I built my girlfriend a headboard, guys. Not from scratch or anything. It came in a box. When I removed the pieces, they lay like a hopeless heap of planks and screws. And from that (and a booklet of fairly detailed instructions) I made a headboard. It’s not perfect. I installed one of the supports for the adjustable shelf backwards. But it looks like a headboard. And it doesn’t appear that it’s going to fall down any time soon. And I feel like a man.
I get that it’s not really a progressive thing to say. Gender is just a construct of society. And to be fair, building didn’t make me feel like a male. Like, it didn’t reinforce my ability to pee standing up or impregnate a female of my species. It made me feel like a man.
And I am very rarely hung up on masculinity. I don’t play sports. I bake. I’ve very comfortably dated women who make more money than I do (not hard to do, given my income). I believe in a woman’s right to choose. Both abortion rights and places to eat/movies to see. I teach preschool. I have soft hands, unused to a hard day’s work.
But holy crap, did it feel good to build something. To use my hands and make a thing that is useful. Not, like, a blog post or a joke or a pie. A real, honest to goodness, thing.
I used a screwdriver and a wrench. Which is a big deal for me. The last time I picked up a tool was three years ago when I used a hammer to kill a spider in a dream I had. I even used the wrench to bang in some nails. My girlfriend was all like: “Will that work?” And I was like: “You’re goddamn right it will!” And it did! Because I used a metal thing to bang on several smaller metal things until it did my bidding.
When I finished, I felt great. Like I could hunt a buffalo. Or knock down a building with a wrecking ball. Or explain the infield fly rule.
And my girlfriend, who is a vocal feminist, liked it too. She straightened her hair and managed her Tumblr, while I assembled furniture in the other room. And it was great.
So I think this is where we are in gender relations:
It’s not that a man can put together a headboard and a woman can’t. It’s that a woman can ask a man to put together a headboard while she sits in the other room, and a man can’t. Especially if the man outweighs the woman by fifty pounds. Which, in hindsight may actually be the key factor there.
But that’s fine with me, if only because I get to hog the endorphin-rush of creation, and if she wants it, she can give birth.