Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Pet peeves

I heard someone refer to herself as a girly-girl and give that as a reason for not being able to do something fairly simple mechanically - change the flush handle on a toilet - today. That's one of my pet peeves. In my extended family there's a lot of women. My mother was one of nine, I have thirty-plus cousins. I can't tell you the numbers of women, but will say that it's a lot. They vary from the always dressed well to the cowgirl. But I think every single one of them would disdain to use the girly-girl excuse for not doing something.

All of us have our different strengths and skills. Certainly mechanical stuff is not something that I have as one of mine. Yet there are many tasks that we can do even as we don't like them. Simple repairs whether to clothing or toilets are among them. My mother sent her sons out into the world able to iron, clean, cook, sew. If she'd had girls they'd have known how to change a tire, do simple plumbing and similar things.

Being able to do those things has nothing to do with being feminine. My mother certainly showed me that. My mother could go up and clean the gutters of leaves, then come back with her jeans still looking perfectly creased. She was one of those women where the wrinkles fell from her clothes and they looked perfect the moment they were on her. (That's really irritating for those of us who don't have that sort of magic.) Yet one of the anniversary gifts that she loved was a set of tools. That gift from my father meant that they each had their own set that they could use and keep arranged just the way they wanted. My mother was feminine, but strong and certainly never used her gender as an excuse for not getting things done.

So saying something like, "I'm a girly girl and just can't fix the problem." just plain irritates me.

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