A Draining Morning

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Do you ever have so much going on that you want to share that you shut down entirely and say nothing? That’s been me, lately. I don’t know where to start so I … haven’t started. But there’s one thing I want to talk about, and I’ve been holding off because I don’t want to accidentally offend anyone. I’ve been put in that position recently on the blog, and now I have to write with my tiptoes. As you can imagine, those contortions aren’t comfortable.

A not-funny thing happened, that led to something funny, that led to a not-funny thing. I feel a rant of sorts coming on…

There was a clog in our big outside drain pipe. It was my fault. So of course I should be the one to fix it.

I have a plumbing snake, but it was too short to reach the clog. Being creative and not willing to either give up or pay someone, I electrical-taped an old shower hose to the snake, as an extension. It was still too short! So I electrical-taped a new shower hose to the old shower hose that was taped to the snake. Good thing I keep things like two unused shower hoses, eh? You just never know when random junk around the house might come in handy! Hoarder? Naw, just prepared for any eventuality. I choose to believe that. Nahnahnah I can’t hear you, Socks…

In any case, in the process of being shoulder deep in a big drain pipe, I got shit-water on me. I got it on my arms, on my hands (despite the gloves I changed about nine times in the course of my work), on my pants, on my shirt, and on my FACE. Yeppers: Poo-soup, on my face.

That’s funny, to me. I rather deserved poop all over me: I caused the problem. How, I will not detail. It was an attempt to save myself work that backfired badly. If it got in my eyes or mouth – maybe not so funny!

What really isn’t funny: someone saw me doing the work and asked about it. After I explained I was told, ‘That’s a man’s job. You tell your husband I said so!’

It wasn’t even physically challenging, unless you count kneeling on concrete for ages (ow). I didn’t explain why it was me doing the job beyond the simple answer that I’m plain-old-better at this sort of job. Hubby and I each have our talents, and this is one of mine, such as it is. I can deal with poop-soup on my face and clothes way better than he, and I deal with the frustrations of how long it takes to clear a big clog more calmly, too.

This is not to say that I don’t have a horrible temper that rockets off into incandescent rage for what seems like no reason (to anyone but me). Plumbing issues aren’t one of the things that piss me off – I don’t know why (or why not).

But this wasn’t a “man’s job”: it was a dirty, smelly, disgusting job. I have never believed that just because I don’t have a penis, I should be automatically exempted from doing dirty, smelly, disgusting work. I’m pretty sure every mom out there would back me up on that. Also: every female pet owner, every female carer for an elderly person, every female doctor or nurse – I could go on. How much excreta of various kinds and from various species do women deal with on a daily basis? I can’t imagine just because it was flushed it means it is less icky, can you? Hell, at least I knew who pooped the poop – a stranger’s poo would likely make me gag.

I’m not angry at the person who made the comment – he didn’t give me time to think about and explain why it was sexist. To be honest, I doubt I would have bothered, because I feel the comment was sexist toward men, too. I’m just as tired of hearing that men should be the ones to do all the physical work as I am at hearing that women shouldn’t do any of it.

Has anyone else had a moment like this? What did you do or say? I think next time it happens, I’ll say a lot more in response, myself.

23 responses »

  1. Yes, actually I have been told that, on numerous occasions. I’m a very independent sort and quite mechanically capable so I do a lot of supposedly male things. Just last year my elderly neighbor assumed it was my boyfriend on the ladder putting up the Xmas light. Boy was he surprised when he came around the corner and saw my derriere and not the bf’s! Once in a Home Depot this really old guy saw me reaching for a 60 lb bag of water softener salt. Before he could get there and help me with it, I picked it up and put in the basket with ease. He looked me up and down and said, “I’m scared of you!” haha right? And one more…when I was college and won an Army ROTC scholarship I was told straight up that I shouldn’t have won it because I was a woman. That I must have cheated and used my vaginal powers to out physically, mentally and emotionally perform the men. Who knew my vagina could do all that?! You are not alone sister, not at all.

    • Magic vagina powers! I want a cartoon made.

      It happens too often – and at first, I thought it was funny, but it isn’t. It’s sad that he didn’t mean it except as a compliment, actually. As, I’m sure, “I’m scared of you!” guy did. Your last example is just horrid.

      • Even tho it was a compliment, he assumed that I couldn’t first. That’s the part that irked me somewhat. As for the ROTC thing, I still get furious every time I think about it. PS: Am drafting my new SuperV character now!

  2. Funny; I’ve always wondered why people consider certain kinds of shitwork “women’s work.” You know, infants and their effluvia, and as you say, sick people and old people. But when it’s TECHNO shit, with pipes and things involved, then it’s a man’s job?

    Speaking of infants, I pushed the envelope on my new gym yesterday. The only thing not to like about the place is the “Kids’ Club,” which is behind GLASS WINDOWS so that you can actually see the little snotballs disporting themselves as you pass by from one part of the gym to the other. Yesterday they were shrieking shrilly like factory whistles, at random intervals over a quarter hour period, while I was practicing new and not quite smooth moves with large kettlebells over my head thanks very much. I finally slammed the door of the KIDS CLUB open and told them to shut up. Everything infants exude is a form of shit, even if it’s only a vibration. (They didn’t throw me out, so someone must agree with me there.)

    • I have an awfully hard time of thinking of a hole in the ground as technology! Maybe it’s a penis thing – the sight of a woman repeatedly shoving something into a hole makes them uncomfortable?

      Good for you, and I hope they did shut the hell up until you left, at least. I have a new hatred, myself – radio ads that use crying babies. What the fuck? Way to make sure I never ever use your product or service, idiots.

  3. I see it.
    I’ve always done the yard work: mowing, trimming, mulching, planting – I’m just better at it – don’t do it sloppy and figure out how to make it pretty with as little work as possible/low maintenance.
    My husband is better at super super clean house cleaning. It works for us although people think it odd and make comments.
    Doesn’t bother me although it does bother him…an image thing I guess.
    He does all the cars stuff, though – it’s more of a hobby for him.

    • Maybe that’s part of it – the planning? I wear clothes that need washed and have a load of laundry ready to go once I’ve changed out of poop-clothes, I don’t wear my fancy gear like he would and ‘hope’ it won’t get on me. I’m the plumber, the furniture assembler, the one who tightens screws, oils hinges… I’m also better at car stuff, sadly – but I’m baffled by the Mini as it is too damn congested under the hood! Unfortunatley neither of us cleans very well :) He’s okay with the vacuum as it’s a Dyson and he swears any man will “Hoover” if they have a hi-tech thingie like Dyson. But he doesn’t get the corners!

  4. If I can’t, really can’t, or don’t want to do the job, I’ll hire someone to do it. But that doesn’t mean I believe that there are some jobs meant for women and some for men. Being single, I often end up doing stuff that I wish I had a man around to pawn it off on. But still, I feel a sense of real accomplishment when I tackle something myself and succeed. The more you try to do as a woman, the more you can do.

    • I pawn the laundry off on himself because I hate it. I don’t mind the folding, but something about all the sixteen types of soap and whatnot irritates the hell out of me! I don’t really have a “manly man,” anyway (sorry hon). The muscled ones just aren’t my type, I like the brainy ones who usually don’t do much in the way of exercise.
      You really never know if you can, or cannot, do something until you try, right? And if there is no one else to ask for help, you keep trying as long as you can, and most of the time it gets done. Fabulous feeling! I feel a bit sorry for those who never try hard jobs or give up right away.

Thoughts? Gardening tips? Cocktail recipes? Don't just like and leave, please - I can talk for Ireland and would love to prove it!

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