Saturday, May 4, 2013

Détente in the Battle of the Sexes ~ in poetry, prose, & photos

“Words and pictures can work together
to communicate more powerfully than either alone.” 
~ William Albert Allard, American photographer

     Having reached a stage of my life where I no longer need to pretend to be drawn to vigorous outdoor activity, I sometimes find myself passing a few idle hours at the mall.  Being of the female gender, I often spend one or two of those hours in casual “shopping.”  Actually, I don’t enjoy shopping, but sometimes do enjoy simply looking at the endless kaleidoscope of presumably must-have bells, whistles and bows for both body and home.  More often than not, I don’t actually buy anything.  I just look.  And chuckle to myself. 

          Just last week I was at the mall on one of my pseudo-shopping sprees, and I decided to grab a cup of coffee and rest awhile in the ersatz oasis of plastic palms that comprise the food court. So, I sat and sipped, and indulged in one of my favorite past times—people watching.  And, dare I admit, the occasional eavesdropping.

          Nearby on one of the many benches that are found strategically placed throughout the vast maze of the mall, sat an older man reading a newspaper and tapping his foot.  It wasn’t long before an attractive white-haired woman, surely his wife, walked up to him carrying several shopping bags.  She settled on the bench next to him.  He looked at his watch and shook his head. 

     As the man’s wife, began drawing one item after another out of various shopping bags for him to see, I couldn’t help but overhear his wry remarks about women and their predilection for purchasing what to his way of thinking was a completely unnecessary array of merchandise.  All that money wasted.  As if some special cream were going to magically keep or make them young.  Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. 

     Given that I rather agree with this point of view, but still am perfectly willing to spend at least some money on dreams and wishful thinking, I had to smile at his wife’s serene response.  She happily packed all her loot away again, and patted his knee.  “I know, dear,” she said.  Then she cast an appraising eye at him, undoubtedly wondering when he would finally break down and buy a new shirt instead of wearing that favorite old fraying-at-the-seams one.  And perhaps a new pair of “old sneakers” might not be a bad idea either..  Hmmmm….

     Now, I imagine it’s taken a lot of years and a lot of “putting up with” on both sides for that couple to have made it to what appears to be a pretty advanced age and still be together.  So, for all you young girls out there just starting out, I’d like to point out the following:
“American women expect to find in their husbands a perfection that English women only hope to find in their butlers.”      ~ W. Somerset Maugham

     Photo by Molly Bennett, student contributor to
     Reflect & Write (Prufrock Press, 2013)


Listen up, girls!
Men don’t understand women.  
But it’s not their fault—
it’s just the rules of the game.
Remember, Martians and Venusians
have decidedly different brains.

He doesn’t get
why she loves shopping,
or why she wears
those come hither clothes
and then says, “Don’t you dare."
He just doesn’t get all that makeup—
the lipstick, the liners, the hairspray,                                
the perfumes, the creams for her skin,                                                        
ten different polishes for her nails,                                            
a purse you could cram a car in.

Always changing her clothes—
and changing her mind!
It makes a guy want to shout.
It just doesn’t make sense to a man.
What’s all the darn fuss about?                         

Nope, guys don’t understand girls
with their fripperies, fidgets and frills.
They just don’t get it.

But remember—
much of the time,
girls don’t seem
to understand guys.

But the really smart ones will!

                        ~ Elizabeth Guy

     Meanwhile, happy shopping out there, all you sister mall crawlers!  Our men should remember, we’re simply being patriotic – supporting the economy.  Battle stations, ladies.  Credit cards ready.  Charge!

What’s in your wallet (besides pictures of your kids)?

Coming next week…

More window shopping

              Also, visit my co-author's blog at  See his ten-part series on photo prompts to inspire writing at

 And Don’t Miss…

             English teacher Mara Dukats and writer-photographer Cynthia Staples’ poems “white on white” and “The Absence of Color.” They’re in Part Four of Hank Kellner’s  twelve-part series THE POWER OF PHOTOS TO INSPIRE WRITING at the Creativity Portal  website,  as well as Anna J. Small’s writing assignment in "Viewing and Writing about Photos from Around the World"
            Also, read more about Reflect and Write in the SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

                             A Helpful Source for Inspiration
For more photos and information not included in this blog, please visit Reflect and Write contains more than 300 poems and photos; keywords; quotations; either “Inspiration” or “Challenge” prompts; a “Themes to Explore” section; a “Twelve Ways to Inspire Your Students” section; a special “Internet Resources” section, and more. Includes CD with photos and poems from the book. Reflect and Write: 300 Poems and Photos to Inspire Writing by Hank Kellner and Elizabeth Guy (Prufrock Press, 2013), 153 pages, $24.95.


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