The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal - Addendum To Manliness
[Recent Entries][Archive][Friends][User Info]
Addendum To Manliness|
One of the things I just plain forgot - because I don't experience it - is that I'm not expected to know about babies, but every woman is.
This is, doubtlessly, a handy skill to know, but a lot of women don't get it and don't want to, putting them in a similar situation as I am when it comes to cars. So there are parallels.
(With the mild difference that it's highly unlikely I'll get ripped off at the kid shop if I don't know what an undulating pacifier does and then get a kid with one liver or something.)
I'd be more worried if the kid had more than one liver...
Right? That's what my first thought was.
*laughs at the idea of an undulating pacifier*
And not only are we expected to know about babies - we're expected to want them and love all of them. Our very touch is supposed to be magically soothing, and when the baby just keeps crying, we've fallen short. I'm also betting that the fact that I can see the baby/woman:car/man comparison as being a really good one would make some view me as deficient as a woman.
|Date:||November 11th, 2008 06:17 pm (UTC)|| |
I only like babies that I can borrow briefly and then give back. "Oh, here Mom, he's crying, you can have him again."
|Date:||November 11th, 2008 06:20 pm (UTC)|| |
Speaking as a kid with a spare liver (I call it my drinkin' liver), I can say that you should ALWAYS be on the lookout for those substandard one-liver models.
WHAT IS THIS TALK OF UNDULATING?
If ye can't noogle the binky manually, ye're a sissylivered sitpisser.
And all my kids had one liver, FYI. I myself have four.
umm, were you thinking kidneys? one liver, two kidneys.
The other competency I'm expected to have as an XX is being a good housekeeper. Women like to have these communal gripe sessions about how messy their men are and how they ruin their beautifully arranged and decorated houses, and I always have to admit that I'm a lousy housekeeper, much more of a slob than my husband is (although he's no clean freak) and that my idea of decorating is finally getting an actual poster frame for the movie poster that is the dominant art piece in our living room. Anybody who expects me to have mastered the womanly art of making a house a home! with bluebirds and fresh flowers! is out of luck.
I totally married the right guy--he's mystified by the fact that his mother (who *is* a clean freak) assumes that I do all the housework and cooking--even though she taught him to fend for himself! I had to explain the thinking: you teach your son to get by on his own, but the expectation is that when he marries, ALL that work will be automatically taken over by the female. We both cook and clean, but we're also both slobby clutterbugs. So it works for us, but my MIL would be highly critical if she knew.
However, no one is going to give you an engine to hold!
It's also unlikely I'll spontaneously develop one.
At least I hope not.
Here's what's even weirder: women are expected to know how to take care of babies, and yet are generally expected to be diffident, scared, and helpless while actually giving birth. I'm glad that midwifing and pre-birth education have made significant strides towards mainstream consideration, but still. At least in America this whole issue is tricky because it brings in class issues, as well as general questions about what behaviors and attitudes constitute "civilized".
Not only are men not expected to know about babies, we are expected to be actively incompetent.
I had a beautiful baby girl nearly four months ago. We went to every parenting class, and I took over a hundred pages of notes. Every class at one point, and usually at multiple points told us that when you change a girl's diaper, make sure to wipe from front to back (to avoid UTIs and generally smearing poop into her bits and pieces). I was probably told this 20 times over the months before the birth. When she was a few hours old, and had her first diaper, I was changing her (mom was still pretty out of it from the C-section), and the nurse said "Now before you...". "Front to back" I cut her off. "Very good" she said, surprised that a mouth breathing moron with testicles could have that one down. Now, I'm glad that she's reminding people of this, because a lot of dads aren't going to be as prepared as I was, but could you be a little less surprised, and while you're at it, do you maybe have any other advice? Or is that the limit of what they expect out of me?
|Date:||November 11th, 2008 08:34 pm (UTC)|| |
Well, not everybody
follows the "Front to Back" rule.
|Date:||November 11th, 2008 09:18 pm (UTC)|| |
You forgot about cooking. I'm supposed to walk into the kitchen at my in-laws and help with the cooking. Not a skill I've ever developed. And I hate peeling vegetables because it involves losing skin.
It's actually a better parallel for cars, I suspect. I'm also supposed to admire others' cooking and make knowledgeable comments. "Do I detect a hint of cumin" is equivalent to "I think it might be the spark plugs."
|Date:||November 13th, 2008 07:03 pm (UTC)|| |
I like that as a parallel for cars! :)
This is what I was about to post to the other entry about. I DESPISE children. I would be thrilled if I never had to deal with another person under the age of 15 (well, ideally anyone under 20, but I try to be realistic about it). The other day my cousin's wife (who knows me and knows I don't like kids) asked me to hold her kid for a minute while she did something outside. As soon as he saw his mom leave, said kid (less than a year old) started throwing a fit. I had no clue what to do. I tried putting him on the floor because he likes crawling. He cried harder. Thankfully my aunt comes back inside and takes pity on me and takes him (despite the fact that she already had a kid on the other arm). I think that situation perfectly illustrates exactly how bad I am with kids.
I also can't cook (but love baking), hate housework (almost worse than the stereotypical bachelor) and don't know crap about clothes. And I despise make-up. So I fail in every single area that women are supposed to excel in. And 90% of the time, I don't care, but that 10% where I'm shoved into the same situation you mentioned with a group of women talking about one (or more often all) of these subjects, I feel like an alien.
|Date:||November 13th, 2008 07:13 pm (UTC)|| |
If it makes you feel any better, the crawler crying when Mommy left probably had more to do with Mommy leaving than being left with you. At that point babies really want Mommy in sight at all times unless they are being left with someone VERY familiar- Daddy, for instance. They are very likely to cry in any situation other than exactly what they want- crying is how they communicate, after all. With very little ones it often seems (to me) that they are saying, "Something is not quite right in my world, FIX IT NOW!!!".
So in short, it's not you, it's Lack of Mommy. Your only weapons in that situation are: familiarity, distraction (actively trying to distract, not leaving to entertain themselves until they are a bit older), and a combination of meditation and earplugs. Remember to relax, for they can smell your fear. :) Ok, I'm kidding, but they will be more relaxed if you are relaxed.
|Date:||November 11th, 2008 10:25 pm (UTC)|| |
Laundry. I learned what I know about laundry from reading magazines! Even how to iron a man's shirt.
Remembering other people's birthdays etc. *Always* the woman's job in a heterosexual relationship. Along with responding to invitations/keeping the family calendar.
I learned about laundry when I was in high school. At a two month long summer camp. It was a ritzy camp and there was a laundry service available, but one week it just happened to catch me at the wrong time and I desperately needed to do one load of laundry, and one of the other girls had to show me how. I can do it now, but I usually wait until I have next to nothing left to wear.
And I never remember any of that stuff. People have to remind me when their birthday is coming up or they won't get anything (or it will be late). The only reason I remember my mother and oldest brother's birthdays is because they're both the same month as mine, and I always forget the exact date (one is on the 5th or 6th and the other is the 15th or 16th, it's too easy to mix up). Forget my dad or middle brother's birthdays, I rarely remember what month they are.
|Date:||November 11th, 2008 11:39 pm (UTC)|| |
I think this one may have changed a little in my generation, or at least many women I know quite loudly and vocally couldn't give a shit about reproducing or parenting skills.
|Date:||November 11th, 2008 11:40 pm (UTC)|| |
Ye gods, yes! I'm supposed to be fascinated by women's pregnancy and labor stories and think that all babies are beautiful.
Babies are ugly. I haven't seen a cute one yet. I look at baby pictures of myself and wonder why my mother didn't throw me in a dumpster. Truth be told, most sonograms are cuter than the newborns.
An old high school friend once trapped me in place for TWO HOURS telling me all about her labor and birth. Heaven forbid I try to change the subject. It's like admitting you're not really a woman, but an impostor in a wig.
But I get it. Once you have a baby, hormonal magic makes you think it's the awesomest thing ever. And all the gals in the My Girly Parts Made a Baby Once Club see THEIR babies when they look at yours and go "Oh how adorable!" They also shriek in communal fear or weep global tears whenever any child, anywhere, gets hurt or killed. Because they see their own children in that child.
I wonder why this magic doesn't extend to adults? People (both with and without kids) can quite calmly tolerate death and destruction and even actively endorse violence against adults. You have to be a true saint to love all the adults, even the criminals and the Wall Street bankers. (I saw you people with the "Jump!" signs hanging around outside Wall Street after the crash. Savages.)
Actually there's a lot of women that feel let down (even cheated) by the prenatal and birth experience because they didn't know about options they might have had such as breast feeding assistance, different choices in treatment modalities, different birth settings (the list goes on). And have you been to Baby's R us lately? You can DEFINITELY get ripped off over that undulating pacifier question.
What I think is funny is how many people think that because I don't like children (at all) that means I don't know how to deal with them (14 year old me had to make a little spending money SOMEHOW). I don't disabuse them of this as the last thing I want to do is to be responsible in any way for someone's kid, but that doesn't mean I don't know how when push comes to shove.
I wanted to say on the original post that I didn't quite get you at first. I'm not a manly man but I don't mind being out of my depth with cars. But then you started talking about the general principle and I was right there with you.
I saw a documentary from the BBC about differences in the ways brains work a while ago and it had some interesting things in it. At one stage they brought in a group of men and a group of women to spend time with some infants. They interviewed everyone on how sensitive and caring and, essentially, feminine they were or perceived themselves to be.
The men acted as generally men ar eexpected to, kind but not sure. The women generally as they were expected, nurturing and cooing. But one man stood out drastically, the one who said he didn't get it and didn't feel anything special about babies.
He was just as feminine as the women.
They checked the way his brain was firing and it wasn't that he perceived himself as less sensitive. It was that he KNEW he was and so PURPOSEFULLY acted the way he thought would help counter that 'lack' in his personality.
I dunno how related that is to what you're saying here, but I always thought it was a quite cool little event and understanding.
|Date:||November 12th, 2008 05:27 am (UTC)|| |
Wish I could find the article I read not long ago that posited a true motherhood gene. Yeah, really. I was relieved to read that I might not be such a freak after all. Can't help your genes, can ya? Trouble is, when you search "genetic" and "don't want kids," you get all sorts of genetic thingies that are wrong with the kid, so that's why you don't want it. And when you search "motherhood gene," you get stuff akin to "women's intuition" or "sixth sense" but nothing about this actual gene. Wiki's got nothing.
Got any suggestions about how to refine the search?
|Date:||November 12th, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC)|| |