Sunday, October 24, 2010
are men necessary?
I've been racking my brain with this question for quite some time.
Maureen Dowd struggled with this question in a book carrying this title some years ago, and I must admit that although I had read her book in my search for an answer, I am still at a loss.
Michael Moore wrote in his book Stupid White Men that the portable, easy-to-carry, aluminum stepladder "did the male population in... and made us guys as useful as an eight-track tape."
While there is some grain of truth in Moore's statement, there are still a few things I need a man for, and no, it is not what you're thinking...
It is true that I own a (wooden) step-ladder, that I can drill a hole in the wall, change a light bulb, and even check the oil level in my car and add more if it's low, BUT for the life of me, I can't twist off tight things, like the lids of jam and pickle jars or the cap of the water purifier, which needs to be opened every couple of months in order for the filter to be replaced.
The last time my daughter wanted me to help her open a jar of pickles I gave in and said "I need a man to do this," only to hear the contempt in her voice echoing in the kitchen. "You say a woman should not depend on a man to do things for her," or something in that spirit. Suddenly she cares about what I say. Fourteen year old smarty pants.
Of course, I can get that lid off, if I puncture it with a wine opener. That's how I do it when there is no man around. But I didn't want to make a hole in the lid. I wanted to keep it wholesome, perfect, and unpunctured, man or no man in my life!
So yesterday, in the absence of a judgmental fourteen-year-old in my house, I succumbed to the water filter's stubbornness. I unscrewed the whole contraption from the faucet, threw a pocket-size multi-tool Leatherman in a plastic bag (one of my most manly tools) and took it to my car. My idea was to corner a friendly man somewhere during my weekend rounds, shove the filter thingy and the pliers into his hands and beg him to unscrew the lid, so I could take the purifier back home and replace the expired filter. This is how desperate I was, and this is how far I was ready to go hunting for a pair of strong hands.
Other thingies that drive me to search for a man come in the shape of dead rats! For some unknown reason my garage is acting as a death trap for vermin. And when a dead rat manifests itself on the floor or under the stairs of the garage, nothing can move me toward its corpse. The last time I discovered a dried up rat in my garage I took to the street and called for help. I did not scream or flailed my hysterics. I just called, "is there a man around who can help me?" as soon as I spotted a male-type neighbor emerge out of a house across the street. The man, whom I knew was a navy officer, came to my rescue without a moment hesitation. He picked up the shapeless pile of rat remains and deposited them in his own trash can, so my fragile self would not have to be tormented over the contents of my own trash. Bless his heart.
I find myself thinking about the question "are men necessary?" when I have to lift or move big heavy things, read electronic gadgets manuals, or feel like eating barbecue. But most of all, I think about it when it's ten o'clock at night and I'm in my pajamas on the verge of sleep, and it's pouring rain outside, and I suddenly remember that I forgot to take the trash out, with or without a dead rat lying inside.
It would have been nice to have a man around to help with the little stuff of life. For the big stuff, I rely on myself.