OP/ED: When gender stereotypes become a day-to-day reality
Prologue: This column is loaded with sexual stereotypes and may offend some readers, which bothered me a bit while I was writing it. I realized, however, that there also seems to be a small bit of truth to most stereotypes (that’s what made them stereotypes in the first place). And that is, in my opinion, what makes them sort of funny. I am not an advocate of gender stereotypes, nor am I too politically correct to avoid using them entirely. In this particular column, their use seemed unavoidable.
I live my life surrounded by men. Everything in my house is male. EVERYTHING. I have one husband, two sons, two male dogs, one male cat and even the beta fish was a freakin’ boy (unfortunately Nemo passed away before the publication of this column, RIP Nemo). I guess it is my lot in life to be surrounded by adoring men, which makes me feel blessed. I take it as a compliment; after all, you are only given what you can handle, right?
And I do handle it; In fact, I handle it well in my humble opinion.
I just stare all of the testosterone in the eye and say “bring it on!”. I can take almost everything; the snoring, the smelly feet, and even the mantrums (for those of you who aren’t aware, that’s a man tantrum, I’m not sure if you can Google that word yet). I love all of my boys, but there are certain male tendencies that have me pulling my hair out.
For example, is remembering to put the toilet seat down after you are done impossible for the male species?! Or is it just my men who seem unable to complete such a task? How about aim? It is amazing where I have found pee in my bathroom; it is disgusting and remarkable all at the same time. If awards were given for how far up the bathroom wall you can get your pee, my kids would be gold medalists. How hard is it to get it in the can, for Pete’s sakes!
Here’s another one that I love - finding dirty socks on the floor right beside the laundry basket.
Right beside it.
I’ve also had the pleasure of finding them in my front entrance way as well. What are they thinking? “Oh, here I am at the front door. This is the perfect place to take off my dirty socks. Mom will love that!”
Another fave is when I have just spent the day cleaning the kitchen and mopping the floors and someone comes in with their shoes on to make themselves a sandwich. Then they leave half a dozen condiments on the counter (all with their lids off) along with mustard-smeared knives, an open bag of bread, and the twist tie on the floor along with toast crumbs (that part is usually where I swear, cry, then whip out a chocolate bar to soothe my frazzled nerves … how’s THAT for a sexual stereotype?)
Or how about when they leave a dirty plate with food scraps on it directly beside the garbage can AND the dishwasher? It’s not going to scrape itself into the garbage and then hop into the dishwasher all on its own, ya know!
But the one that takes the cake is their obsession with their … man parts. It’s like it’s their own personal worry-stone or something. Newsflash gentleman, it is not a handle, it doesn’t have ‘Tonka’ stamped on it, and I have never in my life heard of one falling off.
Now I realize I’m being kind of hard on my guys, and it’s definitely not all bad. As I said before, I love my house full of boys! And I know that girls can be just as bad. I often fit the naggy wife/mom stereotype. I can be uber-grumpy at times (my husband is adamant that I tell you his nickname for me – it is ‘Nagasaurus Rex’) and if you get between me and my coffee or chocolate – WATCH OUT!
And I should point out that my family isn’t all stereotypes either. My redneck husband loves eating salad and prefers pina coladas to beer, and my seven-year-old son choreographed a kick-ass belly dance routine.
I guess in the end, what it really comes down to is the little quirks that come with living with the opposite sex. It’s not always easy.
Perhaps it would be easier if, instead of beating my head against a wall trying to train them out of their manly ways, I just joined them instead!
We don’t really need a laundry basket anyway. And who cares about the condiments being on the counter with the lids off, it really just makes them more accessible.
I think I’m going to draw the line at the peeing on the walls though; that would just be weird.