I am posting this, originally a response to a post on Route 153, a blog by a woman I know only by the name Indigo Bunting. She lives in Vermont, several universes from here, and is an editor friend of an editor friend. That is a double editor. I’m not going to argue with that. So when Craig said try writing short form and Indigo suggested posting my reply, a bit long, to her blog entry “Girl” as an entry of my own, I complied. I know what’s best.
“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” Audre Lorde
My wife claims I am a much better wife than she.
I am not sure she has worn anything but dungarees in over two decades with the exception of three occasions. I can recall each of them. One wedding, one bar mitzvah and one charity event. I wish to point out that wedding was not even our own. To that we each wore dungarees and t-shirts. If I count pagan festivals, over the course of the last twenty-five years I think I might actually have worn skirts and such more often than she. Makeup? Ha! Cooking? My territory.
Sewing the holes in the clothes? Mine (after she threads the needle for me).
Her shoes are as sensible as can be – Merrels made for standing. The blow drier is never used except by my son. She is a pick the clothes from the pile, wash’n’go, no frills cheap-date of a gal I adore more than the bright stars and the loamy Earth.
And I don’t dare take her into a lesbian bookstore or I need to fight to keep her. I do this as often as I can.
If there were continuum for gender-behaviour, with guyishness staff and girlishness distaff, my Lee would be a bit right of center. I would be a bit left. It all balances out to who the hell cares.
But she does like her purses. Stone Mountain, Dooney and Bourke, Coach. She looks and looks and looks but never bought. She tells her patients they need to ditch their purses and use backpacks. She follows her own advice on this.
Last birthday she decided to treat herself to a purse she had long wanted. A Stone Mountain bag. She spent nearly two hundred on it. She used it for two days and returned it. Not worth what she spent. She was cured.
Then, a few months ago, I found at a local auction a Prada bag. I grabbed it for $35.00. She is delighted. She has her girlie-bag. It is a back pack, of course.
As far as myself, well, I don’t build, I do garden a bit but I do not do lawn work. Fix the house? HA! My father and wife, many years ago, got together and sold all my powertools while I was on a trip. For my own good, they told me. I didn’t argue. Of course, that is the same way I ended up moving in with my wife. That is a different story.
I love opera, but I always retranslate the songs. They are all about cows and barnyard life.
I would rather have a migraine than watch football. Really. I find them less painful and more interesting. They also don’t last as long.
I’ll play soccer but watch sports? Like on a TV? No thank you.
I use the same Jansport backpack my wife complained I overpaid for, at $35 dollars, when my daughter was three. That was twenty-three years ago.
I don’t tinker with my car. I sold my truck a few weeks ago. The truck festooned with breast cancer awareness magnets and a sticker that said “Real men change diapers.” You know, a real guy truck.
Not fitting into a set role makes it easier to allow other people not to fit into roles either.
Ok, now to rebuild what feels to be my diminishing masculinity, I’m going to go tell my wife to cook something and have her get me a beer.
I’d better go buy some beer first. And make dinner reservations.