I’m all for gender equality. I’m completely comfortable in a world where men wear pink and women sport blue; where women mow the lawn and men wash the dishes; where women crop their hair and men wear ponytails.
But even in a world as diverse and flexible as ours, there are certain activities that require a specific division of labor. In my universe, there are things that I would not ask or expect my wife to do.
As liberal as I can be, I see it as my MANLY DUTY to perform the following list of tasks, no questions asked:
1. Take out the trash.
2. When in the car together, I drive.
These things have always been assumed; they are intrinsic to both of us. We have never had a discussion about it, nor do I expect to have a discussion about it. They are automatic. Simply, it is what a man does.
Well, dear reader, that short list of required man things just got a bit longer. The list now reads:
1. You still take out the trash.
2. I don’t care how little sleep you’ve had, you are still driving.
3. Hang Holiday Lights on the House
The above words were my exact thoughts as I stood balanced at the top of a rickety expandable ladder, a tangled cord of holiday lights in one hand and a staple gun in the other. That, and Shit! Don’t look down… just concentrate on what you are doing… what a great post this would make… don’t look down…
From my vantage point, my wife looked like a miniature version of herself at the top of the driveway, blanket over her shoulders, nursing a hot mug of coffee. She watched me defy gravity, risking life and limb for the entertainment of the entire neighborhood.
“Damn, it’s cold out here,” she said as she disappeared back into the house, leaving me during the pinnacle of my life and death struggle.
All in the name of holiday cheer.
I called down to my brother-in-law, who was holding the base of the ladder.
“My life is in your hands.” He didn’t answer right away, which made me wonder if he took my words as the statement that it was, or a direction.
The ladder shook.
* * *
Back on Earth, with the ground firmly beneath me, I looked up at the house to admire the final outcome: Not quite the Griswold’s, but a noble effort nonetheless. Our lights burned into the night, boasting to the rest of the community of the holiday spirit that lived within.
A neighbor down the street, in the process of hanging his own lights, nodded his approval at me. Our next door neighbor called over at me. “I’ve got to do that tomorrow,” he said. “I leave for a business trip next week, so I promised the wife that I’d hang our lights before I flew out.”
“That’s what we do,” I called back, meaning, that is our manly duty.
He caught my drift. “It’s what we do,” he echoed before driving off to the store to stock up on his own holiday lights.
Satisfied, I strolled into the house, logged on to the laptop and started this post.