to quit?” She laughed. I smiled at my reflection.

She cleared her throat. “Now you should start walking bare chest.”  

“Why would I do that?” I knew the answer, but the part of my brain that desired to hear it from her mouth spoke up first. She feigned disappointment at my rhetorical question, made that ‘mscheeew’ sound with twisted lips and kept scrolling her phone.

“I won’t do that.” I volunteered. Which was a partial lie. “Would you?” I teased her back.

“What! That is unethical!” She said her voice heavy with disapproval, bewilderment wrinkled on her forehead. I stopped twitching my chest muscles. In the instance, I took notice of it. But reminded myself that I was talking to Cynthia, perhaps I misheard her.

“Pardon Sanatoria.” I requested her in Español accent.

“Unlike you guys, a lady walking bare chest is frowned upon and will be condemned.” She said in plain tone. Phew! Certainly, I had misheard. Then she spoke again and my heart sank.

“Which is in order. Ladies who expose themselves are of loose morals. Don’t they know that skimpy dressing leads to rape?” She added.

That is when the bitter disagreement started. In all the time we’ve been together, which is almost all my life, we’ve never had this discussion with her. And yet again, I never expected her to pick that line of reasoning. At first, I thought she was pulling my legs, perhaps to test my own logic. But even after pointing out that it is not the responsible of a lady to control the perverted urges of males, she still strongly argued that ladies should keep to decent dressings that provokes no one.

Her defense for ignorance was slowly working on my patience. I explained my point to her further; While the argument on decent dressing is in good line, it is not significant. There are several other rape cases that has no relation with the dress of the victim. The grandma who was raped in the village had also dressed provocatively? What of the four-year-old? The fact we must accept and address is that men should be in control of themselves, but if they cannot, and thus commit crime of rape, they must be punished.

Nothing I said would win her over to my point of view. She stuck to her opinion, claiming that she was the decent girl in a sinful generation. And so, we gave up on each other and moved on to playing chess.