real talk

Something to Do with My Hands: Handiness vs. Domesticity

This has the potential to turn into a debate between the significance of masculine ability versus feminine ability, but I’m going to avoid going that direction because we all know handywomen and Mr. Moms. It should be apparent that being handy and being domestic are both incredibly valuable skills. In an ideal world, we’d all be able to hem our own jeans and change a flat.
Growing up, I took pride in my less-than-proficient sewing skills. I thought I was going to be the greatest winner of Project Runway that ever lived. Or at least a damn good seamstress. When I was a Girl Scout, all of the other troop mothers hot-glued their daughter’s patches to the brown and green vests. Those girls’ patches scattered among leaves when we ventured into the woods for a campout. Not mine. My dad, our troop’s co leader, used our ancient Singer sewing machine to secure every patch I earned to my vest. My dad can sew and, since sewing appeared to be a useful and superior skill to hot-gluing, I decided it was worth learning to do.
As much as I idolize my dad, I never picked up his cooking or baking abilities. I only recently learned to decently iron a shirt using an actual iron (instead of my hair straightener) and I’m pretty lame at keeping my clothes off the floor and my dishes out of the sink.
Since I admittedly have little interest in housewife competency, I’ve decided to become as handy as I can stand to be. When I got a flat in front of my parents’ house, I ran inside and put on heels (because Lord knows when I get a flat tire again, I’ll be wearing something short of a prom dress on the side of the highway) and made my dad let me get down in the driveway to change it myself. I can assemble a desk without help and have a more extensive tool kit than I do utensils in my kitchen.
I sometimes wish I could be that girl that can cook dinner for her boyfriend or bring a fancy, homemade cake to a dinner party. I guess my fate was decided when I was about six. The girl next door was dressed in her Sunday’s best to go to an etiquette class. I had been sifting through the compost pile with my brother and my dad when I came across the biggest toad that ever lived. Barely keeping my overall straps on my shoulders as I ran, I jumped at the opportunity to share my finding with my peer. The toad was scared half to death by her shrieking and flailing and it peed on her. Yard work is obviously the most valuable skill for a six year old. I didn’t need an etiquette class to tell me which fork should be used during which course. Every fork is for cake.
Skills can’t be put on a world-wide scale. What’s important is that someone can make it through a day in their own life and satisfy their needs without the help of others. Granted, if this were some Survival of the Fittest shit, I would certainly die of hunger and whoever found me in my apartment would frown upon my disheveled apartment.
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