Award-winning writer: Jackie Papandrew
Airing My Dirty Laundry!
A Man's Job
I’ll admit I’m a hypocrite when it comes to the division of labor between men and women. It is risking a fate worse than death for a male in my house to suggest that any task is “woman’s work.” But I think there are some things only a man should do.
And no man – say, for example, the one I married many moons ago – should be allowed to shirk his duty by conveniently being out of town when one of these man-jobs needs doing. But that’s just what my husband did last week. Ostensibly on a business trip, he went to China, which is, as my grandpa would say, “a far piece” from our home.
Sure enough, before the other side of the bed was even cold, I was presented with a doozy of a man-job, courtesy of our mangy mutt. I was going about my day, being highly productive in a non-sexist sort of way, when I looked out on our back patio and, to use another colorful phrase from Grandpa, nearly dropped my dentures.
There was Ebony, happily chewing on what appeared to be the carcass of an animal that had no business being dead on my property. Upon further, horrified inspection, I discovered it was a rabbit – a headless rabbit – and that what remained of the head was actually hanging out of the mouth of our lovable family pet.
You forget, sometimes, that dogs are not really that far removed from their wolf ancestors. You forget they aren’t just furry, four-legged humans who don’t like baths.
Ebony wagged her tail at me, as if her behavior was perfectly normal, and then swallowed the rest of the head. I chased her away and stood there, on the verge of panic, staring down at the bloody bits that remained. Here was a major man-job, and I had no man around to do it. Even my men in training were at school and wouldn’t be home for hours. Something had to be done right away.
So I took the obvious course of action. I called my husband. In China. And I woke him up. How was I supposed to remember the time difference when I had the body of a once-cute cottontail on my mind?
“There’s a dead rabbit on the patio,” I told him breathlessly, “and Eb has already eaten its head!”
There was a long pause. Finally, in an incredulous and, I thought, unnecessarily hostile tone, the love of my life responded, “You called me in China to tell me this? In the middle of the night? In CHINA ?!”
Over the years, I’ve perfected a series of guilt-inducing sighs. Women are very good at the delivery of sighs, each expertly crafted to elicit a certain emotion. Feeling the time was right, I let out one of my best. But for some reason – probably due to the long distance it had to travel – the sigh did not produce the desired effect.
“You’re not going to make me feel guilty about this,” said my unrepentant spouse. “You can handle this. I know you can.”
I hung up the phone in a not-so-gentle manner and began to make a mental list of all of my man’s faults. I also briefly considered bribing the UPS man to have the decapitated rabbit delivered to my husband’s hotel in China .
But in the end, I turned to my neighbor, a retired gentleman, who valiantly disposed of the critter. If my granddad was here, he would have performed the man-job. But Grandpa was also a firm believer that some work belongs only to women. And that seems like a betrayal of my feminist philosophy.
I guess the truth is I want to have my cake and eat it, too. As long as Ebony doesn’t get there first.
~ © Jackie Papandrew 2007 ~
Jackie Papandrew is an award-winning writer, syndicated humor columnist, coffee addict and mom to a motley crew of children and pets who provide a steady stream of column ideas and dirt. She's also wife to a very patient man who had no idea, years ago when he still had time to escape, what he was getting himself into. Visit her website at: JackiePapandrew.com
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