HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Gender & Orientation » Men's Group (Group) » What Being a Handyman Has...

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 04:41 AM

What Being a Handyman Has Taught Me About Male Insecurity

When I was five years old, my two sisters, my parents, and I lived in a canvas tent on the side of a mountain in Western Montana for a month and a half. During that time, and with the help of our extended family, we built most of the cabin that would become our family vacation home. One of my jobs, which I took to with great enthusiasm, was to pound every nail that held the plywood flooring to the log beams on the second story. We barely got the cabin roofed-in in time for my dad to report to his new Army post, and, as I like to say, 40 years later we're still putting the finishing touches on it.

snip...

In interacting with my clients, who are, in general, not very handy around the house, I've been fascinated to observe the different strands of tension and awkwardness surrounding the process of ceding control of what was considered, not too long ago, to be the birthright and responsibility of a male homeowner.

http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/03/what-being-a-handyman-has-taught-me-about-male-insecurity/274426/

Interesting.....

5 replies, 2230 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 5 replies Author Time Post
Reply What Being a Handyman Has Taught Me About Male Insecurity (Original post)
Sherman A1 Apr 2013 OP
Warren DeMontague Apr 2013 #1
lumberjack_jeff Apr 2013 #2
MrSlayer Apr 2013 #3
Major Nikon Apr 2013 #4
discntnt_irny_srcsm Apr 2013 #5

Response to Sherman A1 (Original post)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 04:57 AM

1. I'm the only one in the house who can unclog a toilet.

My highly educated and successful wife believes I am well nigh a rocket scientist because I can even replace the flushing mechanism.

I figured out how to fix some simple issues with the Dishwasher, I'm Werner Von Braun.

To say the bar is set low for being "handy" in my house, is an understatement. I grew up with a dad who seemed "handy" in the he had a toolbox, but I don't remember him fixing much. He could get creative around Halloween, but I suspect the basement workshop was really a place to hole up and drink. After he was no longer with us, it was me and a house full of women- not that women can't be handy, but the ones I grew up around, not at all.

(In fairness, some of them are now)

So it was sort of a surprise when, in adulthood, I discovered that I am actually pretty good at taking things apart, putting them back together, figuring out how they work and fixing them. But I keep my humility and my sense of humor around the whole thing; and I sure as shit am not hung up on letting a professional deal with a problem that is above my admittedly limited skill set.

I actually notice the opposite phenomenon, when I deal with "handypeople"- many seem genuinely bemused or pleased that I'm actually interested in learning about what they do or taking on a modicum of DIY stuff around the house; I do think most people, particularly overworked corporate types- either think such things are "beneath" them, as the article mentions- or else they feel like they spend all their mental energy focusing on the one job they have their expertise in, they don't need to know, or care about, how the myriad other little bits and pieces of modern life function or fit together. Like, "I'm a developer who designs UIs and I'm good at it, that's what I do, so don't ask me where my furnace filter is"

That sort of thing.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Sherman A1 (Original post)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 11:03 AM

2. I'm not a pro handyman

 

but I have done my share of it.

I've also been in the position of taking over a project that a man had started and then aborted once he realized he was in over his head. This can be particularly shameful and embarrassing to some guys. While I must admit that part of me sometimes wants to say, "It's okay, little buddy, Daddy's here now," all I have to do is think about the times I have called tech support, near tears, to try and fix something I botched on a computer, and my empathy is restored.


I'd rather help out someone who tried to fix his own problem and fucked it up than someone who simply stands there with his hands on his hips who acts as if I'm speaking a foreign language when I ask him to hand me a box-end wrench.

There's no shame in asking for help, but refusing to try to do it yourself isn't a virtue (imho).

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Sherman A1 (Original post)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 05:47 PM

3. My wife does all the repairs and the like around the house.

 

She genuinely likes doing it and is a fair hand. I can do all of it as I am a professional tradesman but I never want to. When you do construction all day the last thing you want to do is come home and do more. Works out just fine for me.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Sherman A1 (Original post)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 08:23 PM

4. I built a pole barn with my dad

I think I must have been about 13 or 14. Whatever it was it was around the point at which I was physically able to dig post holes manually through hard clay. My dad assigned me the job of digging all the post holes, for 50 cents per hole (it took hours for each one). As I remember the barn was at least 30x70 and may have been as large as 40x80 so there were a lot of posts. Dad got most of the sheet metal for free, but we had to take it off a commercial building that was to be demolished. Some of the posts were oaks we took from our land. I did a lot of projects big and small with my dad and learned most of what there is to know about construction. Dad did a lot of odd jobs on the side and I was always elected to help.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Sherman A1 (Original post)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 10:28 PM

5. Insecurity

I guess that's as good a term as any other for what I was feeling. I worked a bit as a handyman between my consulting positions a while back. I took a job installing a set of fold down attic stairs. I wish that someone had a picture of my face after I had cut out and framed the hole and stood between the step ladder and the 80 lbs of stairs looking from the stairs to the hole and back trying figure how to get the stairs into the ceiling.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread