When I made the decision to buy the Boyfriend a dresser for his birthday, I had two things to consider. The first was whether or not a piece of storage furniture was a dick girlfriend gift. (Happy Birthday! Now put your Goddamn socks away!) (It is.)
The second was whether or not it was possible to put the thing together without chipping the new $10 nail polish I bought from Ulta. (It wasn’t.)
Notice how “Whether or not I would be able to assemble the dresser on my own” wasn’t either one of the factors I had to weigh in? This is mostly because I’m not that stupid and hammering in a few dozen wooden pegs is well within my capabilities.
I mean, following IKEA instructions isn’t exactly quantum-physics. Or regular physics. In fact, it’s not even 2nd-grade phonics. The directions are so simple they don’t even burden you with written words. You can be illiterate in 40 different languages and still possess the ability to furnish a small mansion.
So why is this type of thing considered a man’s job? Because emotional detachment and a penis are listed nowhere in the “things you will need” section of the directions. And even if they were, I have the former, and I could easily find a convincing substitute for the latter with a quick trip to my local sex shop or to the bottom of my clothes hamper. Whichever offers the most discretion and is more easily accessible.
But luckily, none of that is necessary. I’ve already got everything I need. Hammer? Check? Flat-head screwdriver? Check. Other kind of screwdriver? Check. Dignified supply of common sense? Check. Opposable thumbs? Check and check. So, what the hell is the holdup?
Well, for me, the holdup is usually my boyfriend, or my father, or some completely generic male friend or relative that insists that whatever rudimentary task I’m about to undertake is a “man’s job.”
Whatever. Chauvinism (or chivalry, depending on how you look at it) isn’t the issue for me. Honestly, combating heteronormativity and traditional gender roles, proving my own self-reliance and honing basic life skills don’t have that much to do with why I usually do “man” jobs without bothering to ask for help. The real reason: sick twisted joy.
And this brings me to my most important point. I actually like doing "man" chores, though that never ever occurs to anyone. Heavy lifting, light handy work, checking car fluids, opening stubborn jar lids, and squishing bugs. There’s just something about getting dirty, feeling strong and making banging noises that drives me wild.
And then there's my fetishized obsession with assembling furniture. For years I wondered why I found that so much fun and this weekend the proverbial light bulb finally went off. I realized that I love putting stuff together because I love figuring things out. And not only do I love the challenge of the process, I love the feeling of accomplishment I have once it’s finished. Because not only do I finish, but I finish pretty damn well.
So putting furniture together is right up my alley. It combines my fascination with simple tools with my talent of problem solving, with my passion for being really impressed with myself. What’s not to love?
And if I enjoy those types of man chores and can do them better than most people I know, man or otherwise, why the hell would I give the task to some boy? That’s like a clueless lover offering to give me an orgasm and then to experience the orgasm for me.
Um, thanks, but no thanks. I got this.