I Refuse To Apologize For Not Being Able To Do 'Guy' Things
OPINION 10/06/2039 12:44 AM ET
I Refuse To Apologize For Not Being Able To Do 'Guy' Things

Amos Tirney
A 2030s guy with a 1990s guy's sense of fashion

CC0 1.0 Image by skeeze | Writer image: CC BY 4.0 Fall 2013 Headshot by Yancy9 | Images were cropped. Images used for illustration purposes only.
Good for him, but guys can be other than predictable, traditionally-masculine tropes.
I consider myself diverse in many ways. I like to travel in as many different circles as I can. I like to run with different packs and engage a variety of different opinions, in order to, you know, enrich myself.

Most of my friends consider themselves similarly engaged. We take pride in our worldliness.

So the other night, I was cocktailing at this sweet little soiree in Manhattan thrown by a friend of a friend. I was hanging on his arm as his date; he's not gay but can't a man have a little fun on the wild side for a change?

I digress.

We mingled, I shook him off for a bit to solomingle, then re-engaged him and we found ourselves talking to a bunch of his friends. And we got to sharing what we do - turned out I had strayed into a den of lawyers (or is it a school? Or a murder? No, murder is what they help you get acquitted for).

At one point, we're talking about dishwashers. I don't know how we got on to dishwashers, but we're talking about the new Felix dishwashers and one of the lawyers - let's call him grey suit - mentions he recently had to fix his. I mentioned that I couldn't imagine having to fix a dishwasher!

"Why?" said grey suit. And the conversation just stopped. Twelve eyes stared at me.

I eventually babbled something about getting grease on a new polo shirt, but I was humiliated. The conversation kept going as I went a deep crimson. I had been outed as a non-fixer. I didn't even know that was still a thing!

You see, the implied accusation from grey suit's withering stare and withering "why?" was that, as a man, I should be able to fix things.

Let me just state: I do not fix things. I create things, sometimes I destroy things. I clean things, I tidy things. I do not "fix" things.

I had no idea we still gendered certain chores. I thought we were way past that line of thinking. Why exactly, is fixing a household appliance a "male" job? Why am I expected to be able to fix things? Is there some explicit code somewhere, that tells me that I should have to be able to do certain things?

Of course not. Gendered responsibilities, like so much in our world, are social constructs from a retrograde social contract. Which we superseded by being logical.

I cannot fix my car, nor should I be expected to just because I am male.
I cannot fix my bike chain, nor should I be expected to just because I am male.
I cannot bang a nail at a ninety degree angle into a piece of wood, nor should I be expected to just because I am male.
I cannot throw a football, nor should I be expected to just because I am male.
I cannot win an arm wrestle with most men, nor should I be expected to just because I am male.
I cannot kill a spider coming my way (I just can't) nor should I be expected to just because I am male.

You see where this is going? This is the same kind of traditionalized gender nonsense chiefly responsible for keeping women in the kitchen and out of the work force for hundreds of years.

This mode of thinking divides men and women, sets them apart and demeans them, stripping them of their agency and individuality as men and women (or other). Oppressing them with outdated notions of masculinity and femininity destroys their notion of themselves, reducing their ability to be simply who they are.

It robs them of respect and a place in what should be an inclusive society.

It humiliates them at Manhattan parties.

It's time for it to stop.
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