Where have all the men gone?

Being of a deeply cynical and suspicious nature, I dislike the future and all the new things it brings into my life. I know they will ultimately turn out to be a huge disappointment and frankly, we would all be a lot better off crawling back into the oceans from whence we came. When was the last time you heard a fish complain about something? Exactly.

Something I have been disliking about the future with increased regularity lately is the lack of men. Proper men. Men who will retreat into a shed when you ask them to do something like putting the kettle on. Men who will stand in the drill bit and screw aisle of the DIY store with an expression of quiet reverence until they notice I'm standing next to them ("Crikey! They let a girl in!"). Men who are naturally drawn to anything noisy and destructive and who will do something improbable and stupid just to find out what would happen if they did.

My Dad is that sort of man. He sensibly left the complicated business of child rearing to my Mammy so throughout most of my childhood he was the vague threat following a minor misdemeanor. This only latest as long as it took me to figure out that my Mammy had a memory so bad that even if I actively reminded her of whatever it was I'd done, she would be completely surprised and not believe me. So, it was a rare occasion that he was called upon to mete out punishment.

At other times there would be an occasional weekend of wall building or plumbing when I would follow him around, happy to observe and pass him things. Once I was big enough to hold a hammer (about age 8) he was happy to let me get on with the jobs that involved him having to bend down further that a foot. I saw more of him in the year he taught me to drive than I had in my entire life up to that point.

What I'm seeing these days is men who leave the house looking as if they have actually put some consideration into what they are wearing. Take my dad to a clothes shop and he will stand stiffly to one side muttering "42, 31" as though imparting a government secret. If you ask him what he thinks of a pair of trousers he will stare fixedly into the distance and agree to whatever you are holding up while my Mammy berates him in a fierce whisper. Shoes are even worse. He refuses to do anything more that put one on his foot, undone, and remain sitting down before declaring them perfect.

He has my sympathies. I hate shopping. I hate clothes shopping. I hate the look those thin sales girls give you. The one that says "You'd better just be in here for the handbags fatgirl." I'm a disproportionate shape so it is hard to find clothes that actually fit my dimensions properly. Being a girl (dammit), one is not allowed to go out looking as though you got dressed in the dark.

When I was in New Ross this morning, admiring the new statue of JFK (it is fantastic. It is the worst piece of public art I have seen on a long time. He looks as though he is doing the Robot), I was asked by a tourist where the Tourist information office was.

In the olden days what would happen is that the wife would ask for directions in a loud voice while he stood off to one side pretending not to know her, possibly humming. Today though, HE was the one doing the asking. With his wife beside him. SMILING. I was staggered. And it wasn't as though they were my age, they must have been 50 if they were a day.

When did this start happening? When did they all start discussing their feelings? When did it become okay for them to hug and cry in public? I never do either. When did it become impossible to embarrass a room full of men by discussing girlie things like bloating with the only other woman there? There are whole generations who will never know how much fun that is. When did they all learn that nail varnish doesn't come off with water?

I'm not looking for some hairy, larger drinking oike who calls me darlin'. I'm not looking for Roy Cropper. I don't need somebody to check my tire pressures or hold doors open for me. I can manage both of them myself but I will always appreciate the offer.

I would just like it if there were a few more men around who knew... well... how to be men in all their curious glory. Preferably with a pint of Brains and a game of Rugby they are happy to let me watch with them and not minding in the least that I'm cheering for Wales.


durdlin said...

I have now read your blog in its entirety (in chronological order of course) and it seems we have a lot in common. Hello friend!

Theo said...

I hope you were paying proper attention. I may be asking questions later.

durdlin said...

How do you know Sarah anyway? Not sure what the correct etiquette is re: meeting people you don't know by way of other people you don't know.