When it comes to patriarchy, Victoria was a real guru.
“I fully support patriarchy,” she used to say. “Alex can make all the decisions as long as he is implementing them while I’m enjoying my book.”
Victoria loved reading. She had books everywhere in her flat, even in the toilet.
This definition was complemented with a very sophisticated framework of all the DOs and DON’Ts of respectable girls under ‘patriarchy’.
“What do you mean you need to go because Ivan is waiting for you? He can wait. Respectable girls DO NOT come on time – never ever,” she would say with a tone of authority in her voice.
Victoria was not only always late. She also kept forgetting her stuff and then was frantically phoning Alex with her usual pleas: “Alex, Alex, can you please go to my flat and get that book, you know, that red one. It is on my desk, somewhere in a big pile of books. Not the red one with psychology stuff – the red one with the genetics lecture notes. It has a DNA on the cover. Whose DNA? I don’t know whose. I mean a picture of DNA that looks like a twisted ladder…. And yes, yes, I do promise to activate my ‘memory gene’ next time. …Please, please, get this book to my uni ASAP… ”
An hour later Alex would magically appear at our university with forgotten books, pens, pencils, lunches, hats, scarfs, gloves and other very important items required ASAP. Not surprisingly, Alex became a “permanent feature” at our Uni. Everyone thought that he was studying with us.
Even in her own flat Victoria could never find her own stuff. “Alex, Alex, where are my skis and my boots?” was the first thing we heard when we got to her place to pick her up to go skiing. “I also need warm woolen socks. Remember, my red ones with blue stripes. I was wearing them when we went skiing last year. And my hat – no, not that green one. The blue one with a yellow pompon…”
Somehow Alex always managed to magically retrieve required items, even though it was not his flat and it was not his stuff.
“Now, Alex and Ivan – you can go outside to get the car ready. We’ll come down in a second.”
Twenty minutes later Victoria was still at home, applying her makeup or brushing her hair.
“Victoria, come on. We need to go. The lads already look like icicles. It is 15 degrees below zero outside,” I said, peeking out of the window.
“Respectable ladies always DO get lads to wait longer,” she gave me a wink. “Just wait and see…”
Right at that moment the door flew open. Angry Alex rushed in, picked Victoria up and carried her to the car while she was pulling silly faces over his shoulder giggling all the way.
“You see,” she whispered in the car with a giggle. “I was carried the whole way to the car, while you were left walking downstairs. Learn the magic of DOs and DON’Ts, ” she gave me a wink.
“Poor Alex,” I chuckled. “I wonder how long he’ll be able to tolerate your ‘patriarchy’ ”.
“That’s not my problem. He was the first who started it,” was Victoria’s reply.
We all knew how it all started. Alex and Victoria were living in the same apartment block and were studying at the same school. One day at school Alex dared to pull Victoria’s ponytail – that’s how it all started.
At first, displeased Victoria enrolled into Aikido classes to defend her ponytail. Not sure whether it helped to protect the ponytail, but a few months later Aikido was banned by Victoria’s parents as her school marks started steadily sliding down.
Aikido-less Victoria quickly resorted to her unbeatable weapon – a beaming smile. And it has worked incredibly well. Not only Victoria’s ponytail was left in peace. She also did not need to carry her bag to school and back home ever since – her bag kept Alex’s hands away from her ponytail I guess.
Only once we saw this beaming smile fade on Victoria’s face.
“He is gone to see his first love,” she said, bursting into tears.
“What first love?” we could not help it and burst into laughter, “The one that was sitting next to him on a potty at a creche? Don’t think he’ll be able to get away from your ‘patriarchy’ that easily…”
Sure enough, the next day the beaming smile was back on Victoria’s face and we have not heard of that first ‘potty love’ ever since.
After graduation, Victoria and Alex got married and a year later they had a beautiful little girl – a spitting image of Alex with Victoria’s beaming smile. Seven years later I gave them a ring.
“I have a bride in making for your lads,” giggled Victoria.
“I bet all complete with your ‘patriarchy’ and all the DOs and DON’Ts”, I chuckled.
“Trust me she did not need much help from me with that. It must be in her blood. She is a real little princess – even in this tender age. Totally spoilt by Alex.”
“And where is Alex?”
“He is renovating our flat.”
“Victoria, come and help me, please,” I heard Alex calling in the background.
“OK, Victoria, it looks like you need to go. Alex is waiting for you. I’ll call you again later.”
“Wait, respectable ladies never respond to the first call.”
“Lena, Lena,” I heard Victoria calling to her daughter, “Can you please take this lolly to daddy, give him a big hug and read him a fairy tale.”
“That will keep Alex busy for the next 15 minutes while we are having a chat,” giggled Victoria. I bet she also gave me a wink…