Monday house update: That’s handy*woman*, thank you very much
When last week began, my “handiest” skills were pretty much limited to hammering nails into walls (sometimes crookedly) and pulling nails out of the walls. Maybe I’d drill a hole here, tighten a screw there, but I had never really undertaken any serious repair projects. In fact, I was so tool-and-repair-unsavvy that I accidentally referred to a “saw” as a”sword” just last Monday.
(Is it an indication of irony or sheer stupidity that I nonetheless decided to take on this house rehabbing project? I dunno.)
But when last week ended, I could proudly–very proudly, and very repeatedly–say that I knew how to repair drywall and how to install a toilet.
Measuring and cutting drywall. Hammering support boards into the wall. Patching. Caulking. Handsaws, screws, nails, and exacto knives. Wax rings. Nasty-ass washers and nuts and bolts from the old toilet. Hooking up the water line to the new toilet. Attaching the toilet seat and lid.
REPAIRING DRYWALL AND INSTALLING A TOILET, PEOPLE!!!
Have I already mentioned that I am proud of these newly-acquired skills?
And that I like to repeat my “mastery” of them to anyone within listening range?
And so when some guy from the local newspaper (we’ll call him “Dick”) arrived on my front porch on the night of my repair-conquests and tried to sell me a newspaper subscription by dishing up a very hefty serving of paternalism and sexism, my feminist sensibilities–which were now attached to a person who could REPAIR DRYWALL AND INSTALL A TOILET–became a wee bit enraged.
Dick approached me as my mother and I were conversing with my new next-door neighbor, Cynthia. Upon discovering that it was I (and not my mother or Cynthia) who was the new home-owner, he identified himself as a employee of the paper and then immediately asked if I was married.
Already, this question annoyed me. Did the fact that I was married make me more likely to be a literate person? Someone more interested in keeping up on world affairs? Or was this question an attempt to direct the salesman to the MAN OF THE HOUSE?
And this question was quickly answered for me because no sooner had I responded that I was, in fact, married, that Dick asked what my husband did for a living.
Not what I did for a living. Not even whether or not I worked. Or read. But what THE MAN OF THE HOUSE did to bring home the bacon.
I cringed and offered up a wry, “He’s an attorney.”
Dick seemed almost giddy at this response and went on to gush about what my husband is interested in reading and what my husband needs with his morning coffee and how my husband needs me to lock in these subscription rates right now.
And then I–I, who was a FEMINIST WHO COULD NOW REPAIR DRYWALL AND INSTALL A TOILET–burst forth with a wave of disgust and frustration and asked (this) Dick, “Who are you to tell me what my husband is and isn’t interested in?! Or what he needs?! How do you know that I don’t want to read the paper?! What about what I’m interested in?!”
(In my perfect outburst that I re-created in my mind, I also went on to shout at Dick about how if he’s going to go and get on with his bad sexist self why doesn’t he at least try and assume that the little wifey wants those Sunday coupons–which I do by the way–and how I do work and I do appreciate the newspaper and how even if I didn’t have additional work besides raising the kids I might still want to read the paper because stay-at-home moms care about the news too, you jackass and how I now might want to read the classified ads for power tools because I CAN REPAIR DRYWALL AND INSTALL TOILETS, DID YOU KNOW THAT?!)
Dick looked stunned for a moment and muttered something about how he used to work for AIG, but then you know how that went, and now he’s working for the Dispatch selling papers.
Was that supposed to excuse his sexist assumptions???
Even if his sob-story did leave me feeling an iota of sadness for him–but HEY, at least he has a job in a state with a 10%+ unemployment rate!!!–that iota of sadness was soon swept away when Dick asked to see my left ring finger in an apparent attempt to size up the MAN OF THE HOUSE’S salary and/or my wifely sense of materialism.
What could that possibly tell you about my need for a newspaper subscription, Dick?!
I can REPAIR DRYWALL AND INSTALL A TOILET, Dick.
What’s more, I have a brain in addition to having boobs and a vagina.
A little bit more respect. Please.