Monday, December 10, 2007

Different by Design??

This is a recreational post. I am burned out on serious blogging. I won't tell you what I googled to get this comment but it is real,
    Sure, there are lots of things that men and women CAN both do. I can kill cockroaches (I let the spiders live tho because they are our bug-eating friends). I can change lightbulbs. I can go on vacations by myself, and I can walk alone at night. But that doesn't mean I want to or even feel safe doing so. Every time I get in a taxi alone, I call someone and tell them the licence plate of the driver's car. Everytime I leave my home to go on a bike ride, I take my cell phone which is full of (male) students I could call in case of an accident or emergancy.

    When I had a bunch of funiture delievered that needed to be put together--sure I had the ability and smarts enough to put it all together by myself. BUT, I didn't want to Just because I can doesn't mean that I am created for it. I asked a few of my male students to come take care of it for me. They did--AND they ENJOYED doing it. In return, I did what I enjoyed--I took care of their physical hunger and thirst for the afternoon. :)

    We are designed differently.

    And just because I am able to live alone does not mean I don't still long for and need protecting. It does not mean I still don't long to take care of and help the men in my life. Being a "helper" or "helpmate" doesn't make me less important--it makes me feel good and valued and right.
What I learned from this is that a 28 year-old woman, who is entirely capable of putting together her own furniture which comes in a carton from the nearest big box retailer, actually acted like she did not know how to do this in order to give her male students the experience of knowing that men and women are designed differently. How would they feel if they read this comment?

I work with a group of single women over 50, previously married and no longer married for a series of unhappy reasons, none of them being that these women don't want to be married. It is the consensus that the main difference between living with a man and living without a man, in the post-baby age group, is that you have to change your own light bulbs.

Most women have never had a husband fend off an intruder or rescue them from the path of an oncoming car. It just doesn't happen that often, so they don't miss it.

Women help other women when their life is messed up. If there is a risk of violence any man in his right mind will tell you to call the police or the appropriate authorities instead of trying to handle it himself.

And anyone can assemble furniture. In my house the teenage daughter likes that job. If females can assemble furniture then I think females are created for figuring out how to assemble furniture. Okay, my traditional mom bought tinkertoy for us girls. I can't help it.

Putting the whole baby thing aside, I really wonder what the gender based responsibilities are in a household. In the over 50 crowd, most women will not ask their husband to help with heavy lifting. Having to care for someone who has put their back out is a very difficult task.

I think if you want to live with a man, it really is not useful to pretend you can't do things. I think it is better to be honest and say that some things seem difficult because you are not used to doing it, some things fall within the professional expertise of your spouse or partner, some things are tiresome or distasteful. I think it might be nice to say that you like your partner just "because" instead of having a list like men kill spiders, trace license plates and assemble furniture.

Okay the truth is I have to get back to work. Bye.


R. Mansfield said...

For the record, Kathy kills all the spiders in our house. They scare the willies out of me for some reason.

But mice are mine to trap. And once we had a snake in the house. She ran screaming. I clobbered him with a snow shovel before realizing it was simply a garter snake that I could have picked up by hand.

Ruud Vermeij said...

I can paper the walls, I can repair flat tyres, I can change light bulbs; but because I am lazy (err... I mean, because I feel I am designed different) I am looking for a women who is designed to be my helper, so I can do more important things (like playing the piano, watching television, posting satirical reactions on Suzanne's weblog)...

Kevin Knox said...

I hope you don't mind too much if I'm not as funny as Mr. Mansfield or Mr. Vermeij. I know you said this is a recreational post, but you went and made it so thoughtful. What's a guy to do?

It is the consensus that the main difference between living with a man and living without a man, in the post-baby age group, is that you have to change your own light bulbs.

I would pay money to hear more thoughts on this subject.

As I read your post, I read into it a lot of the detritis I've picked up over the years on this subject. As near as I can tell, once a lady has had babies her desire to remarry is, ummm, gone with the wind. It's enough to make me think the real definition of Teshuqa regards the desire for babies. We've heard more than once how ya'll figured out how to get the lid off the peanut butter in a pinch.

Surely God invented marriage such that ya'll want something from it besides the babies. Don't ya think?

Of course the main thing for unmarried guys is we no longer have any reason to change the light bulb.

Suzanne McCarthy said...


Yup, I do know how to get the lid off a pickle jar without a man.

To your point, I agree, I don't think it is nice to want to marry just for the babies. But, definitely most women want babies. If a woman is going to marry she should also want to have babies.

Okay, without getting too personal, let me talk about my family. Many women in my family married young and had babies. We wanted to get married because

1. Men have more power than women, so a woman wants to be attached to a man.

2. Every woman wants to be wanted.

3. Single women don't have much social status. Women want social status.

4. Women like to decorate and create a home.

5. Women want to have babies.

However, I have several female relatives who married for the first time in their post-baby years.

Therefore, women must actually still want to be married even though they know they can support themselves, they will not have babies, they can change their own lightbulbs, etc, etc.

I do think that the highest ideal must be to want to marry, not because you need some practical skill that the other person can supply, (it is better to hire the appropriate technician for that) but to marry for companionship and intimacy. In my estimation many women do want that.

However, I appreciate what you are saying and I am glad that you spoke out about the guys side to all this. Since I post so much off the cuff stuff sometimes, I think it is good to have a bit tossed back at me.

I work with a group of women my age, 5 or 6 of them divorced. And all of them talk about meeting the right person some day. They do want to date, but there are not many venues for meeting people.

I agree that there are some women who don't want to remarry, but most of the women I know at least want a partner. They are constantly checking the online dating services, etc.

When I wrote this post, I meant, I really want to just simply like someone as a best friend and go from there. I certainly do not want to have a list of things like

1. can open jars

2. can change light bulbs

3. can assemble furniture

4. can beat an intruder over the head with a baseball bat.

But if someone is good at something, then I would admire that, for sure. I just wouldn't say, "because you are the guy, you have to be good at guy stuff and because I am a woman I have to be bad at guy stuff." That's what I mean - I don't like that.

I like guys myself, but I will reflect on what you have said here.

Alaska said...

I would say that a woman wants to marry for the same reason that a man wants to marry: to have a companion for this life.


I think that fits into the text of Gen. 2, as well: Adam was alone and it was not good. God created Adam the perfect partner, and Adam responded with great delight. He was delighted to have a COMPANION who, beyond the companionship of a same sex friend, could have a union that brought forth literal fruit, as well as fruit that was less visible (such as the fruit of a good relationship).

I think that in a relationship that is right and good, this is the natural human response. (Unfortunately, "the law of sin and death" often clouds a lot of this out).

Anonymous said...

To quote Princess Leia from StarWars, "I happen to like nice men."

People like to be accepted socially, but also to be though special to someone, to be important to another person. It's a basic human need, not a gender-based need. How we fulfill that need is, I think, where men and women may differ as a general rule.

Don't tell anyone ;-), but sometimes I actually PAY my husband to do the dishes. I hate housework but work at home so I do most of the daily drudgery, but sometimes I just would rather bribe someone else to do it. He wants some extra cash, and I hate doing dishes; that's true complementarianism!

Babies can of course be seen as fulfilling an important part of a woman's sense of accomplishment, but for me personally, I'll never get tired of being needed or wanted by another adult. Especially a cute guy.

J. K. Gayle said...

Wow, what a funny post and an amusing conversation!

Remember the episode of "I Love Raymond" where Ray "fakes incompetence" to get his wife to do stuff, and then teaches his little brother to do that with his fiancée, but it all backfires? Isn't such incompetence among (us) men, husbands and grooms to be, all too common? What games, both ways.

Kevin Knox said...

Well Phew!

I was starting to get worried there. :-)

And if you ever need it, I have a hammer that works equally well for pickle jars and light bulbs.

Anonymous said...

I almost got a mouthful of wine all over this keyboard when my wife said "Just because I _can_ bear children doesn't mean I am created for it." :-)