Honey-Do’s and the Gender Bias

This morning as I am unpacking even more boxes in our kitchen, Chris comes in a says that he needs to run to Home Depot (otherwise known as “The Place I Go to Feel Superior”) to get some paint. While he is there he is going to pick up some new plates for our electrical outlets, and could I take a minute and help him out by letting him know which plates in the kitchen I want to replace. So I make a little list. He comes back a few minutes later and starts to go over my list, essentially taking off almost every plate I asked him to replace. Finally, I say, “Then why did you ask me?” to which he replied, “Because I need your help.”

What a load of crap.

It has been like this for the past few days and its really starting to piss me off! I have discovered that needing my “help” is needing me to stand next to him and tell him what a great job he is doing. I know this because when I offer help, he gets irritated. For years he has laughed and made fun of me for not pitching in. Its no secret that I am a bit of a lazy beast. I don’t like to be dirty, I enjoy a good pedicure, and I like to wear jewelry in any situation. But now that we have a house, I’m actually enjoying things like painting, moving furniture, and even cleaning (sometimes). I mean, it still sucks and its still 1,000 degrees in the house, but I actually like looking at something that I’ve finished and being proud of it. For Chris, though, I’m cramping his style.

Take, for example, dinner last night. We had just finished putting a second coat of paint on the living room (which looks beeeutiful, by the way), and Chris was cleaning up so I went to the kitchen to make dinner. For the past few nights we have been grilling because there is too much stuff in our kitchen right now to really cook and because Chris has been working on the fence, I have been doing most of the grilling myself. So I’m taking out hamburgers and all of a sudden Chris comes running into the kitchen.

“What are you doing?” he asks (this is his new favorite question and he asks it whenever I am doing something that he did not specifically tell me to do).

“I’m getting ready to grill these hamburgers.”

“Well, let me do it,” he says. “Grilling is my job and I don’t want you to take it over just because we are in a new house. Ever since we got here you’ve been doing all the grilling. Grilling is a boy job.”

I laughed and kissed him and told him, fine, he could still be the Grill Master, but inside I was seething.

And then there was the painting of the living room. Not our finest hour. Chris decided that he would cut in and I would roll the room, since cutting in is clearly very challenging and therefore not possibly something I could do. I didn’t mind really because I found this fun little attachment for my roller to keep me amused. Now, rolling is not rocket science, but Chris found every chance to “critique” me as possible. I was leaving paint lines (I was not), I was dripping paint (one small little drip in one small corner of the entire room), I was not getting close enough to the edges (which is a matter of opinion), or I was getting too close to the edges (again, a matter of opinion). He was driving me crazy. Every now and then he would throw in a “you’re doing such a good job!” out there to keep me from killing him, but he was on my last nerve. And then – karma. Two seconds after he finished telling me I needed to get into the tiny corners better with my gigantor roller, he walks right into our new couch with his bright green paint brush! I would have killed him if the karma of the situation wasn’t so perfect.

Here’s the thing about me not pitching in before. It has always been a choice. And choosing not to help out during the first 10 years does not mean I can’t help out for the next 10 years. I choose not to help out because I’m lazy, NOT because I’m incompetent. Any monkey can line shelves in the kitchen, but Chris somehow believes these precision details have his name written all over them and I should just keep busy with cleaning out lint traps.

I’m a patient person (lie, lie, lie…), but I’m over this boy/girl thing. I’m obviously strong/smart/capable enough of moving large pieces of furniture, of sandpapering an entire room, of building a fence in the backyard (which I helped with and felt uber-manly when I was finished). If I can do these things, I can help with just about anything in this house. I keep reminding myself of all those single women out there who take out their own trash, put together their own bookshelves, carry their own pink toolboxes. When did it become debilitating to be a married woman? Marriage doesn’t mean that suddenly I can’t do the heavy lifting or decision making on my own.

(Side Bar: While this is no new revelation for millions of married women out there, this is all very new to me. For 10 years I have relied on Chris for just about every dirty job there is.)

I’m over this crap. If I want to grill, I’m going to grill. If I want to change the plate in one of the sockets, I’m going to change the plate. If I want to cut in a room we are painting, I’m cutting in. I’m a wife, dammit, not an 8-year old!

Now I’m off to drill a hole in something…

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4 Comments

Filed under Around the House, Changes, Husbands

4 responses to “Honey-Do’s and the Gender Bias

  1. maleesha

    One of the worst fights I ever got into with my husband had to do with which cabinets the pots and pans were going to go in when we moved into a new house. Seriously, it was almost over. Just remember…take a stand! What did you end up drilling a hole into?!?!?!?

  2. Jess

    Seriously!???? The two of you crack me up.
    No worries I won’t take sides, plus I don’t like to help out! Haa Haa and steven will attest to that, especially in the grilling anything to do with eating section.

  3. Chris Brown

    I disagree with this post and since I am again the topic of discussion (again) I feel like I should have a say in all of this. First of all, the reason I hold the paint brush is because one, you would drip paint all over the baseboards and couldn’t paint a straight line to save your life, and two it is a tedious job and you would be frustrated with it in minutes. Also if I’m holding the paint brush I can go behind you when you are in the other room and wipe up all of the drip marks around our living room (which I did frequently).

    Secondly, the grill situation, I admit what I said about you grilling and it should be my job (it always has been). But it is not so much because you weren’t capable of grilling, our dog could throw a burger on the grill… (well…. Lucy could throw a burger on the grill) It’s mainly because I do not enjoy burnt hockey pucks on a bun. I enjoy a nice, juicy, perfectly cooked (most of the time) burger. If I am grilling I can control this, if you are grilling I get a hockey puck.

    The fence I will give you. You were a huge help and I did not think you would last as long as you did, but you stuck it out! (Except for the 4 days after the fence that you were crying about a small bruise on your leg) To this I will gladly let you the next time I get a bruise from doing physical labor.

    So here’s to all of the women out there who read this and agree that they are going to stand up to their man and tell them (like Kate has done) that they can now do the grilling, lifting, and painting… good luck… Myself (and all of the spouses out there) will be on computer blogging about how our significant others don’t think we can do anything around the house. 🙂

    This actually sounds like its going to work out very nicely. Thanks.!

    Hey! Pipe down and get your own blog! Love, Your Wife

  4. Great Job
    interesting topic , I would like to read more on this topic and house paint.