Ted dropped by on Wednesday with three cases of draught beer, a bottle of Jose Cuervo and a half-jack of brandy. “I can’t stay long,” he said, opening his throat valve and tossing back 500ml of lager in 3.8 seconds. He’s like a Porsche with a drinking problem.
“Listen to this,” I said, reaching for the morning paper. “A new Gender Equality Bill will give the government the power to force companies to appoint women to half of all top positions.”
Ted snorted like a wounded buffalo. A double-barreled burst of beer shot from his flaring nostrils and knocked the cat clean off its perch.
“That’s ridiculous!” he shouted. “Most of the women I know prefer to be at the bottom. Apparently the top is too much like hard work.”
“Not only that!” I shouted back. “Bill is a man’s name. At the very least, it should be called the Gender Equality Billie. As in Billie Jean King.”
“Better make that Billie Holiday,” Ted said. “At least she was black. Billie Jean King is a white lesbian. Can I assume the minister behind this latest outrage is none other than Lulu Xingwana, former arts and culture minister who once stormed out of an art exhibition because it featured pictures of naked ladies sprawled in a warm puddle of cuddle?”
Ted assumed right. But while the honourable Lulu is unlikely to run for president of the Sapphic sisterhood any time soon, that’s no reason to deny her the right to be as loopy as any other heterobabe hired to serve us, the people.
I’m just not convinced it’s a good idea to threaten company bosses with fines, imprisonment, public floggings or chemical castration if they fail to ensure that every second person in management is a woman. The male CEO is a dangerously unpredictable animal. He is the apex predator of the corporate world and, if trapped, would chew off his own leg and crawl to London sooner than face a metaphorical mauling by menstruating mobs of shrieking harridans in high heels.
Ted opened his throat valve, chugged a six-pack in 15.4 seconds, and pointed out that if the new law shattered the glass ceiling, there would be nothing for the women to stand on. Yes, there would be, I said. The bodies of all the men who fell through it.
It’s not for nothing that the female battle cry is, “I’m not standing for that!” Ted suggested they would probably be doing a lot of sitting, mainly on chairs with wheels. “Speaking of which,” he said, “nobody denies that women have a very influential power base. But if all they do is sit on it, it’s completely wasted.”
I had to agree with him, largely because I wanted to clamp my gums to his bottle of tequila. If Lulu gets her way, women will no longer be appointed or promoted on merit. The quota is way too big. Stray women are going to have to be rounded up on the streets and shovelled into positions of power. “But I don’t want to work!” some will cry. “That’s why I married a wealthy man.” Sorry, lady. It’s the law. Step away from the car and come with us. It’s management meetings and cafeteria lunches from now on. It’s for your own good, you know.
I think we should start openly encouraging women to to sleep their way to the top. That way, everyone wins. The women will feel they have at least done something to earn their position on the board and the men, well, they might be more inclined to keep their misogyny on a shorter leash.
If I were a woman – and I hope to be one before I die – I would be furious with Lulu. Unless you’re Lady Gaga or Richard Branson or even earning a salary like Lulu’s, working generally sucks. It involves sitting in traffic, interacting with idiots and subjecting yourself to a million tiny mortifications while doing the same soul-destroying thing over and over for 49 straight weeks in return for three off. Year after miserable year. Then you get cancer and die.
Truth is, a lot of companies are simply not designed for women to have a 50% say in their running. I’m not talking about pharmacies, clothing stores and supermarket chains. Women are genetically programmed to understand the mechanics of places like Clicks and Woolworths. But Denel? Next thing you know, our battleships will have been converted into schools and the Gripen fighter planes melted down and turned into agricultural implements. We’d be annexed by Swaziland in no time at all.