Mi Armoire

7 Jun

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.

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