Gender (In)Equality

I am not a feminist. Ladies, ladies, before you muster up a lynch mob or kick me out of the Sisterhood, let me ‘splain… no, there is too much, let me sum up. (Gold stars for those that get the reference.)

Without going into an exhausting, dogmatic diatribe about equal rights, it suffices to say that I prefer to think of myself as a Humanist. I believe that every human being warrants the same basic rights, regardless of race, creed, sexual identity or gender. In addition, I genuinely believe that our differences don’t devalue us – they should be celebrated; it’s what makes us interesting.

Regardless of how I feel about gender equality, the irony is that after over a decade of marriage I did indeed find that we slipped into trivial gender roles.  In the scheme of things it wasn’t significant – for example, in 14 years I don’t think I ever plunged a toilet. It’s not a hard thing to do and I certainly know how. I just didn’t.

Over the weekend, tired of precarious perching, I replaced my toilet seat. I probably could have asked the landlord to do it, but for $20 I figured I’d just make it happen on my own schedule. Honestly, it’s not really that big of a deal – two bolts off, replace, two bolts on. Five minutes, and done. And yet I felt absurdly handy.

Proud of my plumbing related aptitude, I proceeded to buy a car. Here’s the thing, in stereotypical chick fashion, I care very little for cars. My biggest concern is dependability and affordability; I have very little interest in rims and turbo and horsepower… When I’m meeting someone and they tell me what model they drive, I inevitably ask for a color and then fervently hope there isn’t an overabundance of blue cars in the parking lot. I can change a tire and check my oil; I simply don’t follow Car Weekly. Just. Not. Interested.

In the past I’ve always relied on the men in my life to help me choose the right vehicle. I simply let them know what I can afford and what I need it for (long commute, space for transporting, etc.) and let them recommend some models. Then I would drag them to the dealership with me as back up, to beat the snake-oiled salesmen down in price. Not that I’m incapable, I just prefer to pass the buck.

salesman

Of course I’m on my own now and there’s no marital-obligated support team. Purchasing a new vehicle wasn’t really in the playbook, but my car had an accident that left it with $2,400.00 in body-shop repairs. (Yes, you read that correctly – the car had an accident without me. I wasn’t even there!) Of course insurance was writing that check, but it got me thinking. My car had over 165,000 miles on it. It would require about $900.00 to pass inspection. In terms of cash flow, it made far more sense to use the insurance check to trade up.

So I did all my research, poured over car dealership websites. I compared fuel efficiencies and consumer reviews. I contacted a dealership and arranged to test drive about 8 different vehicles. And then I let the salesman sell me something that wasn’t on the menu. I do feel kind of sheepish that all my planning and research came to naught. However I have no buyer’s remorse – I love the car and I got an excellent deal. And I did it all without a man to hold my hand.

car

Oh the places we shall go…


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