In my last blog I mentioned home renovations, well… life went sideways for a few months as we renovated my husband’s townhome and put it on the market. I’d say it was his bachelor pad and all that implies… but in our culture that brings to mind pool tables, unclean bathrooms, stale pizza, and empty beer bottles. While Dan, my husband, DOES have a higher dirty threshold for bathrooms than I do, the reality is that the bathrooms were clean and in 10 years of living there he’d collected almost two rooms worth of Lego and quite a few unfinished projects.
These projects ranged from steel poles he was planning to weld together into a 40 foot radio tower to a master bathroom renovation. We put the steel into storage but the bathroom – which was torn out down to the studs – needed a bit more time and effort. The bathroom became my responsibility and as a result I now can install concrete board and dry wall, did a pretty epic job on tiling, and even know how to get a mirror cut down to size. All tasks not typically associated with a woman’s capabilities.
The master bathroom – I’m now of the opinion that all bathtubs should have a book/wine ledge:
So if I was doing the bathroom, what was Dan doing? The tasks only he could do. Either of us could tile and drywall, but only he could decide how to pack up the mounds of Lego or which projects should be given up. Most couples find a division of labor and planning that works for them, though this might shift over time or with a particular project. Whether that division falls along traditional gender lines or not, as long as it works and maintains a healthy relationship then I say good for you!!
Dan and I found pretty quickly that renovating a home is a real relationship test – even if you divide out tasks. I typically made sure we were fed and did the long-term planning in addition to the master bathroom project. Dan was in charge of all his material goods, the downstairs bathroom (which was also halfway unfinished), and random design details which he absolutely had an opinion about.
Dan’s bathroom design – he designed the look and installed all the tile work and fixtures:
That’s another social expectation gender-bender for us… unlike the stereotype for men, Dan has very strong opinions about design and fashion. Also unlike the stereotype for women I typically don’t care, or more often have no clue about, what goes together. (As an example my sister still pokes fun of me for wearing my pants tucked into my socks as a kid, “because it’s warmer”. What can I say, I get cold easily!)
The thing is, people are proud and excited for me when they hear I built a bathroom. People do not have the same level of excitement when they hear about Dan’s carefully thought out color schemes and designs. I believe that if we’re going to cheer for women entering the stereotypical male domain, we should cheer equally as hard for those men entering the stereotypical feminine domain.
What do you excel at that’s not typical for your gender that you wish people would be proud of and excited about? Or do you excel at something that’s minimized because it’s typical for your gender? Share a time where you were proud and excited for someone else who displayed skills associated with the other gender!