Saturday, 3 March 2012

It's Raining Men.....




I have always believed in a basic equality of the sexes. Both men and women are capable of changing nappies, cooking a meal, driving a car, fitting a plug, earning a living, doing a bit of grouting.
And then my horizon changes.

I need men as I have never needed them previously, but I must immediately qualify that by saying that what I need is the physical strength that men represent.
Whatever happened?
I'm a mere seventy-two years old, and suddenly I have trouble getting the top off a child-proof bottle.

So I face facts and admit that I'm weak, not because I'm female, but because I'm old. I know quite a few men who can't get the top off a child-proof bottle of paracetamol - and they are old too.

I face facts and pay for the tough jobs, like emulsioning ceilings and painting guttering twenty feet up in the air, and I pay men to do them because there are not so many willing and able women.

Then I really have to bite the bullet and pay a lot of money to have a chimney relined. I admit that I am not able to haul a great sinuous length of stainless steel up on to the roof and slot it down the chimney.
Would I ever have been able to do it?
No.
Would I ever have wanted to do it?
Possibly yes, when I was under thirty years of age and could have saved myself a thousand pounds by doing so.
Was I ever capable of doing it?
Almost certainly not. I would have cracked a load of slates and probably fallen off the roof in the attempt. But I just might have considered myself capable.

Now, mellowing into old age, I am becoming prepared to admit my limitations, my slight helplessness, my wimpish femininity.
A geriatric girlie, at last.

10 comments:

Molly said...

I think it's called "growing old gracefully," which is far better than turning into an old grumpy boots. I know whereof I speak. I think you've got it down! Enjoy your girlie years!

Jenny Woolf said...

What a lovely positive approach! Quite inspirational!

Zhoen said...

Well, brawn is a masculine attribute, connected to high testosterone and muscle development. Few women get nearly as strong as a middling-muscled man. I'm all for acknowledging the differences when they are real. Doesn't make them better, just better at tasks requiring that kind of power.

I figure when the risk involves a trip to the ER, it's worth the extra cash up front to pay someone else, who probably also has the tools necessary to the task.

The Elephant's Child said...

Replace geriatric girlie with pragmatic woman and I will happily agree with you.

I don't mind paying people for the big jobs. It is the things like changing a lightbulb which if it involves a step stool or a ladder which I can no longer do safely but have so far resisted paying someone to do. And when I fall, it will be my own stupid fault.

Relatively Retiring said...

Molly: I'm all for growing old as gracefully as possible. I really dislike that poem about doing it disgracefully.
Jenny; I could also have written about the unsound economic sense of being so proud of having lots of free wood, then having to spend a a great deal of money on having the chimney re-lined. Not quite so positive.
Zhoen and Elephant's Child: Yes, I agree about the testosterone and the tools. It's when it involves light bulbs and tin-openers that it starts to get a bit frustrating.

gz said...

It is providing needed employment!

Jane said...

I'm totally with you on this, Judith. There are plenty of things I could probably do and have done in the past but I'm taking a 'life's too short' attitude - let someone else trim the shrubs, put the curtain rails up etc. I'm going to be planting the pretty things and the veg and playing with art materials and fabrics and wool!

herhimnbryn said...

There are times when as a female, your strength is not in the brawn department! It manifests itself in other ways. Rock on Girlie!

Relatively Retiring said...

gz: yes, the employment thing is a consolation, and it's really positive to see it that way.
Jane: I hope you get the time and opportunity to do all the enjoyable things. Keep trying!
HHnB: I think it's the having to admit that I need help that is something of a challenge.

Isabelle said...

Hmm. I have to admit that since I do most of the routine work around here, I simulate incompetence when it comes to one-off nasty things such as unblocking the toilet, picking up dead birds which have flown into the windows... or even woodworky things. Actually, the woodworky thing is because I would botch shelves etc together, while the chap has the patience to do them properly. Still, I applaud your attitude, both now and then.