…And their lives are better than yours…because I never call them to help me fix anything.
It’s not easy being a handywoman. When men find out that I not only have a toolbox, but that it’s filled with things beyond a basic hammer, they have one of two reactions: they either like it or are put off, because they immediately assume I don’t need them. Or maybe they’re just freaked that I own a hacksaw–who knows.
I’m unsure as to whether handywomen are born or made, but I am willing to bet that growing up in a home with a fix-it father and two equally fixity brothers probably had something to do with it.
Words such drywall, Allen wrench, socket wrench, spark plug, soldering iron were in my childhood vernacular out of necessity; it was only way I could communicate with all the men around me. Many of my childhood memories include fetching them tools and perusing the aisles of our local hardware store.
I didn’t realize how much all this handy-ness had rubbed off on me until I found myself nailing drywall with my father and enjoying it. Then as a teenager I decided to change out all the electrical sockets in my bedroom…by myself. The look on my father’s face when I told him what I’d done was that of “what kind of monster have I created.” Stupid? Absolutely. But nothing caught fire, so there is that.
Unfortunately, I did not grow up in a house of handymen who always FINISHED anything, leading me to vow that I would not marry a man who could fix anything. Not a damn thing. I wanted a man who knew how to pick up the phone and call someone to come do it for us–a quality I found and loved in my ex-husband. Sure, he had the ability to fix things and often did–but would rather spend his time doing almost anything else. He didn’t mind me being a handywoman, and became quite accustomed to finding me up on a ladder or the roof of the house.
Many years later, after my divorce, I had completely forgot what it was like having a handyman in the house–and I didn’t care. I hung curtains, light fixtures and patched drywall myself. It never occurred to me to call for help.
Then apparently the Universe decided I needed a lesson in letting go by not only bringing me a handyman–I got the MacGyver of handymen.
At first he thought it was cute that I could fix things, but when I noticed him getting frustrated that I never called him asking for help, I knew I would have to learn to let go (but my inner fix it control freak was not behaving.) So, like a good Jewish Mother, the Universe again stepped in.
The toilet broke in my apartment, and when I saw it just needed a new part, I went to the hardware store and purchased a whole new flushing mechanism, fully intending to install it (and if you’re about to ask why I didn’t just call the landlord you’ve clearly not been paying attention.)
While telling my boyfriend of my plans to fix the toilet, I could see the look in his eyes. It was that kind of sheepish “please let me do this for you” look. So I did what any smart woman would do looking into those hopeful brown eyes; I handed him the tools.
You know what? Fixing a toilet isn’t as easy as it looks–even for a guy who knows what he’s doing. AND it takes some serious upper body strength to work that big wrench. I really DID need him to help me, and shuddered to think of the mess I would have created had I attempted this myself.
So I watched…and then I really watched. Gazing down at him, fixing my toilet, wearing Levi’s and black boots, shirtless with muscles flexing I realized at that PRECISE moment why I needed to let him fix things for me more often…and why so many porn movies begin with this exact scenario.
Talk about an epiphany. Bow chicka wow wow….
Once I was done acting like the shameless lady of the house, I decided that, euphemisms aside, while I would still proudly own a toolbox, there would be times when his tools were unarguably better than mine.
The undeniable truth is that his mechanical skills FAR outweigh mine–hell they surpass those of most people. He constantly blows my mind with his ability to fix pretty much anything, and it’s hard to impress me in that way.
So it turns out I do like being helped–and saying thank you. But what made it easier (aside from the porn factor) was the knowledge that he does love my handy side. Once while working together on a project, I climbed up a ladder to drill holes. He turned to our friend, smiled and said, “that’s why I love her.”
To a handywoman, it was a moment more poetic than Shakespeare.
So I have come full circle, and like in my childhood, I’m once again living with a handyman. Except in the modern version of this story, we are a household with two toolboxes (and lots of spare tools for backup.) I’ve learned to let go, and he’s learned that his fix it uniform is Levis, no shirt and motorcycle boots.
I’ve also learned that the best way of saying thank you would be to honor his request that I begin wearing a French Maid outfit while I clean the house–which ironically is how many other porn movies begin. Ohhh la la.