I’m a Flower

The head of the excavation team that is repairing our leak gave me a piece of the tube he removed to show my husband so that he can see the cracks in it. The cracks are very visible, and anyway, I have a better vision than N who wears glasses. The foreman starts every sentence with “please tell your husband for me,” even though he never saw the husband, and N and I agreed that taking care of the leak is my responsibility.

I find it very cute when older working-class men treat me like a tender flower who can’t comprehend the functioning of tubes. It’s like when a plumber came out to repair the toilet and asked me to leave because it was going “to smell real bad for a pretty lady like you.” The plumber knew I had a small child and was as used to dealing with fecal matter as he, but still he wanted to protect me from the ugliness. It was nice.

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7 thoughts on “I’m a Flower”

  1. If I were the plumber I’d give you the warning that “it will probably smell quite rank while being repaired”, but I wouldn’t necessarily advise you to leave. I’d leave that choice up to you. I’d figure you’re an older adult and know a thing or two. I wouldn’t see fit to be so patronizing nor see any “necessity” in doing so.

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    1. France is right and everybody else is a gosh darn fool.

      I don’t want to say much else because I’m afraid and besides I’m intimately familiar with the issue and I get uncontrollably angry. But France is right. And I’m not normally a fan of anything France does.

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  2. I never understood traditional “man’s job/woman’s job” divisions because my parents are immigrants. Plumbing is supposed to be a “man’s job” along with mowing the lawn, raking the leaves, shoveling the snow, taking out the garbage and various fix-it projects.


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    1. Well, all I get to do on this project is find the workers, open the doors for them and pay the bill. N is at work, so he can’t do any of it. Hence the division of labor on this one.

      It’s the same with money matters. When we were getting the mortgage, I was the one speaking to the banker, yet the banker looked strictly at N and didn’t ever make eye contact with me. It was bizarre because I’d address him and he’d pretend like I’m not there and stare at N. Who’d feel flustered and uncomfortable because he had no idea what to say. We had agreed I’d speak, I prepared, knew all the stuff. It was seriously funny.

      There was a similar situation at the hospital where I was like, hey, I’m a fully conscious, unmedicated patient here. Please talk to me and not to the man in the room. Especially since it was a gynecological issue. That one wasn’t funny because I was afraid the doctor would start performing a C-section on my husband by mistake, she was so concentrated on him.

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      1. When we were getting the mortgage, I was the one speaking to the banker, yet the banker looked strictly at N and didn’t ever make eye contact with me.

        Ah sexism.

        That one wasn’t funny because I was afraid the doctor would start performing a C-section on my husband by mistake, she was so concentrated on him.

        Come on now. N isn’t that timid or silent and certainly never looked visibly pregnant.


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  3. What you say is very true, and unchanged after decades.

    Thirty years ago my then-girlfriend wanted to buy a new car and asked me to go to the dealership with her. During the entire conversation with the car dealer, my girlfriend (who was obviously the person who would be buying and paying for the car) did all the talking — but the dealer kept looking and smiling directly at me, and barely even acknowledged her presence.

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