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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.


  1. I think the question is not ‘are men necessary?’
    The question is: ‘are women will get away with anything’
    Can you imagine me writing something like this (the title will be ‘are woman necessary?’):
    The only things I can think of is to help me make my favourite cheese cake white look right.
    What an outcry will be in the women community, me thinking that a woman is only good for whisking egg.

    A good few years ago, a friend (female) of me get into my home (I did ask her not to come) and had sex with me without my consents, funny, but what you are thinking right now is the reaction I got from the police officer I phone up to say I been rape.

    So the big question is:
    Are women will get away with anything?

  2. First of all I would love to know what the police officer said.

    Second, speaking about getting away with anything... man invented the thermonuclear bomb then connected it to a long range missle and threatned to use it - and still got away with it. Need I say more?

  3. The ‘classic’ male answer should be: let’s not start genders war, just get to bed and see the real genders purposes.
    As for the police respond; I will let you know in privet on our next talk.

  4. Gender barrier is a very unclear thingy to me; just one example: yesterday night, our cat (a female) left as an offering on our doormat a dead and half-eaten rat (a male, I think). My husband, horrified, asked me to put it in a plastic bag and then in the trash can outside. He couldn't even look at it. And yet, my husband is a 7th Dan Black Belt Shotokan Karate and looks very much like a man... See?

  5. here's another comment-on behalf of a reader who wants to stay unnamed:

    I don't want to post my misogynistic views on the internet for the whole world to see, but I think a world without men would be a disaster, and not just for the mountains of unopened jars, dead vermin and broken down automobiles that would result. Men are infinitely better at cooperating with each and making friends than women. The only thing keeping women from completing wiping each other out are men in their lives which redirect females' spite and destructive neuroticism away from each other. Women are like crabs in a bucket, they try to undermine one another and most often engage in fierce competition with one another rather than be friendly and cooperate. How hard is it for women to make and keep good, true female friends (especially compared how easy it is for men to do so)? True, men develop myriad effective ways to destroy each other, but we aim to destroy each others physical manifestation; women seek to destroy other womens' souls, they yearn to emotionally devastate their opponents but leave the body intact, to make them suffer without end. Which is worse? What's more, women are prone to seeing the world through emotional (read: inefficient, delusional) lenses, rather than the practical lenses we men wear. We bring reason and order into this world, anarchy would ensue if you were all left to cooperate with each other and try to agree on anything.

    That being said, I consider myself a feminist if you would define a feminist as someone who believes women are all too often underutilized, disrespected, restricted, and unfairly treated in almost all corners of the globe, that they have historically been shitted on and that the world would be a much better place if they had more say in politics and any other decision making. Don't get me started on the stereotyped, shallow portrayals of both men and women in the media and entertainment....

  6. This is a great post Galia, pleasure to read --and I will resist the temptation to reply to the reader who wants to remain unnamed ;)