I have been single for most of the last 11 years since my husband and I divorced. I’ve had a couple relationships go the distance. And by distance I mean about a year. One I thought would lead to the alter, but didn’t. There were a couple shorter stints too, and first dates too numerous to mention. But mostly it’s been just my kids and me.
When I was first single I was excited to be the independent woman I always knew I could be. Having been married at the ripe old age of 19, I felt oppressed by my husband who seemed to think it was his job to tell me what to do and be in control at all times. I wanted to show the world (and him) I didn’t need anyone and was determined to prove I could do things on my own. Afterall, I was a modern, self-sufficient woman. I took on the 70s mantra, “I am woman, hear me roar,” like it was my job.
But there’s a flaw in that thinking. And here’s where I’m likely to piss off any hardcore feminists out there. I realized <gulp> I have somewhat traditional values when it comes to male/female roles. Uh oh.
Despite having grown up in a very conservative household, I am liberal in many of my thoughts and beliefs. I believe in equal pay for equal work, equal opportunities for women, a woman’s right to choose. But there are certain things—household things—I just want a man would do.
I guess you could say I’m a liberal-traditionalist. (Is that even a word?)
I live in a neighborhood that’s mostly traditional families. I am one of the few, if not the only, single parent in this neighborhood. And I get somewhat wistful every time the sun is out and all the men are outside washing cars and mowing lawns. There is very little I miss about my ex-husband. But I do miss a clean garage and a well-manicured yard.
My last relationship sealed the deal for me. My boyfriend at the time could build, fix, remodel or restore anything! And I’ll admit I loved that. One Thanksgiving holiday when he came to visit he took care of some things around my house. Not because I asked him to, but because he wanted to. Imagine that…he wanted to! I gotta tell you ladies, there is nothing sexier than a man caulking your tub. And no, that’s not a metaphor.
Or maybe it is.
I just know I find it incredibly sexy when a man is doing traditionally male things.
That’s not to say I need someone to do things for me. I don’t. I know how to change a flat tire, get the lawnmower started after the winter, fix the dryer, put together furniture and replace the element in the oven. Our downstairs toilet was once out of commission for a month while I figured out how to fix it on my own. I’m proud to say I’ve done those things.
The problem was I used to be determined NOT to get help. Not because I didn’t need it or even want it. But because I thought it made me weak and needy. My intention was to prove to the world I could do it all on my own. I wanted to be able to say I didn’t need anyone to take care of me (even though I secretly wanted someone to).
I had to ask myself, “what’s so wrong with being taken care of sometimes?” And my answer was, “not a damn thing!” It’s actually pretty nice.
So the conclusion I’ve come to is this: I can do it, I have done it, I just don’t want to. And there’s something very empowering in being honest about that.
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