Thursday, 24 June 2010

Yes, and about time too. I have read what Howard Bigot-Johnson has said on this matter ( strangely, it made some sense ). And I have also read the further research carried out by that weird boffin, the Hu Chi Ku Chi man ( a self-proclaimed professor of goodness knows what ). Well, they both made a few astute and relevant observations, but they didn't ask me for my take on this......and as a result they have both missed out on a quite a few important points.
Firstly, women are quite capable of matching the achievements of men if they so wanted to. But by and large they don't. Far too many see the ascent to top flight as having to deal with " the minutiae " , and this they find incredibly time-consuming and off-putting. The very idea of having to absorb so much information, even down to the smallest details, would require them to spend every waking hour of the day devoted to reading and playing the game. The idea of becoming a bridge nerd is total no-no.
However, I do accept the view that women tend to visualise things differently from men. Some of that fundamental difference is captured in a book title, " Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps : How We're Different And What To Do About It ". Men may indeed be more " field independent ", having the ability to extract a larger pattern from a more complex one........but that only depends if one is there to start with !
The crucial point is that most women find the aggressive aspect of the game very off-putting and upsetting. So many men allow their base instincts to take over, and in the process turn quite ugly. Classic Jekyll and Hyde stuff. It is my firm belief that this factor more than any other causes women, with potential to make it to the top flight, to shy away from serious competitions where Hydes are in abundance. In addition to that, lacking that predatory instinct often inhibits women to push forward to develop their game. The thought of having to play like a man is one they certainly never want to entertain
Moreover, women like myself....and I can play this game as good as any man......prefer to put bridge into a much more realistic perspective, when it comes to ranking life's priorities. The harsh reality is this : the game is utterly pointless in the scheme of things. Building a boat for people to sail in has purpose. Building a well so as people can have water to drink also has purpose. Buiding an understanding with partner that low card discarded in one suit calls for switch to the lower of the other two suits ( outside trumps ) is of no benefit to anyone but you and your partner. The sad fact is that men believe bridge is the be all and end all of their existence on this planet. It is a religion to which they seem happy to devote their whole lives.
Wherever women go in the game, they see men at the top. Men forever striving to run the show, striving to preserve the status quo. They so often behave in a " sexist " way, displaying all the characteristics of male chauvinism. No doubt, it was man who coined the acronym " LOL ", type-casting women players as little, old and terribly polite. Indeed, when one woman stood alongside some the top class men players on the winners' stage ( namely, Helen Sobel Smith ), she was pointedly asked what it was like to partner one of the world's greatest players ? Clearly insulted by the blatant " male chauvinism " buried within the question, she quickly replied ; " Shouldn't you be asking my partner that ? " Now that's what I call a sassy and very astute woman.
So yes, the ratio of men to women at the top seems to suggest that men play the game better than women ......but this is a false conclusion. Women could be there in great numbers, if they choose to be there. Luckily for all those top men , a huge number of talented women will go elsewhere and succeed in other fields....leaving Helen and I to put them firmly in their place.

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