Yesterday I mowed the lawn. All by myself.
Doesn't it look nice? See, it was getting so long that Maida was getting lost in the grass, and Crockett is still out of town. He usually does it, but I told him (in sort of a snotty voice), 'it's my house too, and I can do it'. Before we left for summer camp, he showed me the string pully thing and the gas cap and I very seriously nodded and then totally forgot.
Turns out it's not that hard. I mean getting the lawnmower to work. Actually using the lawnmower is a different proposition. It's heavy and noisy and stinky and unwieldy. I went to the gym afterwards and was able to do about 60% of my normal arm workout because my muscles were still in recovery from the shake of the handle.
After I finished the mowing, I called Crockett and declared myself a lawnmowing goddess. Then I sent him the picture you see above. Then I called him back, to hear more about how proud of my mowing he was.
Then, when I was at the gym, I remembered the recent Jezebel post titled Should Husbands Be Rewarded For Being Functional Human Beings?
The post includes a video of an Australian morning show in which some dude and two women are having the following discussion:
The dude: "Why not have a scheme with your husband that is not unlike a frequent flier scheme? Where say for example the husband did the vacuuming or the dishwashing, they got a lot of points that they could use for a week in Thailand with their mates? Something like that where you encourage them instead of expecting something for nothing."
The more outraged of the two women: "So you're saying treat you like three year olds? Why do you need that to do housework?"
The dude: "It's in our genetic makeup. We need incentive."
He comes across like a complete asshole, and when I saw it the first time I actually took the topic to a breakfast I was having with my friend Laura. Why do some people seem to feel that men should be praised and rewarded for doing housework? It only underlines the concept of housework being 'women's work', which isn't a great proposition for either gender. A man who loves to cook or really wants to spend time with his babies and knows that changing diapers is an important part of that can be made to feel effeminate, and a woman who doesn't feel either of those things can be made to feel like a failure.
Today, I took on what I (apparently) have always thought of as a man's chore.
If you'd asked me, I wouldn't have acknowledged that. I would have said no, I just prefer to be inside. Moving furniture around? Sure. Pushing around something heavy outside? No thank you. If you want more proof, I'll show you my garden - even traditionally 'lady' outdoor fun isn't my thing. I don't like dirt. Or bugs. Or plants that aren't in pots, really.
The thing is, when I was pushing the mower around the front yard, I wanted people to notice me. Cyclists and neighbors - I wanted them to see that I was taking on something that ... well, women in my neighborhood don't usually do. I wanted Crockett to tell me that I'm awesome. I wanted praise for doing something that is traditionally man's work.
Damn it all to hell.
Feminism is hard. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.
(A girlfriend of mine is getting into engagement ring mode, and she asked me if I ever looked at rings, and I explained my problem with said rings. She told me that feminism is fine until it gets in the way of having pretty things. I laughed. She wasn't kidding.)
Anyway. I mowed the lawn today. I also cleaned the kitchen, hung up a new shower curtain in the bathroom, and watched Piranha for the fourth time. No praise needed for any of it.
Actually - fuck it. Praise needed for ALL of it. That's how I roll now. Equal opportunity praise.