Sunday, November 21, 2010

[Weekly Whimsy] "Let The Boys Do It"

[Welcome to Weekly Whimsy! Loquacious lets loose, laying low long-lived lamentations on living as a lady.]

[Absolutely not at all in response to Dethtron, but it's pretty fitting.]

"When a man asks a woman, "Would you like help with that?", what he's really saying is:
"Would you like some d**k?" "- Chris Rock, Bigger & Blacker


I honestly and truly don't see myself as a feminist. I have too many old fashioned values for that; but I am a highly modern woman, trying to get by in a (mostly) modern world.

I have three brothers, two of whom are very close to me in age. We were raised to be individual people, able to fend for ourselves. I learned to change a tire and change the oil as well as how to mend a button and change a baby's diaper. These were standard life skills my parental unit thought would help me get along in this world.

I spent most of my younger life trying to "hold my own" with "the boys". That meant fart jokes, arm wrestling, noogies, Indian burns, playing with trucks, dirt, bugs and Star Wars toys. It meant  dirt bikes, rating (and commenting on) girls, and many other non-traditional activities for a girl. [I am a thumb wrestling champion, and can play "Mercy" with the best of them.]

I  worked hard to fit in with those two (and later, three) misfits, and enjoyed learning about the other side of the coin. I wandered into gaming, which is pretty heavily populated by the male kind. I had no problem adjusting because I already thought and acted in ways pretty similar those in my circle of friends (read: men).

As I grew up and became more obviously female (in some very noticeable ways, some just confusing), I worked at staying "one of the guys"; because it was the easiest and best way to continue the level of respect these guys had for me. Suddenly having boobs made this just a little weird, but I did try to work around it.

Now that I'm an adult- a wife, a mother and very much a female; I have found that relying on some of my old tricks still work to help me with fitting in with guys. For the most part, my friends know they can drop scat jokes, make comments on the female figure, and otherwise rip on "male stuff" around me and I can pretty well hold my own.

It's when I get into physically moving something or tackling math that my hackles get raised.

As an adult woman, I don't honestly mind if a guy holds the door for me. I don't see it as patronizing- I see it as courteous. I'm just as likely to hold the door for a guy with a baby or for a little old lady- it has nothing to do with gender and everything to do with being nice. [I am exceptionally guilty of that particular trait.]

It's when there's an automatic assumption that ovaries equal inability to pick up heavy things, or do general sums or subtraction that rankles my ire in very serious ways.

There's a certain mindset, an attitude and belief that I've experienced- that guys need to do all the heavy lifting- that is pretty aggrevating. I've encountered guys that are scrawny & puny; yet they still insist on trying to 'carry my books' or any of the other physical endeavors I might be pursuing. It's more than a little offensive to be treated like I'm not a capable adult simply because I have an "innie", not an "outie".

I'm a big tough girl and I can handle physical work a lot better than most guys I know. If I get to a point where I can't do something, I'll be pretty clear and ask for help. It's the assumption that because I'm a girl that I can't carry a box that pisses me off.

The other area that seems to bring out the creepy behavior is any sort of mathematics.  Apparently boobs disqualify me from being able to even attempt anything involving numbers. I''ve seen a guy interrupt me in the middle of a private conversation to insert his magical numbers wisdom- and this has happened more than once. Many times, it's someone I don't even know.

I will gladly admit that I'm bad at certain functions or equations- but it's not because I'm a girl. It's because I suck at math. I'll gladly ask for help if I need it, but someone randomly inserting themselves into my conversation because they heard a female voice is just a  kick in the junk.

I generally handle it by waving a guy off, or telling them to put my shit down. I'm pretty verbal and I'm not afraid to tell someone off for stepping over my boundaries. I just don't like having them stepped on in the first place. As a girl in a crowd of men, it gets a little tiring to have to deal with the same problems over and over, but I'm not afraid to tell a guy where to stuff it if it gets a little crazy.

The single biggest element that will diffuse this potential angst fest is a polite question- "would you like some help". Yeah, Chris Rock might be attributing a little motive, but as a woman, I appreciate you treating me like a person and not a landing strip.

Again, to me, offering to help someone has more to do with simple courtesy than gender, race or age; and I'll give a pass to a guy with manners over a dick trying to invade my space any day.

Be Well,



  1. Heh, you know, I've actually gotten reamed out because I held a door open for a woman. The best part of that was that she had her hands full, and when I just let go of the door, it slammed into her.

  2. Did you intend to post this at 13:37?

    Another quality post. I hold doors for both genders, just because that's the sort of guy I am. I have had the odd woman take it as an insult, but I've had more people seem surprised. What bugs me (either gender) is when I'm completely ignored like I'm the doorman. I don't do it for recognition, but it's nice.

    Sometimes though, women do perpetuate the stereotypes. Expecting us menfolk to hold doors, give them the passenger seat in cars, do the heavy lifting and so on - all things most of us would do anyway, but acting more like it was expected of us or never offering to help on larger tasks.

  3. Omg Dave, I have never thought about doing that. As relatively obsessed with the number as I am, I think I may have to start scheduling my posts as such. (when I get back to having time to post more, ugh)

    Some friends of mine like to play a game they call "The Passive-Aggressive Doorman" in which they will hold a door open for someone who is heading towards the door but is still quite far away. The idea is that it makes the person they're holding the door for inconvenience themselves by running to the door and then thanking my friends when they get there. It's quite funny how often it works.

    While it bothers me that there are ladies out there who will tear your head off just for opening the door for them regardless of the reason (as in Harald's example), it bothers me even more that they are relatively justified in feeling that way. Granted it may not be the norm (and surely it isn't why I hold doors or carry things for people), but there certainly exist men who actually think that way.

    It's an odd sort of thing, really, though. "You're a puny woman, let me carry that for you" It starts out with a stereotype insult, but then ends in a selfless act? I suppose the motivation is more along Mr. Rock's indications, but I imagine they aren't all that way. Surely there must be some people (a niche within a niche, perhaps) who are polite, well-meaning bigots. Not that that makes it any better, it just seems strange to me.

  4. Zheilt - suggesting bad things are ok if the intentions were good, though ignorant is dangerous territory. Someone who carries things for women only because they think they're weaker is someone who needs a wake up, not applause for a "selfless act". (Because at that point I don't really think it's that selfless)