One of the things about this life in community is that we’re freed up from some of the mundane everyday activities which necessarily loom large in most people’s lives.
Take shopping for instance. Yesterday evening, my wife and I went shopping. Which, for us, is unheard of and kinda, well, weird.
(For the uninformed, let me explain. Almost all of our weekly necessities are ordered and supplied by our community ‘FDC’ – Food Distribution Centre – which supplies not only food but household goods, toiletries and so on. Even clothes can be bought from the FDC though sometimes they will advise that something ought to be ‘bought out’ if they haven’t got it. So, the hassle of the weekly shop; dangers of endless consumer ‘choice’, dragging us out of simplicity; the likelihood of inequality – all are overturned by the genius of the FDC.)
But last night we needed a couple of clothing items that the FDC couldn’t supply, so after dinner we headed off to a local cluster of stores for some late night garment hunting.
Now, it may be a cliché that women love shopping and men hate it, but I have to say that my wife was curiously excited about the whole idea (‘wow, we’re going shopping together’ – I was appreciating the ‘together’ bit, but ambivalent about the ‘shopping’...) Anyway, my wife got herself a pair of bright summery trousers (in which, I’m bound to say, she looked lovely) and I failed to get anything. The sandals I’d seen in the shop a couple of days ago had gone and there were no others like them, and the pair of trousers I looked at were too thick and... oh, FDC where art thou?
The funny thing was (as I reflect on the difference between the sexes) on the way home there was a programme on Radio 4 in which a panel were debating gender roles. Apparently, breakthroughs in genetic science mean that it may well be possible fairly soon for women to have babies without men being part of the process at all! The ensuing debate turned on whether men serve any useful purpose (now that the provision of sperm appears to be unnecessary) particularly in the family, but, by implication, in any sphere at all.
One strident feminist appeared to take the line that the huwoman race would be better off without men altogether (after all, all they ever do is have wars, oppress the weak and beat women). She reluctantly conceded that some women may chose to have a man in their life (like a pet Chiwawa, it seems) though she quite obviously found such a preference baffling. Pressed on the point, she allowed men to continue to exist as long as they became more like women.
They had a Christian bloke on (unfortunately he was male so unlikely to get anywhere with our feminist friend) who tried to point out that fathers bring certain essential things to their children (sons and daughters) beyond their mere existence and that there were reasons why God had designed the human race male and female and families to include a father and mother. But his piercing common sense and insight were largely ignored.
So what d’ya think? Any point to men? Or are we – or should I say you, female readers – better off without them – er, us?.. oh, you get the point!
Now, I need to ring the FDC about a pair of trousers...