I love men. I love to talk to them. I love to hang out with them. I’ve learned over the years that not all men are created equal. I know plenty of guys who can fix anything and plenty who are clueless. Some guys do housework, dishes, and even windows. Others can’t figure out how to operate a laundry hamper to save their lives and think “E” on a gas gauge means enough. I know men who are so neat and tidy, you could eat off their kitchen floor and men who have grown science experiments in their kitchen fridges. I’ve been fed by guys who can cook their pants off and starved by guys who think Cheetos is part of a meal.
In other words, I like men. Tall, short, thin, chubby, serious, quiet, funny, feisty — men come in a lot of varieties. Sometimes a guy who doesn’t look like much has a lot to offer and the guy who seems to be a walking dream can turn out to be a nightmare. But one thing I’ve learned at my age is I don’t need to be rescued.
The truth is I love to fix things when I can. Even if I have to struggle to figure out how to make something work, I enjoy the challenge, even when I’m frustrated. There’s power in knowledge and capability.
Don’t get me wrong — I can’t do it all. When it comes to cars, I don’t have a clue. I can’t mow a lawn to save my life. But I can operate power tools. I’ve never sawed off a thumb with my jig saw and I’m quite adept at using my power drill. I’m not thrilled at climbing a ladder two stories without a safety harness, but that’s because I have the brains God gave me.
The other day, during a family gathering, I learned a very valuable lesson. The shelf of the freezer dropped and got stuck. At that moment, I was in a conversation with a female relative. Her immediate reaction was to ooh and ahh, to fuss and twitter about how complicated this situation was. “Let’s get one of the men to fix it,” was her solution. I had to ask her to excuse me. I couldn’t think with her yammering at me. And I was going to fix that &%#@ shelf if it was the last thing I did.
Call me stubborn. Call me persistent. Call me independent. I don’t want to be rescued unless I am stuck on an island without food or water. I don’t want anyone taking tools out of my hand while I am busy working. I don’t want anyone to tell me that I am incapable of operating an appliance that I am intimately acquainted with, inside and out. If I clean it, if I stock it, if I use it, I want to know I am worthy of caring for it.
Does that make me unfeminine? Too independent for men? Uppity? My female relative left the scene and did the unthinkable (in my eyes). She actually sent a man in to do the job for me. By the time he arrived, however, I had replaced the shelf and the rubber bumper. He laughed when he saw me triumphant.
I don’t mind help from anyone, male or female, when I actually need help. Heaven knows there are plenty of times I could use a hand. But I want the chance to do what I can do on my own, without being told I shouldn’t do it or can’t do it. I don’t want to spend my life on the sidelines, waiting for life to happen to me. I want to be an active participant. I want to keep learning, keep growing, keep finding new things that interest me in life. As a baby boomer, I know that the more I can do, the stronger I am.
As for attracting men, I make a killer chocolate cake from scratch, always appreciate a door that’s held for me, and am not in any hurry to reach for a check when I am out with a guy who makes more money than I do. I’m not out to outdo men. I’m out to outdo myself. So, don’t panic if you see me trying to fix something. I’ll send up the white flag if I really need help. Otherwise, stand back. Ms. Fix-It is in the building!