I’ve been living on my own for the better part of four years now. And mama didn’t raise no fool. This is the story of how I’ve managed to keep myself alive and functioning this long without my parents, and more specifically, without a man.
Having three girls left my father with no sons to traditionally teach the ways of “manhood”. So we were lucky enough to learn everything en lieu of this non-existant son. Yet, I was conflicted; I loved working outside with my dad and crawling into the basement spaces he couldn’t reach when doing electrical work, but I also loved my Barbie. And Ken was always there to fix her issues. So where was my man? Ready and willing to fix anything little thing in my life?
As I got older, moved out to Ottawa and had to fend for myself, I realized that these skills were hard to find in a potential suitor. I had friends who could sit down for hours and solve problems with my computer, but no one who could fix the shower head when it wasn’t spurting out enough pressure.
Moving out of residence and into a proper home presented even more challenges. In our quest to furnish our house, my girlfriends and I enlisted a friend at the time, who lived in the area and had a vehicle and drove us to IKEA to purchase some shelving. Upon returning to our house, he promptly laid down on my bed, claiming he’d “done his share by driving” and watched my roommate and I put it together. He admittedly later he just had no idea how to put it together.
When I needed a pair of needle nose pliers to fix the radiator in my room, I turned to my male friend who lived with his parents in Ottawa, assuming a family home would be well equipped with tools. Having no idea what a needle nose was (even after describing the pinched, “needle – like” nose) he resorted in just bringing me the full toolbox. Helpful, but unnecessary.
My disillusionment with the typical view of “manhood” would continue over the years. Toilets would be fixed with strategically wrapped hair ties, cupboards would be super glued together, and windows would be duck-taped shut. Spray paint could freshen up an entrance way and broken outlet covers could be easily replaced. Yet the whole while I awaited a man who could dote on me and fix these things for me. My modern knight in shinning arm wouldn’t come yielding a sword, he would arrive on my doorstep in a bow tie with a power drill.
The anarchy continued as I arrived in a new apartment with one female roommate and one male roommate. Hopeful, I dreamed of squealing over a spider and having him come kill it. I imagined a broken drawer that for once, someone else could nail together. But it was not to be. A wiz in the kitchen and a creative writer par excellence, my visions of a Mr. Fix-It faded.
It was my female roommate who stepped up with me, putting things together, watching them fall apart in their decrepid state, and then back together. Again. When the building’s Super stopped by to drop off some new outlet covers he handed them to my roommate and suggested we get our male roommate to put them on…
We ushered him out the door and assured him that we would in fact take care of it. We were more than capable.
The morale of the story? Four years later I’m still the Mrs. Fix-It would can survive anything by herself. Who needs a man to do your dirty work when you can have independence and your own set of power tools?