Will men and women ever truly be able to relate to each other?

I have just booked flights to travel to India next month and so am beginning to ask for book recommendations from pretty much anyone I have a conversation with. I always like to have a factual/ business/ spiritual book on the go parallel with a work of fiction. My favourite piece of literature is Jane Eyre. The last book I read was set in Jaipur and all about an English widower who fell in love with an Indian Prince in the 1930’s.

On the back of this a male colleague recommended Shantaram to me in which a convicted Australian bank robber and heroin addict who escaped from Pentridge Prison flees to India. I asked him if a love story floated through it, I can’t remember his response now, but it sounded like the kind of book I would enjoy so I popped it on my Amazon Wish List. The same colleague had recommended The Darjeeling Limited film to me – again had my name written all over it (with it being set in India – I have a passionate love affair with the country) – but…I really did not enjoy it.

Why? I am not sure if Wes Anderson is my kind of guy but regardless of that I realised it’s most likely because there are no female central protagonists in it.

And I say this from a purely human emotive way, not a feminist one, but I just find it hard to connect to something where I cannot relate myself to the main characters. Yes, of course men and women have the same emotions/ reactions/ feelings/ thoughts – but they are packaged/ portrayed/ processed differently; and we will never have an individual to truly be able to make this internal comparison. Plus, just the simplicity of not having a female in front of me on the screen or that I can play out in my head whilst reading a book pushes me to lose connection.

I will always remember my ex (this was before Netflix FYI) recommending we go through the IMBD Top 50 list over the course of a year. We had been together about 6 years at this point and needed structure to our evening stay-at-home entertainment. I agreed with enthusiasm before looking at the list and realising that around 85% didn’t have lead female roles in them - 85% (and even one of the 85% was the blummin’ Lion King!) and one of them that did was Psycho…didn’t bode well. Alas we never carried out the task and I left him, purely for his poor recommendations for our after-work entertainment structure*

There are exceptions; Goodfellas, The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared, Master of None. But I do crave a female to be present; it simply makes it easier for me to remain engaged as I understand 100% how a woman’s mind, heart and soul works. I can attempt that with a man, but I don’t truly know…

I am not ashamed of my small film collection, most people would call it diabolical, I don’t really care. I read books for knowledge and education, I hold conversations for engagement and understanding, and I watch films to escape to unknown worlds...

Nobody will ever be able to know what it is truly like to live life as both a man and as a woman within the mind. I know that there are people who identify as transsexual who have become the gender they always felt they should be later in their life, but my understanding is that they have always had the mind of the gender they want to be, despite being placed into the wrong body.

So I suppose for now we have to just learn. Observe and listen and try to understand the other half of this planet. But also respect the fact that there is a beauty in being different; although I don’t think I am quite ready yet to go through the IMBD Top 50...

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*100% not true before you think I am some crazy women. I left him because he never placed his wet towels on the radiator**

**Also not true, but I am kinda enjoying this…

Verity Brown