Watching this video, I was reminded of something that happened a year after we were married. The women my husband taught with wanted to drag him into the doghouse after they heard what he had gotten me for my birthday. They were all so called feminists** who were right out of the women studies programs in college. Working in a school where Garbanzo was the only man made them decide they needed to fix and educate him on how not to be a traditional male. They were constantly quizzing him on what he had gotten me for gifts, how he was helping out at home, etc.
What’s ironic about this was the fact Garbanzo is not, at all, a traditional male. He is quite far from that role actually, so I would get pissed off as I would hear the shit they accused him of. Clearly they did not take the time to get to know the man they were trying to change because, if they had, they would realize he was already in their boat with them. I suspect much of the time they were projecting the traits of other men onto him. Then, because he is someone who will shy away from conflict versus be in a situation where it could occur, they would make him pay for the sins of the others.
But, the shit hit the proverbial fan with me after he got me my birthday present. I had admired and wanted a Kitchen Aid Mixer, he had picked up on the fact I had wanted one, so he got it for me. I was happy with the gift. It was exactly what I had wanted.
The women at his work upon hearing he got me the mixer flipped out. What kind of message was he trying to send me? What gave him the right to force me into a traditional female role? How dare he oppress me with that gift?
I should mention that I met these women on many occasions. We would periodically meet for drinks after school on a Friday night. So, this really started pissing me off – and was starting to get to Garbanzo as it drove wedge into the staff. He could no longer eat lunch even near them without getting insults and accusations flung his way. And as their insults and accusations got worse, my fury got more so. Until one day, I had to say something.
We had all gone out to drinks when the ringleader had made a comment about this sexist move he had made by getting me the gift. I was happy she did – and even happier she did in front of several minions. I asked if they had ever considered the fact that maybe I had asked for this as a gift. “Why would I” was the response? Because I enjoy cooking and baking. Can’t that be a hobby. And how dare they judge me for what I may enjoy doing. I mean, hadn’t the fact he got me something I wanted proof that he actually paid attention to what I said. Then I pointed out how much he has done for them. Had he not stood up to the dad who treated them like shit because they were women? Had he not taught the kids he was teaching that they could be anything they wanted – that their sex did not dictate who they had to become in this world? What about any of his actions warranted their assumption that he did this out of sexist behavior versus an understanding of his wife? They sheepishly acknowledged that he did do those things, but did so without admitting they were wrong.
Then I closed my rant with asking them – how this their problem? Did I strike them as someone who wouldn’t drag his ass into the doghouse if he deserved it? Did I strike them as someone who didn’t have a voice in this or any other relationship I had?
These questions resulted in a stammering of apologies from them. It seemed that the minute I made this an insult to me personally, they were quick to apologize for wronging a sister. They never did apologize to Garbanzo – but they did leave him alone. And, after this whole situation, he didn’t really care. It actually taught him that he didn’t care if they liked him or appreciated him – he was there to do a job. Sadly, this pattern of behavior and learning would be repeated at least four more times before Garbanzo learned to withdraw from establishing any real relationships with his coworkers in the elementary school environment.
So the morale of this story: if you hear your cohort got a vacuum or mixer or some other seemingly suspicious gift from their spouse, don’t assume it was a dumb ass move on their husband’s part. Might want to ask a few questions before you jump to conclusions. I mean, not all of the guys are like the one in that video up there. The guy may have been paying good attention to his wife and got her something she really wanted. And if a guy you know does make a dumb ass move, sit back and watch. I’m sure his wife will handle it just fine. Remember, it is her job to put her husband in the doghouse – not yours.
** Just to explain my “so called feminist” comment. Yes, they can have feminist ideas. That’s all well and good, but in this case, these women had adopted a moniker in college but really didn’t know what it meant. I found that they spent most of their time in the cheap seats, if you will, as the battle brewed far below them. They were far enough away where their arguments and their opinions were superficial as they really didn’t see or understand what was truly going on. And, don’t even ask them to get into the fight because, well, it was safer in the cheap seats where they can fling things without risk of getting dragged into the battle. I am not a fan of this behavior – when actions don’t match words. And, in this case, their actions rarely matched the views they spewed. As a result, I had a hard time validating their label.