Re: She's Not Going To Find It

1

Yay misguided candor!


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:33 AM
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If I'd known that dating would lead to watching someone perform while her ex-boyfriend stood a few feet away from me while looking like a kicked puppy, I would have gotten back to it a lot sooner.

Some of us are looking for love, some of us are looking for awkward, awkward situations.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:35 AM
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Also, in my drunken state, it took me several reads to figure out what "watching someone perform" meant. Initially, I was shocked.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:36 AM
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I keep waiting for someone to try to knife me

Whatever, swarthy dude. Everyone's probably wondering when you are going to knife them.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:37 AM
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Good.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:39 AM
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knife s/b nuke


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:39 AM
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Some guy at one of my brother's shows got stabbed in the neck. The place was full of middle-aged cyclists.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:40 AM
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Wait, but you told her about the blog, right? Didn't she ask for the url?


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:42 AM
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She knows about the blog, but not the URL. I don't think she's seriously going to look for it, nor that she would find it if she did. Not that I'm going to share all kinds of details, but posts like this seem ok.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:44 AM
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3: Same here, but as soon as I saw that the byline was ogged's, I knew there had to be a perfectly asexual explanation.


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:00 AM
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taunting the ex-boyfriend is bad for karma, tempting as it may be. how long ago did they break up?


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:04 AM
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So Ogged's general sense of bars is that someone is going to knife him?


Posted by: John | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:05 AM
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I didn't taunt him, I just sat there trying not to laugh. 6 weeks?

And now to bed...


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:06 AM
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Does that mean no more redacted posts (and hard, but not impossible, to find comment threads) which make it difficult to follow the ups and downs (and more downs) of Ogg's dating life?

Thank God.


Posted by: wink | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:49 AM
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3: I had the same reaction, but sober. It just seemed so plausible coming from Ogged.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:36 AM
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7: The place was full of middle-aged cyclists.

So, no surprises there.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:39 AM
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15, 3: Same here. Much better if you read like that.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:45 AM
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A strip of red asphalt goes into a bar and screams "Gimme a drink! Gimme a drink or I swear I'll burn this place down and kill every one of you!"

"You'd better serve him," one of the customers tells the barman. "I'm warning you, he'll do it - he's a cyclepath."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 5:13 AM
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Dude? I don't think there's anything wrong with leaving this post up, but if you guys keep dating, she's so going to find the blog. (It's possible that she's the sort of person who wouldn't look seriously, but if she's looking, she'll find it.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 6:05 AM
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And now to bed...

These post will get much more interesting if you keep posting about dates before you fall asleep, IYKWIM (AITYD).


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 6:12 AM
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Mostly, I think she won't look (and I haven't given her reason to think that anything personal is discussed here), but I think this post is fine anyway.

And now more sleep, inshallah.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 6:13 AM
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Well, but what jumps out when reading a post that's fine anyway like this one, is that everybody knows who you're talking about, and that other discussions that don't seem to be around anymore seem to have talked about some interesting things about her. Those posts may not be here, but they sure leave a shadow.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 6:27 AM
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She will find it. The question is: Will she merely look at the front page and say, "Oh, that looks interesting", or will she go through the archives with a fine-toothed comb?


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 6:34 AM
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Oh man, the forlorn ex at a show is just a classic of the sad-sack genre. Ogged is the victor!

(First comment from iPhone! EDGE is acceptable. )


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 6:38 AM
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Whatever, swarthy dude. Everyone's probably wondering when you are going to knife them.

Unlikely.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 6:54 AM
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Standpipe!


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 7:01 AM
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Someone has to link to the archives.

Hi.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 7:27 AM
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Someone has to link to the archives.

Standpipe: The institutional memory of Unfogged.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 7:42 AM
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24: Yay iPhone! Once again we occupy the same phone universe.

Also, seriously, she will find the blog. Or she's someone who doesn't think of the internet as a real thing and will never, ever care. I don't see a lot of in-between; it's the fine-toothed comb or it's overt disinterest.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 7:57 AM
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She's Not Going To Find It

bass player lifeguard dating iranian guy bass player lifeguard dating iranian guy bass player lifeguard dating iranian guy


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:00 AM
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In case of institutional amnesia, attach memory hose here.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:01 AM
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Ogged, you can find a lot of good compliment material that will also show your urbanity in Tad Safran's recent Times Online article, #2 from the top in Articles of Note at Arts and Letters Daily.

I recommend that anyone who enjoys seething with rage should read it. Personally I think he's taking the piss, as they say in Ugly Land.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:02 AM
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Thanks, forlorn dude, you made me laugh.

OK, Ogged, maybe you truly are an asshole. If you're going to take pleasure in others misery, you should at least recycle.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:06 AM
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32: Wow, that is entertaining. Can't possibly be serious. My favorite bit was the hostility aimed at the gorgeous woman with 'leathery palms'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:09 AM
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good compliment material

meet

nobody has anything interesting or witty to say at 110 decibels

From last night: [Merely semi-yelling] "You look like you're having fun. You look hot."

[Yelling directly into ear] "What?"

[Really yelling directly into ear] "YOU LOOK HOT."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:11 AM
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Try bringing a bass and amp to the shows and working out a code to secretly communicate with her that way.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:12 AM
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That article is clearly trolling, but this was funny.

My friend's wife had told me that Sophie still had the body of a 20-year-old. Maybe she did . . . dismembered in her freezer at home.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:14 AM
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37: next to her yogurt-dipped penis.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:15 AM
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Yeah, he's taking the piss. Very effectively makes that stratum of Americans repellent.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:18 AM
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Although I must say I still kind of hate the writer. Obviously means to be funny, but not in a way that decreases the hatefulness of the article.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:23 AM
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I'm going to vote that he's not really joking. It is possible that Tad could be just that horrible.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:26 AM
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My sense is that he's serious about despising undergroomed British women, but joking about approving of well-groomed American women. That read like someone who'd write an article next week about how stupid, shallow, and extravagant American women are for the same grooming routine he's praising here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:31 AM
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43

My sense is that he doesn't actually like other human beings that much.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:33 AM
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The article did, however, succeed in making me wonder whether I should consider moving to the UK.

no self-respecting American girl consumes carbohydrates after 2pm

Ha! Nothing but the purest self-loathing could keep me from my chocolate. And Doritoes. And pasta. And ice cream. And cookies.

Also:

An informal poll of my US female friends revealed that they spend roughly $700 (£350) a month on what they consider standard obligatory beauty maintenance. That covers haircut, highlights, manicure, pedicure, waxing, tanning, make-up, facials, teeth whitening etc. They will spend a further $1,000 (£500) a month on physical conditioning such as military fitness, spinning sessions, vikram yoga, Pilates, deep-tissue sports massage, personal training etc.

Dude has some rich friends.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:34 AM
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45

My sense is that he doesn't actually like other human beings that much.

My further sense is that other human beings don't like him all that much either.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:35 AM
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clarification: 38 was not me
i would never tell this kind of jokes
38, would you stop forging my identity, please?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:36 AM
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My sense is that he's serious about despising undergroomed British women, but joking about approving of well-groomed American women. That read like someone who'd write an article next week about how stupid, shallow, and extravagant American women are for the same grooming routine he's praising here.

Ah, so PJ O'Rourke, then.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:41 AM
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That read like someone who'd write an article next week about how stupid, shallow, and extravagant American women are for the same grooming routine he's praising here.

Did you finish the article? No need to wait till next week.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:43 AM
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The article was certainly not charming -- my impression was that it was neither a joke nor serious, but trolling. Still, I have to admit that I enjoyed the phrasing of "yet she is regularly photographed looking like a bag of spanners."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:44 AM
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48: You're right -- I hadn't read the last couple of paragraphs.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:46 AM
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Dude has some rich friends.

Yes, he seems to travel in movie industry circles in LA, which is not entirely representative of the US as a whole.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:49 AM
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Still, I have to admit that I enjoyed the phrasing of "yet she is regularly photographed looking like a bag of spanners."

That's a standard British phrase.

There's tiny kernel of truth in what he says [albeit toolishly] in the sense that the American women I know are generally somewhat more groomed than the British women I know. But that's as much about social class and the different role that particular class markers play as anything else. His point, absent the toolishness, being, I take it, that a certain kind of grooming is more important to the tiny minority of upper-middle class women in the US who really go for that sort of thing than it is for the same minority in the UK. There's probably a modicum of truth in that.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:50 AM
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From last night: [Merely semi-yelling] "You look like you're having fun. You look hot."

[Yelling directly into ear] "What?"

[Really yelling directly into ear] "YOU LOOK HOT."

You are hitting on women while you watch your date play?

Or was that what you said to the ex-boyfriend?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:52 AM
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54

Great! My appreciation then goes entirely to British English.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:52 AM
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Yes, he seems to travel in movie industry circles in LA, which is not entirely representative of the US as a whole.

My knowledge of the movie industry in the UK is based entirely on certain guest appearances on "Extras", the movie "Tristram Shandy", and that blog that that anonymous woman had about her amazing sex life, but from what I can gather it's more relaxed and less superficial than Hollywood.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:55 AM
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Well of course it would be a British phrase, since "spanner" is a British word.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:58 AM
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The funny thing is that the American version ("a bag of hammers") is what you call a dumb person, not an ugly person. I wouldn't think of a bag of wrenches as particularly ugly, somehow.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:59 AM
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Yes, but "looking like a bag of spanners" wasn't necessarily a common idiom.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:00 AM
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This may be nonsense, but "bag of spanners" is evocative not only of lumpy shapelessness, but of the very grubby condition a car's toolbag gets into. Standard British practice, clearly visible from old sports car films, is to carry the tools that way, none too clean by American standards. Over here, wrenches tend to be carried in boxes when carried at all. If you've got a Japanese car, you may have received a rudimentary toolkit in a vinyl bag, following traditional British practice.

Biohazard will know what I'm talking about.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:02 AM
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Among British expressions for ugliness and untidiness I like when things get compared to "a dog's breakfast". although it seems to apply to objects, not people.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:04 AM
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57 was me. Is something going funny with the site? There have been a bunch of no-name postings, and I swear I didn't do anything to make my name go away.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:07 AM
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It is possible that Tad could be just that horrible.

His name is *Tad*. Of *course* he's horrible.

Re. getting knifed in bars: Ogged, you are such a pussy.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:09 AM
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59: Yup. From working on cars equipped by Lucas, the Prince of Darkness.

Anyway, Safran is hanging out with people in "the industry" in L.A. Those do not resemble earthlings.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:11 AM
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60: Does a dogsbody enjoy a dog's breakfast? What about a dog's dinner? There are a bunch of teabag expressions that I don't understand.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:12 AM
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The dog's meat! Have you seen it?


Posted by: Hustle Misterioso | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:13 AM
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There's nothing funny about this site, Lizardbreath.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:14 AM
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You're so humorless, Ogged.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:19 AM
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64: about the only expression in that sentence I don't understand is "teabag expression".

Dogsbody: someone who does all the unpleasant jobs.
Dog's breakfast: a chaotic mess.
Dog's dinner (dressed up like a): extremely smart and well-turned-out.

Not to mention dogged, dogging, dogeared, dog's bollocks, dog's life, dog's chance, puppy fat...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:24 AM
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While the moment lasts that it's not too incongruous to mention "Englishwoman" and "bag of spanners" in the same sentence, let me say I have the sense the they tend to have a little more competence and self-confidence re: cars than is common here. The educated incapacity of American women about cars—of course there are exceptions—is striking. This was one of the things the "self-reliance, don't be dependent or helpless" spirit of popular feminism in the '70s had that seems to have evaporated.

Love that scene in The Queen where HM, seventy years old, leans out while hanging on the steering wheel to look underneath, and diagnoses the fault.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:24 AM
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I don't actually know any men who know what's going on with their cars either, much. But I'm a city person.

But seriously, with modern computerized cars and all that, how many shade-tree mechanics are left out there?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:28 AM
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re: 70

But seriously, with modern computerized cars and all that, how many shade-tree mechanics are left out there?

Probably less than there used to be, definitely. Growing up, most of my friends did all the work on their own cars -- because when you are 18 you can't afford to pay someone to do it. These days, much less so.

But, while I am not a car person, I have done minor repairs myself. My last car got stolen and the door and steering locks, ignition system and part of the wiper system got trashed and I did all the work on that myself. Ditto the very occasional minor job on our current car. Wouldn't have a clue how to do anything sophisticated with the engine itself, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:33 AM
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shivbunny went and bought the little gadget that tells you what the computer codes are. This doesn't actually get the check engine light to go away but it lets him know why it's doing that so he can decide whether it's something he can ignore.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:33 AM
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This was one of the things the "self-reliance, don't be dependent or helpless" spirit of popular feminism in the '70s had that seems to have evaporated.

Really? I guess cellphones have reduced the need to know to a great degree. Both kids had to demonstrate they could change a tire before I handed over the car keys for their first trip alone. That was in '86 for the girl.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:39 AM
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I think that self-reliance claim might also be true-ish.

It's noticeable that my mother is much more 'able' with most of these things than my female peers. By much I mean really a lot.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:41 AM
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Further to 74, again, I think that's partly class-connected.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:42 AM
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But seriously, with modern computerized cars and all that, how many shade-tree mechanics are left out there?

Flippanter Senior bought his first decent new car about 10 or 12 years ago, and I remember when he came into the house (I was visiting for July 4, I think) and announced that he had no idea how to change the oil. Hasn't done a bit of car repair for himself since.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:44 AM
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77

Again, do you think that's a feminism thing, or a general drop-off in handiness among both sexes?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:44 AM
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But seriously, with modern computerized cars and all that, how many shade-tree mechanics are left out there?

This is true, but you have to realize that for the computerized components, the factory mechanics don't fix anything either. They just replace black boxes. The only thing keeping a shade-tree mechanic from doing this is the purposely constructed gatekeeper function of factory analysis machines. Which is starting to be eroded, and has no inherent reason to be there.

The real barrier is that modern production has insanely tight tolerances. Everything these days is very precisely spec'd, so it's much harder to do things that used to be common (make your own shims, turn a set of pistons, etc.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:45 AM
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Again, do you think that's a feminism thing, or a general drop-off in handiness among both sexes?

Handiness is tech-relative. I know a hell of a lot more about how to fix my computers or other such stuff than how to fix my car.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:46 AM
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The electronics basically adjust ignition timing and fuel metering to respond to conditions, and have a diagnostic function, taking inputs from sensors, many of which have been there for a long time and used to display on gauges and idiot lights.

The vast range of non-mechanic-level skills, which can be very convenient and cost-saving, and can be a matter of life and death, are as applicable today as ever.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:47 AM
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The vast range of non-mechanic-level skills, which can be very convenient and cost-saving, and can be a matter of life and death, are as applicable today as ever.

I don't know that I buy this. Cars seem to me to be more reliable than they used to be, or something -- while no one I know would have much of any idea what to do if their car broke down other than call a tow truck, I can't think of ever hearing a story about that incapacity turning into a problem. In theory I'm all for competence, handiness, and self-reliance -- anecdotally, though, minor car repair skills seem like a lot of investment for not much payback, these days.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:50 AM
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(but my perspective may be colored by my not-driving-all-that-much social group, of course.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:51 AM
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68: If I see someone dressed like a dog's dinner, I expect a ghastly slut. You can't for some reason dress like a dog's breakfast, but a dog's dinner is not a term of praise. Perhaps you're confusing it with the dog's bollocks, which were fashionable a few years ago.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:52 AM
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re: 77

It's not a feminism thing in the sense that I think it's a consequence of feminism, no. But there is a gender difference, I think yeah.

Both sexes are less handy, but competence of a certain type perhaps is still praiseworthy in men so it has dropped off less quickly in men.

I know lots of women in well-paid high-powered jobs who take the view that anything that isn't their actual paying job is someone else's problem. Either their partners, or someone who gets paid for it. Some of my friends wives or girlfriends are quite shockingly incompetent about everything.* To all intents and purposes they are like stereotypical mid-Victorian rich women of yore who could do nothing for themselves, except they go out daily and earn 60,000 a year.

I'm exaggerating but only slightly. (And of course I know some men like that, too.)

* and this incompetence extends into areas that were once stereotypically 'women's' work.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:53 AM
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Social atomization has prevented me from learning anything from people older than me. I don't know how to fix anything on the car except changing the oil and changing the tires, and I don't have the equipment to do either of those anyway. I sort of know how to cook but I get really stressed out whenever the recipe is vague about something like "cook until done" or "mash until soft". I don't know what responsibilities would be involved in owning a cat or dog. And as for the age-old secrets of a successful love life, it's been nothing but trial and error. The only things my parents went into great detail about and made sure I knew before moving away at age 17 were
A) the importance of being able to know at least something about any topic one might be forced to talk about
B) how to identify wild plants and animals.

For other skills there was no real urgency to know, so why bother at any particular time? Now I have to figure out things on my own, and for things like cars, where any problem that occurs will be once or twice in a lifetime, it's hopeless to think anything I try to learn in my spare time will be useful.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:53 AM
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86

Totally OT: way to stick it to the Man!


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:55 AM
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while no one I know would have much of any idea what to do if their car broke down other than call a tow truck, I can't think of ever hearing a story about that incapacity turning into a problem. In theory I'm all for competence, handiness, and self-reliance -- anecdotally, though, minor car repair skills seem like a lot of investment for not much payback, these days.

Yeah, same here. When I lived with my parents they would make sure I knew how to change a tire periodically. Now I live by myself, I've owned a car for three years, and the issue has never arisen. I think I've probably forgotten for all practical purposes. Maybe once I get my PhD I'll give it a try.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:55 AM
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88

I'm talking change tire, set up jumper cables, add brake, radiator or windshield washer fluid, add air to tires when almost flat and clearly effecting steering.

During the months I drove to the suburbs to work last year, these issues came up a half dozen times, and people were stranded without knowing what to do.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:56 AM
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Yeah, I've seen one changed, and I'm pretty sure we've got a manual in the compartment with the jack with instructions, so how hard could it be? But in 36 years, I've been in a car that got a flat tire exactly once.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:57 AM
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and to 61: my name WON'T GO AWAY from the comment box, no matter how many times I delete it or and no matter how vehemently I uncheck the "remember personal info" button, which is never even checked in the first place. It's never done that before, but it's been stuck there for the last week or so. How do I make it go away?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 9:58 AM
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Yeah, everything in 88 I can do or have done. I've changed tires a few times despite not having owned a car for most of my adult life [because I was in cars where the driver had no idea]. Most car drivers can do many of those, though, surely?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:00 AM
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set up jumper cables,

Heh. I did actually need a jump once, and had the cables and the manual and was ready to follow the instructions, but the kid who stopped to help me out was not about to let me mess around with his car -- he took the cables away from me and did the whole thing. But still, it's not like it's a complex process; with two totally ignorant people and a manual, I'm sure most people would manage fine.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:00 AM
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I haven't read the whole thread, but the stuff in 88 should be known by anyone who drives a car. It's basic safety information, and it's all very simple. (And not knowing how to do it can cost quite a bit of money.)

This probably doesn't apply as much to people who buy new cars and trade them in in less than 5 years or so, but to people who try and get their money's worth out of a vehicle it's important knowledge.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:01 AM
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Yeah, I've seen one changed, and I'm pretty sure we've got a manual in the compartment with the jack with instructions, so how hard could it be?

Not hard. And surprisingly satisfying. But make sure you find the bracket.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:01 AM
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90: Erase your name, and then check the 'remember info' button, so that it's remembering the blanks. Then the next time it comes up, it should be blank, and you uncheck the button.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:01 AM
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89: And the time I did have a flat tire, the problem wasn't not knowing how to change it, it was flat-out lacking the upper-body strength to remove the bolts, and I had one of those good cross-shaped wrenches too. None of the men who tried to help me could remove them, either, until a dude pulled over, hopped out of his car with a *baseball bat*, told me to back up and the wailed the fuck out of the wrench with the baseball bat. He then hopped back in his car and drove away.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:02 AM
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Before we got married, I hadn't even owned a car in six years because my old car died due to chronic breakdowns involving major engine things. And shivbunny used to work as a mechanic when he was 18 or 19. This leads to a very natural, but irkingly traditional breakdown of who deals with the car. And it's spilling over into other areas of life, too. I used to do little household repairs. Now he does.

He also does the laundry and most of the cleaning so we're not quite in Pleasantville yet, but it's a little disturbing.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:02 AM
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How you suffer, Cala.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:04 AM
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it was flat-out lacking the upper-body strength to remove the bolts,

I used to stand on the wrenches, back when I was younger. Surprisingly effective. And, again, oddly satisfying.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:05 AM
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(The various fluids, I have to admit, are a mystery to me. I suppose I should figure that out.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:06 AM
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I keep waiting for someone to try to knife me
Well, once they know you better.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:07 AM
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98: I think we've found the contrapositive of Armsmahser.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:07 AM
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And it's spilling over into other areas of life, too.

Hey, so he's going to write your dissertation for you? That'll be a weight off your shoulders.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:07 AM
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I am the go-to guy for a large network of friends and neighbors. I always try to show and teach, not just do. That probably skews my experience.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:08 AM
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He'll do everything but the dissertation, which is good, because he'd probably start it with 'Throughout the dawn of human history, mankind has not wondered about this question at all.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:08 AM
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"Since the dawn of time, liberals have yearned to write dissertations."


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:09 AM
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"It wasn't until Emmanuelle Kant, a French philosopher, said 'What is Enlightenment?' that philosophy was founded.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:12 AM
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"It is not until Zarathustra comes down from the mountain that he realizes that the last men need to celebrate their ass festival."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:13 AM
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"Since the dawn of time, liberals have yearned to write dissertations."

+

"Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines dissertation as . . ."

Hello what oudemia is reading right now.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:13 AM
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"Walt Whitman was an awful child molester who was born in ancient Hong Kong."


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:16 AM
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110 was me. it does seem like something is making it slightly harder to enter our names.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:16 AM
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"Compassion for the elderly logically leads us to support youth in Asia."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:18 AM
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"Marx Webber was an important german sociologist."


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:19 AM
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"The peasants thought the King [Louis 16th] could cure them with his magic touch, but if that was true, surely he would have fixed his own penis."


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:20 AM
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Yeah, the 88: list is a good minimum. My kid are long past the kid stage and I don't check up on them but I hope they still keep jumper cables in the trunk.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:22 AM
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"Sir Francis Drake circumcized the world in 1580."


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:24 AM
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Back to something ttaM said, this: "Both sexes are less handy, but competence of a certain type perhaps is still praiseworthy in men so it has dropped off less quickly in men." is probably true.

Minor handiness-fixit skills seem like something that men (at least the men I know), are pretty attached to in terms of self-image -- being handy makes them feel competent and chivalrous. That time I got a jump for my car, I was ready to start putting the cables on, but got waved off, and I would have had to get aggressive with the guy to help. Given that he was doing me a favor, I figured best not to be an asshole about it. And Buck's kind of that way about minor fixy stuff -- if I make a move to do something handy while he can see me, he often takes it as an implied rebuke, and either takes the tools away and does it himself, or asks me not to do it and promises to get it done soon.

With handiness not being a major area either of expertise or interest for me, I end up coming off as pretty helpless unless I can get at something that needs fixing sometime when I'm going to be alone in the house long enough to get it done without getting interrupted.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:33 AM
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For many millennia, man has tried to create ways to measure time.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:34 AM
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I know about picking your battles and priorities, and I'm not suggesting you're wrong. But it surprises me that there is a difference in the self-image competence issues between genders. If you pushed-back and said "I want to do it myself, to be able to" his own sense of the importance of it, of the consequent fairness of your desire, would make him yield, I think, and either watch to advise or leave, whichever better served your purposes. But given how many are not in such a relation as yours, or may not always be, I'd expect it to have a higher priority.

So how much are guys like me being pandered to, for the sake of our self-esteem?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:43 AM
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would make him yield, I think,

As someone who's done some pushback here, not really.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:47 AM
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I was a complete guy in the sense described in 117 over replacing my hard drive. There was a very tiny screw with a very stripped head in a delicate spot, and it turned out to be a complete bitch to get it out. Snark very sensibly suggested that we could get a professional to deal with it, but I was having none of it. I was going to do it myself goddammit! And so I did, and felt very pleased with myself over it too. Meanwhile, the most complicated thing I've ever done to a car is change the tire.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:48 AM
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120: huh.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:49 AM
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But given how many are not in such a relation as yours,

I'm not following this -- you mean single women? Sure, I'd expect women who've spent a lot of adult time single are generally handier than women who've been mostly coupled up, for exactly the having-stuff-that-needs-fixing-and-no-one-who's-going-to-take-it-away-from-you reasons I mentioned.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:50 AM
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There was a very tiny screw with a very stripped head in a delicate spot, and it turned out to be a complete bitch to get it out.

What did you do? Just kept trying with the screwdriver, or is there some technique?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:54 AM
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117: In my experience, that's true. My dad always wants to solve a problem when I see him, whether it's trying to fix my vacuum cleaner (unsuccessfully) or give advice on my dissertation (less successful than the vacuum cleaner repair!) Same thing with uncles, neighbors, etc; fixing small things makes them Real Men. With shivbunny it's sort of the same thing, compounded by immigration due to the forced unemployment & number of forms I had to sign pledging financial support for the next ten years. He felt emasculated (especially when I tried to explain immigration to my mom.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:55 AM
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123: You'd think, but I guess I don't know, and there does seem to be a social dimension to it beyond couples.

I've always admired competence and been put of by its absence, and may have expected feminism to provide more impetuous behind that because it's what I always wanted to see, without any good idea of the complexity of the issue.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:57 AM
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put off


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:01 AM
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It's that fine line between trying to live a gender-egalitarian life 24-7 and pissing off everyone you know all the time. You fight on some things, and back off on others, and which ones you fight on and which ones you back off on are not necessarily all that consciously or deliberately chosen.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:05 AM
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always wants to solve a problem...Same thing with uncles, neighbors, etc; fixing small things makes them Real Men.

I know this is true, and I try to salve my conscience about it by thinking of these as teaching moments: See, it's easy! Here's how to do it yourself!


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:05 AM
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What did you do? Just kept trying with the screwdriver, or is there some technique?

If the screw's not too small, and if it comes out a bit, you can grip them with needlenose pliers and turn and pull.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:09 AM
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What did you do? Just kept trying with the screwdriver, or is there some technique?

I found a product called "Screw Grab" which is a suspension of micro-fine grit that you dip the tip of your screwdriver in. Even so, the Philips-head driver didn't work; I had to try a few different heads, and finally just the right size of flathead + Screw Grab did the trick.

With other situations, I might have tried a dremel tool or an "easy-out" screw extractor, but this screw was so small and so close to delicate parts that I didn't want to risk it.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:09 AM
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Them s/b it, natch.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:09 AM
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a product called "Screw Grab" which is a suspension of micro-fine grit

That sounds like a useful thing to know about. Thanks.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:10 AM
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The extent to which I am capable of a decent number of household repairs is directly proportional to the degree of anxiety caused by the thought of having to call up someone else to do the repairs. Competence born of phone phobia.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:11 AM
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The head was flat and flush with the surface, so pliers were not an option.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:11 AM
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This is interesting. Exbeforelast is very much a "give me that thing, you idiot" type, and the ex would let me do some stuff and do some stuff herself, and sometimes we'd do a little project together. The one time I had trouble along these lines was with the former future mother in law, who lived in a damn cabin in the woods for years by herself, but I thought she was about to hurt herself with a drill once and said something...bad move.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:11 AM
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I think some of the above is making too much of the idea that it's about male ego needing to do these things. That does exist, definitely, but a lot of the women I know just don't care, don't want to know, and, frankly, expect other people to deal with this stuff for them.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:12 AM
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128: Plus, the decision can be made years before you had a chance at it. It would a poor division of labor if I were to take over major car repairs (I can do all the minor maintenance stuff.) I'll make sure if we have daughters that they learn about cars from their dad, but for now, we have one person who can install a transmission here, and it isn't me.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:12 AM
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I've changed a tyre, but not in years, and am pretty sure I could do it if the nuts hadn't been mechanically tightened. (I probably should get one of those cans of gunk that can temporarily inflate your tyre to get you to the next garage.) And of course I have to fill up the windscreen wiper reservoir regularly. I'd be nervous about the radiator fluid - isn't it supposed to be some special stuff? - but would put water in if there was an emergency i.e. car overheating. Brake fluid I would not mess with - anything peculiar about the brakes and I'm not driving that.

I like the sense of minor achievement from putting together flat pack furniture and the like. If I owned my own place I would definitely buy a drill. My mother was always big on the idea that we should all be able to cook a meal, wire a plug and sew on a button.

The whole being incompetent about woman's work thing is often a deliberate strategy to avoid having to do it. E.g. the older female lawyer's tip to "never let them know you can type". I was once the only woman and the only person who could type at a big meeting where contracts were being re-drafted - it worked to our side's advantage, though.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:14 AM
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I am frankly too much of a bossy child to cede control of much handy-type stuff around the house. Even when I need help, I instantly snatch the project back as soon as the assistance has been given. "I CAN DO IT!!!" Replacing transmissions, however? No.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:16 AM
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Like everything else, it's one of those highly-sensitive to initial conditions kind of things. I'm legitimately not very handy, because from a combination of apartment living, where if something breaks you call the super, and having Buck around, I don't have occasion to fix stuff much. So to wave off a takeover attempt of some little job, I'd generally have to wave it off with the implicit statement "I'd like to do this for personal development despite the fact that you'd probably do it better and faster," which is the sort of thing that it's hard to be forceful about. If I'd had occasion to pick up more handyman skills at some time, it'd be easier to be aggressive about getting to use them.

I do like taking stuff apart, but I don't end up doing it much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:17 AM
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I had to sign pledging financial support for the next ten years. He felt emasculated (especially when I tried to explain immigration to my mom.)

If he moves over the line to feeling entitled about it, remind him (as indeed I myself was reminded) that your commitment is strictly speaking financial support just sufficient to keep him above the line where he would become a financial burden on the state.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:17 AM
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Oh, he won't. The issue was more trying to explain to my mother what this form was all about, and him getting a little pissy later that I was telling his new mother-in-law (and she likely telling all the relatives because that's how this family works) that 'She has to promise the government to support him' without being able to say 'O, that is a formality, for I have a job!'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:19 AM
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141 pwned by 138.

On 137: Eh, I really don't mean to blame everything on the overarching male ego (although perhaps I do mean to blame it all on the patriarchy). But you don't need a lot of overarching male ego (and as facets of the male ego go, this is one of the decenter ones -- the impulse behind it is about generosity and caretaking as much as it is about showing off) to set the initial conditions.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:20 AM
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E.g. the older female lawyer's tip to "never let them know you can type".

My mother once explained to me that typing is like sex -- you do it for yourself, or for someone you love, but never for money.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:21 AM
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...typing is like sex -- you do it for yourself, or for someone you love, but never for money.

"Illusion, Michael. A trick is something a hooker does for money. Or candy!"


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:23 AM
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When I had a car, I skipped the jumper cables and went straight for the "Large rechargeable batter with jumper cables so that you can jump start your car without another car," becasue my batter died so often.

I am otherwise fairly unhandy. I just did some testing, and I get easily frustrated with manual things. I even have a hard time organizing my living space, but my manual dexterity is pretty poor, so doing those thigns quickly is challenging and painfully frustrating.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:25 AM
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My mother's strategy was to refuse to even learn to type (and also to drive a car) lest anyone ever make her do either one for another person. She has since relented on the former, though I think she still may write her decisions longhand. She temporarily, technically relented on the latter, but never really got the hang of it. She got rid of the car soon after and mooches rides from people all the time. It was a real drag when I was a kid, dependent on other people's parents to drive me home from school plays and the like, and she never ever reciprocated.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:26 AM
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write her decisions longhand.

Your mom's a judge?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:27 AM
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Yep! A wo/rker's com/pen/sat/ion judge in PA.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:27 AM
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But you don't need a lot of overarching male ego (and as facets of the male ego go, this is one of the decenter ones -- the impulse behind it is about generosity and caretaking as much as it is about showing off) to set the initial conditions.

Yeah, the reason I am pushing against what you are saying isn't because I don't think it plays a role in setting some of the background conditions* but because I don't think it does much work in explaining why women my mother's generation are much less helpless or why a certain subset [and it's a subset] of women my age have much more in common with a much earlier generation of women than they do with their mothers or grandmothers. That is, I am quite interested in how and why the 'helpless princess' and 'go-getting career woman' can and do often co-exist.

I think partly this is sparked in my by a couple of conversations I've had recently with friends so I wouldn't want to start building some huge theory on a few anecdotal data points, but it is interesting.

* I agree with you that it does.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:27 AM
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Was "batter" a repeated typo, or a Boston usage?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:27 AM
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very tiny screw ... in a delicate spot

Come on, people. Just 'cause it hang low don't mean it pick itself.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:28 AM
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This is interesting! Initial conditions is absolutely right. I grew up with my single dad in a very service-y culture--you didn't fix things yourself, you called someone else to do it. Especially if you were middle-class, it was almost like you were being selfish if you didn't get someone to help you, because you could give someone else some work and a little money, someone who needed it.

I found this attitude very frustrating, often because there were things that didn't work in the house and I wanted them fixed now, not when my dad got around to calling the plumber/electrician/tv guy whatever.

I first recall taking matters into my own hands seriously in 7th grade, when the phone was messed up and I really needed to call my friends, damnit. So I was rooting around outside and found where a line had been cut, and spliced it myself (thus also slightly electrocuting myself, but whatevs).

Same thing with the tv, vcr, satellite dish and whatever else. My dad = totally incompetent with "handyman" type stuff. I got used to fixing stuff if it was to get fixed. And it's so satisfying!

So, yeah, there's a lot of "give me that!"


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:31 AM
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152: "batter" was a typo, and I lived in California when I had the car. I never did learn how to change the oil. I shoudl have, since getting the oil changed on an 85 diesel does cost a bit more than on a regular gasoline one. I did fix a headlight, but my after-market manual was not as detailed as I woudl have liked.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:32 AM
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I second ttaM's curiosity on that, although LB's "everybody's less handy, but men are more invested in retaining it for self-esteem reasons" is quite plausible. I still find daughters less competent than mothers to be somewhat common, and somehow counterintuitive, but as I said I misunderstood autonomy from the gitgo.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:33 AM
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151: That is, I am quite interested in how and why the 'helpless princess' and 'go-getting career woman' can and do often co-exist.

I think some of the answer is right in that sentence. If there's a traditional gender role in which men expect to protect and care for women, and women expect to be protected and cared for, which of course there is, both being capable of earning a living on your own and being able to do minor household repairs cut against that. If you've got any desire, conscious or subconscious, to hold on to that role, going all helpless over the minor household repairs is a lot lower stakes than compromising your ability to earn a living.

To use Cala's example, Shivbunny's feeling kind of emasculated by the immigration process and all the stuff around it that makes him kind of dependent on her. It makes sense that any attachment to traditional gender roles would show up a little more strongly in peripheral areas. Or, in my case, I've got an ego the size of your average commercial airliner. If I didn't have a career to establish my credentials as 'perfectly capable of taking care of myself, thank you very much', I'd probably be much more invested in being competent around the house.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:36 AM
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I am not terribly competent, but I have something of an excuse: my mother is even less so, and I've had to teach myself most things.

The other day I was wishing for a home ec class for adults. I know that there are adult education courses in cooking, car repair and sewing, but I want to know how to examine sheets for quality and hwo to fold a fitted sheet. I also want to know how to cook dinner every night on a budget and sew on a button quickly and easily.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:38 AM
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That is, I am quite interested in how and why the 'helpless princess' and 'go-getting career woman' can and do often co-exist.

I've kinda noticed, among some women of my cohort (late 20s, early 30s), that refusing to learn certain traditionally feminine competencies has become a point of pride. I suspect it's class snobbery, but it sometimes masquerades as some sort of feminist position.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:40 AM
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hwo to fold a fitted sheet.

(a) Why bother? but (b) not that hard. You fold it in half down the middle, and nest the 'fitted' part of the head-end of the sheet around the 'fitted' part of the foot end of the sheet. Then fold in half side to side and do the same thing. Then fold the, what would you call it, the margin? the part of the sheet that covers the side of the mattress, over so it lies flat on the rest of the sheet on the side, and then on the top, and then you have a flat quarter sheet you can keep folding.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:42 AM
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158: I really wish that the tone of this book were less irritating, because it does contain a lot of that useful information.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:43 AM
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I found it surprisingly useless. I picked it up figuring a general reference manual wasn't a terrible idea, and couldn't find much of any areas where it had useful information, as opposed to advice about how clean you should keep your house, that I didn't know.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:46 AM
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158: When I went off to college, someone gave me a copy of a book called Where's Mom Now That I Need Her?, at which I rolled my eyes. It did however turn out to be useful with that sort of info.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:46 AM
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161: The excerpt wouldn't load; too many people checking it out?

It seems a project that might be very good, if you got the tone just right.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:50 AM
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The tone was fine, and maybe I'm just not the audience. I just remember trying to look up questions a couple of times, and getting nothing I didn't know. The advice was very forceful, and if you lived like she advised you would have a well kept house, but the information was a mile wide and an inch deep, or so I thought.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 11:57 AM
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I learned most of what I learned about cooking and sewing and home repair by making a total bosh of things, by being stubborn and secretive about my errors, and by truculantly refusing to pay any money to professionals. Now that I'm living with somebody a bit more anal-retentive competant, my home-repair efforts usually get taken over from me at that the "total bosh of things" stage.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:07 PM
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I've read the excerpt, a sort of manifesto now, and I see the problem with it. Too much, too defensive by half. A milder, subtler expression of the same attitude would have been tolerable.

She wouldn't have to have provided examples nor stated it for me to guess she was a lawyer. Piling-on becomes a habit some people can't turn off.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:07 PM
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My parents were both competent cooks (though not by the standards around here), but I didn't really learn to cook until I moved out. The method I used was to start with simple recipes (easy to do when you have limited implements) and not to mind too much when I messed it up.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:10 PM
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Yes, too much manifesto, not enough brilliant tips, which is of course a structural as well as stylistic problem. There are good things in there about how to care for different fabrics and treat different kinds of stains, that sort of thing.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:18 PM
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Oh, you know what I did learn from Home Comforts? Rubbing alcohol to take out ink stains. Works remarkably well, and I wouldn't have thought of it at all. That one's probably paid for the book.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:20 PM
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Not minding too much when you mess up is the Master Method for learning anything.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:20 PM
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Photoset showing how to fold a fitted sheet.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:25 PM
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In my experience, a man folding a fitted sheet into a crisp, sharp rectangle makes women go weak in the knees.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:26 PM
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Walking into the bar with a sack of unfolded laundry tends to puzzle them at first, though.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:32 PM
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172.---Huh. That does make sense.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:35 PM
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In my experience, a man folding a fitted sheet into a crisp, sharp rectangle makes women go weak in the knees.

Nothing like making an expertly crafted banana split.


Posted by: froz gobo | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:36 PM
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It is amazing how much clearer it is in pictures than words. That was what I was trying to say in 160, but I don't think I was comprehensible at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:36 PM
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I did impress a young woman once by folding a fitted sheet; she hadn't believed it could be done.

Didn't notice any weakness in the knees, though.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:41 PM
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||

My mom sent me his very funny NSFW commercial.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:42 PM
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What if you have the kind of sheet with elastic all the way across top and bottom, so both ends bunch up and there are no obvious corners? 160(a) seems to hit the spot.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:43 PM
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re: 159

Yes, I think it is class snobbery, and also a legacy of a
certain kind of traditional gender role that's on the way out [which LB partly says above].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:46 PM
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The book in 158 looks like a good idea, although I didn't like the excerpt. If anyone has any alternate suggestions, I totally want to buy one for my boyfriend, who pretends to be clueless about household chores (and probably is, but still). I realize it's a kind of passive-aggressive thing to buy someone, but then hey, I could look at it myself!


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:55 PM
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This leads to a very natural, but irkingly traditional breakdown

I'm coming late to this discussion, but this is an issue that I've run into a bunch of times in friendships/relationships/dating. The thing is, I've worked in construction, and demolition, as a mechanic, in machine shops, in other shops. Done a bit of house & industrial wiring, a bit of masonary work. I've poured concrete foundations, welded steel & aluminum, done some tin bashing, rebuilt motors (2-stroke, 4-stroke, diesel, marine), wound armatures, dug postholes and for that matter trimmed the posts by hand. Sawn logs, dropped trees, balanced wheels, built radiators, designed fabricated pcb & optical bench... etc. etc. and all of these things at some (limited) professional level.

Now a real professional at any of these would be vastly better it than I am, particularly since I'm years out of practice on much of it. On the other hand, I'm not coming at it from some bullshit `guy' thing, either --- and I have three large toolboxes of hand tools that I know how to use (sold off all the airtools etc.). These days, almost everyone I meet male or female is less experienced at most of the sterotypcial fixit or guy-stuff things than I am. This is just an objective truth, not a position on gendered affinities or whatever --- but more than once I've had people say it was frustrating to know that these stereotypes are actually true in our relationship. Mostly it works out ok, but I don't know how to avoid it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 12:55 PM
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I don't think it's class snobbery, really, in the US. I've got working class inlaws, and I think of the class markers as going in the reverse direction; showing up for holidays with homemade pies, rather than canned filling in storebought crust, is something I do but am sensitive about drawing attention to because cooking from scratch, and showing off your cooking generally, is a very middle/uppermiddle class thing to do, here. So I show up with pie, but don't talk about it because that would come off snobbish.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:01 PM
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as an addendum to 183: I say this coming from having spent a bunch of years in a sub-culture where near everyone was in trades, and everyone did for themselves for the most part. Meaning that everyone would do minor repairs on their house or vehicles, you'd call a buddy who really knew their stuff if you ran into something tricky.

What surprises me now, if I notice it at all, is the degree to which most of my social circle has never done any of this stuff.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:02 PM
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So how much are guys like me being pandered to, for the sake of our self-esteem?

Constantly. Any time people don't teach girls how to do stuff because they don't/won't need to know it. Including things like the idea that women aren't supposed to pick up the check--picking up the check is partly a status move, and we all know it, which is why people fight over it when they're trying to show off.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:02 PM
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but more than once I've had people say it was frustrating to know that these stereotypes are actually true in our relationship. Mostly it works out ok, but I don't know how to avoid it.

Projecting from my own wishes, but if someone's actually saying they're frustrated, I'd take that as a signal to, the next time something came up, stand behind her handing her tools and speaking when spoken to. That sounds like someone who'd like to learn this stuff, but is too unsure of herself to resist if you step in and just do it for her.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:06 PM
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re: 184

It's definitely class snobbery here. Those are things that housewives and cleaners do, not lawyers or accountants.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:07 PM
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183: I have a remarkably similar background, right down to the tools and "(limited) professional" experience. As I've said above, I don't run into people frustrated by it, rather the reverse. I can imagine the people frustrated by it, but never meet them.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:07 PM
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188: Here, domestic skills (cooking, knitting) come off as expensive hobbies, not working-class survival skills, more. I think? Does this accord with other Americans' perceptions?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:12 PM
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187: That's true, and I try and do that (although I'm bad at this, sometimes) but I think `show me how to do this' feels as bad as `do this for me'. I think that the frustration stems from an abstract idea that they should know how to do this, not that they have any idea of a mechanism for how they should have learned. I suspect his is particularly true if you grew up in an environment where nobody did this sort of thing (i.e. you always call someone in) and so you didn't even pick anything up by just being around it.


189: Most people happy about it, true.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:15 PM
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I agree with LB. Working class people go to McDonald's, uncultured middle class people pour cream of mushroom soup on chicken and bake it, and the cultured lovingly prepare cuisine with expensive ingredients and plan to teach their children appropriate knife skills.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:16 PM
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Which is to say that prestige is weird.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:17 PM
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I dunno about cooking as an expensive hobby. Yes, the foodies take it to that level, but every grad student has had to learn how to cook. Also, most women who've had an eating disorder somewhere in their past learn to cook: it's not exactly a working-class survival skill, but it's more essential than a mere hobby would be.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:18 PM
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I think `show me how to do this' feels as bad as `do this for me'.

That's right. What I said was (and I don't think this is the obviously right thing to do -- I'm in no way judging you if this isn't your spontaneous reaction, just talking about what I would have liked) stand behind her, handing her tools and speaking when spoken to. Having someone who knows what they're doing around, who will let you figure it out for yourself but will be there to help if you need it or answer questions if you have them, is great. (I developed a raging crush on a guy who did this for me in college while I fixed my tape player, once.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:20 PM
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188: I agree that they're tending that way.

I remember being a bit surprised that someone as assertive and technically-minded as Megan was still taking pride and wonder from wiring an outlet. This is where the "generational" aspect seems to come in for me. It was common for women of my mom's age to be able to do amazing stuff, when camping for instance.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:20 PM
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190. Ouch. Yes, probably. A good rolodex beats being able to do it yourself in practical terms. I like cooking, though, and hate to think of myself as a tool. So: Grill skills might be a special male exception, and I hate to believe that putting together a good stew or soup quickly with whatever's around is a frill.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:21 PM
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192: Or send their kids to a `knife skills' cooking class at the local yuppy food store.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:21 PM
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I was actually surprised by Megan there too. Don't know what the story is, but that seemed out of character.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:21 PM
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197: Oh, just because it's a class marker here doesn't mean there's anything at all wrong with being a good cook -- it's genuinely useful for anyone, and you end up with better food than you could buy unless you're crazy rich.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:23 PM
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I did enough time working in kitchens too that I don't really have any fear of making something up out of what's at hand. It surprises me the number of friends who've been amazed by this.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:24 PM
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194: I wouldn't call it an expensive hobby. It's cheaper than eating out at restaurants I'd like to go to.** But it's definitely one that shows you're someone who knows what's good, so it lends itself to snobbery well before people start chasing down elusively sourced saffron.

** Bit of a feedback problem here. The better I get at cooking, the less likely I am to want to eat out anywhere I can afford.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:26 PM
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** Bit of a feedback problem here. The better I get at cooking, the less likely I am to want to eat out anywhere I can afford.

This can be a real problem! There is usually good stuff hidden around though, and I occasionally like splurging for something I really could not make myself.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:27 PM
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soup gets pressed duck once a month.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:28 PM
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194

"... but every grad student has had to learn how to cook ..."

Untrue.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:29 PM
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196: It was common for women of my mom's age to be able to do amazing stuff, when camping for instance.

Or wiring outlets and lamps, painting, and hanging wallpaper the old fashioned way w/ a bucket of glue and brush, etc. My father was useless at that sort of thing.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:29 PM
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And it's killing to know how fast cooking from scratch has gone from "survival-skill, likely to be well done by working-class" to upper class hobby. Maybe 2 generations, sometimes less.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:30 PM
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207: Yeah, this is a huge shift. People used to cook because they couldn't afford to go out. Now they can get by on processed food at home, and processed food at restaraunts, for a fraction of what a comparable (class-wise) food budget used to be. Big drop in quality though.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:32 PM
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203: For us, it means usually an ethnic cuisine I don't do well, or don't do often enough to make the initial outlay for spices and ingredients worthwhile.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:34 PM
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That's a matter of frozen food and microwaves. Cooking from scratch will save you some money if you're living off rice and beans, but in the range of most people's food budgets, it doesn't save money so much as improve the quality of the food. (And if you're living off ramen noodles, cooking from scratch doesn't even save you much.)

So cooking is a tradeoff of leisure for good food, and that's a hard tradeoff for someone who's working long hours to make.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:35 PM
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Cooking from scratch will save you some money if you're living off rice and beans, but in the range of most people's food budgets, it doesn't save money so much as improve the quality of the food.

I think it saves money as well if the tradeoff is not with microwave food at home but going out to lunch or getting takeout for dinner, at anywhere other than the cheapest places.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:38 PM
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It does, but if money's tight -- like, if we're talking about working class survival -- dropping back to packing a sandwich and microwaving a frozen dinner doesn't require additional cooking skills.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:40 PM
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True.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:42 PM
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I feel weird about the cooking and class thing, because I'm aware that my cooking skills (which come the old-fashioned way, through my Southern grandmother and mother) are similar to those prized by the coastal bourgeoisie (wanting things made "from scratch" with fresh ingredients), except that my methods are totally different, as are my reasons for doing it.

I cook well because I am too poor to eat good food at restaurants. I have to make good food instead. I also cook because I was raised by traditional Christian-values folks who wanted me to make a good wife for someone someday, or at least be able to cook for money in case I couldn't marry. It never occurred to me until I left the midwest that an ability to cook would signify anything other than a working-class upbringing.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:43 PM
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(My best friend always treats my cooking skill with the greatest respect, and laments that her upbringing wasn't privileged enough to include cooking lessons. Meanwhile, I consider people who were raised without cooking lessons to be privileged, because the expectation is that they'll always be able to pay someone else to cook for them.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:46 PM
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I cook well because I am too poor to eat good food at restaurants. I have to make good food instead.

The desire for "good food" itself is a status marker, your personal lack of money aside. You could definitely afford to eat bad food at restaurants or heat up bad food at home, and would have more free time, which is valuable to people who are overworked and have kids.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:46 PM
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It never occurred to me until I left the midwest that an ability to cook would signify anything other than a working-class upbringing.

This seems apposite for some reason.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:48 PM
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211

"I think it saves money as well if the tradeoff is not with microwave food at home but going out to lunch or getting takeout for dinner, at anywhere other than the cheapest places."

If you ignore the cost of access to a kitchen and the value of your time.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:49 PM
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221: Exactly, it's the preponderance of cheap `convenience food', whether it's a frozen pizza or a fast-food dinner, that has dropped to the cost level that all but the most desperatly poor can pretty much subsist on it. And the trade off is time.


214: It's a strange thing. As I mentioned, I learned everything pretty much in a commercial kitchen (which gives me disdain for gagetry and sort of aggressively messy/sprawled out methodology), rather than at home. But all through my student etc. years I just cooked because it was the only way I'd get anything decent for the amount of money I had to spend. These days, it makes me judgemental about mid-range eateries, I guess. I never would have dreamed that the cooking class thing would be as common as it seems to be -- I woudl have suspected some sort of rich enclave wierdness for bored trophy wives, not as broadly based as it actually seems to be.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:49 PM
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216: Well that, and these days you have plenty of people who have no idea what their options are.

We immigrated into neighborhoods full of other immigrants without much money. Everybody cooked at home, without fail. They cooked all sorts of different things, but they cooked. Pre-processed stuff was too expensive, and not that common anyway.

These days it's pretty easy to grow up never really having tasted the difference.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:52 PM
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216: To Southerners, eating good food is not class-bound the way it is in the North. I've always felt weird about how proud some of my northern working-class friends are of their bad palates, bragging about how they love cheap hot dogs and whatnot. You would never hear someone of my grandmother's generation, of whatever class, in Alabama bragging about liking terrible food. Poor people who cook are capable of having good palates, just like the rich do.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:54 PM
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If you ignore the cost of access to a kitchen and the value of your time.

Sure. Though, in my particular case the motivation for switching over was the desire to make better use of my time. After having kids, we wanted to sit down and eat home-cooked meals with them instead of eating out/getting takeout a lot. So the cost savings are large (leftovers for lunch), the food is better, and the time spent isn't wasted.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:55 PM
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A man who can fold a perfect fitted sheet does not make me weak in the knees. Deeply anxious, in a "Sleeping with the Enemy" sort of way.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:56 PM
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A man who can fold a perfect fitted sheet does not make me weak in the knees. Deeply anxious, in a "Sleeping with the Enemy" sort of way.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:56 PM
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"Plenty of people with no idea what their options are" I think is key. It's not just an income marker. Remember the blogspat a couple years back where a bunch of conservative types published their favorite recipes, most of which featured cheez whiz and/or Rotel? And they were proud of that because it showed they were appropriate non-gay or something?

It's a knowledge-and-aspirations marker, too.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:56 PM
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To Southerners, eating good food is not class-bound the way it is in the North.

All those people may insist the food they eat is good (rather than emphasizing its cheapness or terribleness), but it's certainly not the case that the items constituting the set of good foods are shared across classes, though the boundaries have probably weakened since the 1970s.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:58 PM
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The biggest class/competence change I experienced in my life was when I drove my beetle to U of C for grad school. People would see me working on it, and later say to me "I've always wanted to take a class in that..."

The idea that that wasn't how to learn hadn't occurred to them, and you didn't need to be Ivan Illich to think there was something odd about it, if you came from my lower-middle-class background.

When I later heard the (Jackie Mason?) joke about the girls signing up for masturbation classes I knew just what he meant.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:59 PM
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I find that you can easily wad a fitted sheet into a size similar to that of a folded non-fitted sheet, and then stack the other sheets up on top of it.

Anyway, I prefer to make women weak in the knees by demonstrating obsessive skill at useless tasks, thus signifying that I have access to lots of metabolic fitness which needs to be wasted somehow.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:59 PM
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221: The same is true in China. very ordinary, unrich people seek out the best food that can find. It's actually part of their religion, in a sense. A lot of religious ceremonies are feasts.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 1:59 PM
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227: New cars have been designed to be hard to work on. Not a conpiracy, but all the hi-tek stuff means you have to be a mechanic and a geek too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:01 PM
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227: New cars have been designed to be hard to work on. Not a conpiracy, but all the hi-tek stuff means you have to be a mechanic and a geek too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:01 PM
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I think there's a slight misunderstanding about what I had in mind with my 'helpless princess' comment. These aren't women who are a bit crap at cooking, they are people who think that pretty much any domestic 'labour' is beneath them. Apart from their gender they think pretty much like your stereotypical 50s husband, except they don't have wives to do the stereotypical 50s wifely thing.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:01 PM
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re: 232

Also, I'm not trolling. I'm talking about a minority of people [and there have always been men who behaved in the analogous way]. It's just a retrograde step back, I think, from a previous generation of women influenced by feminism.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:02 PM
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232 -- compartmentalization of labor in society, now for women as well as men!


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:03 PM
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My car runs on Linux.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:03 PM
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the boundaries have probably weakened since the 1970s.

Yeah, especially now that nearly every wealthy household has at least one cookbook of "peasant food" and one of "southern food."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:03 PM
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at least one cookbook of "peasant food"

There was an inadvertently hilarious NYT piece a while ago about someone's efforts to make proper sourdough bread, keeping and feeding a long-lived sourdough starter and so on. The funny bit was when the author was describing how they took twelve or fourteen tries at baking one before they got to something that had the qualities appropriate to a "peasant loaf."


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:06 PM
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227: The idea that that wasn't how to learn hadn't occurred to them, and you didn't need to be Ivan Illich to think there was something odd about it, if you came from my lower-middle-class background.

The thing is, you need some kind of foundation, or the beginning steps are hopelessly frustrating. I didn't learn to cook well at home -- it wasn't my job, and Mom wasn't really focused on teaching us -- but I picked up enough to make teaching myself reasonable. I've never seen anyone fix a car, on the other hand -- I'm in exactly the same position with respect to auto mechanics as I am with respect to synthesizing LSD. I'm sure it's not all that hard, in either case, but I'd really want a class to begin with, or a mentor, if I were going to learn how.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:06 PM
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Isn't this one of those this wave, that wave feminism things?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:06 PM
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I am in some ways like what GcM describes in 232, although I don't know why you would describe it as "helpless princess." It's more like "don't expect me to do any housework or "womanly" shit." Although I can cook fine (and even quite well sometimes), I don't take great pride in it and prefer to be cooked for, and I don't like to do domestic labor if it benefits anyone but myself (and not necessarily even then).

I am quite competent at household stuff, but I take no pride in it and I don't like it. It's kind of a character flaw of mine that I don't want to so much as iron a shirt for a man, but hey, whaddayagonnado.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:07 PM
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238: A lot of this is simple confidence. If you've done similar things, you believe you'll be able to learn these ones --- and maybe invest in a couple of special tools you need. If you've never done anything like it, it can seem unsurmountable.

Funnliy enough, a number of old-school mechanics I knew were sort of this way about electrical systems (pre-computer, I mean). They always viewed them with suspicion, and never wanted to actually understand electronics. They got by on a few simple tests, and a lot of folklore.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:08 PM
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240: GcM sounds like he's talking about someone who won't cook their own food or wash their own clothes. Which does sound helpless princessy, or 50s dad-like, but doesn't sound like you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:09 PM
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But the point of 227 is that how you expect to get that foundation is class-based. I had this experience when a grad school friend asked shivbunny how he learned the technical skills for handling dynamite in his job. He laughed, and explained that it was just something you did, and we explained that the knee-jerk response of any academic, upon starting a new endeavor, is to research the holy hell out of it.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:10 PM
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And I don't think it's compartmentalization. I don't want to and wouldn't hire someone else to clean my house or whatever. But if I have a romantic partner with whom I share any domestic tasks, and even just a bit more than half falls to me, I am pissed off. Since you are never going to get an exact balance, my solution is to try to get the man to do more.

This has proven to be very difficult.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:11 PM
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Yeah, I've lost track of what NattarGcM's talking about, exactly. I thought at first he was talking about modern women who were stereotypically helpless about traditionally male tasks, like car and home repair, and that made some sort of sense as a mild form of backlash -- women with careers who get a little helplessly-femmy at home to hold onto some sort of traditional gender role. But now he seems to be talking about women who don't do anything at all for themselves, stereotypically masculine or feminine. Which sounds annoying, certainly, but I'm not figuring out much to do with it from a gender-analysis point of view.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:21 PM
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I think my parents kinda hoped I would be a helpless princess. They are working class people, and they thought that by dint of education, I would rise above and never have to perform any of the tedious chores that comprise the work of life. This all became clear when I started going to Fancy Law School, and they began to actively dissuade me from cooking, or taking up hobbies, like sewing or knitting or craft. At one point I asked my mom how to make a favorite food that she makes for me, and she refused to teach me, on the grounds that I could pay someone to cook for me. She also began to badger me to get a housekeeper, not because my apartment was dirty, but because I could "save so much time."

As it turns out, I do public interest law, and will never be able to afford to pay someone to cook my food or clean my house. But I'm a pretty good cook and a competent housekeeper, so that's okay. My parents are understandably disappointed.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:21 PM
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Which sounds annoying, certainly, but I'm not figuring out much to do with it from a gender-analysis point of view.

I think it's a combination of i) rejection of stereotypical housewife role, ii) retention of enough of the 'bad at stereotypically male things'. There's something complicated going on gender-wise in a 'having one's cake and eating it' sense, i.e. neither the typically female or the typically male competencies are being adopted.

I really do have more to say about this, but can't type it now.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:31 PM
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To my parents' credit, they taught me to do boy things as well as girl things. I know how to gut a dead animal, construct a small shed, care for an automobile, plan and maintain vegetable and flower gardens, and fire a gun.

And while I can sew and cook, I am crap at cleaning, interior design, childcare (beyond three hours), shopping, and so forth. I think my parents did want me to make a decent wifey, but they also suspected since my early childhood that I might be a lesbian and I'd have to learn how to take care of boy stuff too.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:34 PM
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247: Ooooh. That I can see.

Yeah -- this is one of those things where talking about how patriarchy hurts everyone, man, comes into play. You've got the whole structure of traditional gender roles, and while I'd argue that women are overall an oppressed class under that structure, there are certainly facets that cut in different directions. Given that the people most invested in disassembling that structure are women (that is, while there are plenty of men who agree with and support feminism, they seem to largely focus on it as something that's about ending the oppression of women, rather than taking apart gender roles generally), the bits of it that have gotten the most attention are those that directly injure women.

So I can totally see someone not thinking too hard about it saying "Fuck you, I'm not cooking and cleaning for you," as a feminist kind of position, but also "Clean out the rain gutters? I'm not going to do that, you be a man and get up that ladder, you lazy sack of shit," in an unexaminedly traditional kind of way. The combination of the two would be wildly obnoxious, and I can't say I can think of anyone I know who thinks that way, but I could see it happening. Was that sort of what you meant?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:49 PM
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The only thing odd about 249 is that you don't know anyone like that. I know plenty.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:54 PM
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The biggest class/competence change I experienced in my life was when I drove my beetle to U of C for grad school. People would see me working on it, and later say to me "I've always wanted to take a class in that..."

The idea that that wasn't how to learn hadn't occurred to them, and you didn't need to be Ivan Illich to think there was something odd about it, if you came from my lower-middle-class background.

Funny, I thought about taking a class in that during one of the summers I had nothing to do in high school or early in college. But I figured that whatever I learned in the class I would forget after a year, since I would have little opportunity to use it, so my options were either to be able to do nothing, or to be able to do nothing while thinking "I've done this before, I should know this, but I only did it on a different kind of car".

How did you learn?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:54 PM
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Also, your tip re: name worked. Although now I'm rediscovering what a pain it is to type a pseud every time.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:55 PM
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Really? That'd suck. Oh well, we all know what the solution is: more (and more consistent) feminism!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:56 PM
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253 to 250


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 2:58 PM
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So I can totally see someone not thinking too hard about it saying "Fuck you, I'm not cooking and cleaning for you," as a feminist kind of position, but also "Clean out the rain gutters? I'm not going to do that, you be a man and get up that ladder, you lazy sack of shit," in an unexaminedly traditional kind of way. The combination of the two would be wildly obnoxious, and I can't say I can think of anyone I know who thinks that way, but I could see it happening.

This strikes me as a very familiar sort of position to take, actually. Not just as an ugly brand of unexamined feminism, either, but in the sense that many people's moral philosophies (shockingly!) also happen to justify their own personal habits and desires, however idiosyncratic or inconsistent.


Posted by: NickFranklin | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 3:05 PM
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I know a couple of women like that. I also know a number of very smart, well adjusted, totally great people who've said things like: "Well, if you and your honey are having trouble dividing the household labor equitably, you should get a housecleaner! Problem solved!" Outsourcing everything as cutting the Gordian knot of gender roles: however, it doesn't make sense to me to spend my out of traditional categories.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 3:07 PM
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Well, sure, under the general heading of "People suck and apply general rules in a self-serving manner".


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 3:08 PM
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257 to 255. I do get terribly self-conscious in conversations about how men don't pull their weight domestically, because Buck does well more than half of the domestic work: he's neater than I am, and he works at home. And I'm not even out fixing the car. And my upper-middle-class domestic skills are all the kind of useless kind.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 3:10 PM
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Mary* and I are in a position right now where she cannot work (for visa reasons) and so we've fallen into very traditional roles: she does the housework, I go to work each day. It's only for a year or two, but it does sometimes seem a bit odd to our feminist sensibilities.


Posted by: Abe Lincoln | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 3:20 PM
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I spent about a year and a half learning to service my own car. Time consuming, not fun, and economically not worth it when you need to have it refixed by a professional. It REALLY helps to have a guide. Probably after x hundred hours of practice you end up ahead of the game, but (unless you are fascinated by cars, and many are) initially it isn't worth it.

You guessed right: I wasn't fascinated by cars. I also threw a wrench through a windshield once.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 3:37 PM
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Yeah, 249 is pretty much exactly what I meant. I think bits of it are common in ways that reflect somewhat badly on both men and women, I'd not want to paint some picture in which women (in general) are 'taking advantage' [these are contentious terms, but it's not meant that way].*

But I do know a few couples where something like that scenario does seem to be true. I've had a couple of conversations with male friends where I've been quite surprised at the roles that have been adopted -- roles essentially in which one of the couple is clearly disadvantaged.**

* I'd also happily own up to sometimes being a lazy shit myself.

** in more or less the opposite of the ways in which 2nd wave feminists began to complain (legitimately) about back in the 50s.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 3:39 PM
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I've had a couple of conversations with male friends where I've been quite surprised at the roles that have been adopted -- roles essentially in which one of the couple is clearly disadvantaged.**

Yeah, I could see that. One thing that I would raise, is that in a society that breaks down responsibilities equally by gender, not every relationship is necessarily going to be internally equitable or just, if you see what I mean. People treating each other badly is an individual issue -- people treating each other badly in ways that fall into societal patterns along gender lines is a social issue.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 3:48 PM
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I learned how to fix motorcyles and cars by taking one completely apart (down to bare frame) and putting it back together again with improvements and new parts where needed. This method really works, but it's a) time consuming and b) requires a fair bit of space and some specialized tools.

It helps to have a friend who has done this before, but is not necessary (I didn't, first time). It *really* helps to be organized about how you do it, and get a good tech manual for the model you have.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 3:56 PM
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I'll confess to having had some of the "foundation" LB referred to, from childhood flashlight-holding to working on my bike. And I was given a toolkit for my thirteenth birthday, by my brother's father-in-law, a mechanic.

But for the old VW, John Muir's How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive was a very good source. I kept it in the car, and eventually did nearly everything in it. Step-by-step, follow the directions, ask for help when you're not sure.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 4:10 PM
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I don't want to and wouldn't hire someone else to clean my house or whatever.

That's crazy. Having a cleaning lady has done wonders for my mental health.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 4:12 PM
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263: Yeah, a good shop manual and the possession of many cupcake baking pans makes all the difference.

Lots of it is self-confidence tho'. At this point I'm fully aware my very first attempt at something new and complicated will go slowly, somewhere down the line I'll get to the area's equivalent of "Hello, World", and after that progress will be relatively easy. So, I don't get freaked by that first stage, I've been through it too many times to care.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 4:31 PM
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And the confidence—funny me using that word, because in the usual unfogged sense of the word I detest it—is transferable and scalable. I started working on pcs w/o the slightest sense I'd have trouble. And Macs, washing machines...


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 4:39 PM
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Fear of failure is part of it, I think. Trying stuff out while knowing that something will go wrong is a mindset that takes some practice, also helps to instill a habit of checking things that should be obvious (could this be a left-handed screw?)


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 4:45 PM
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re: 262

Yeah, and I've certainly been on either side of inequity in relationships.

These particular circumstances seem borne of a certain intersection between social class and an only partially completed revision of traditional gender roles that haven't fully shaken themselves out.

re: doing stuff

I am quite confident with electrical things. I own and know how to use a soldering iron. But woodworking --- beyond basic glue and screw self-assembly stuff -- or metalworking are largely beyond me.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 5:45 PM
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Meanwhile, I consider people who were raised without cooking lessons to be privileged, because the expectation is that they'll always be able to pay someone else to cook for them.)

my word. Why would you judge people so categorically like that, people you haven't met or whose circumstances you probably don't know?

There are plenty of reasons not to have learned how to cook as a child. ! To give you just one example, my mother didn't. She was the oldest of 5 children. It was considered more time efficient to have her peeling potatoes, or chopping vegetables, or minding the latest baby, than to take the time to teach her how to cookor let her try making things herself (when there are 7 hungry people waiting for dinner). She learned how to cook from books, after getting married. And there was a lot of pancakes made from Bisquick mixes in the beginning - in part because that was all they could afford, which makes my parents poorer then than you are now, in addidion to being worse cooks.

I just really don't understand why you would use these rigid categories to judge people at large like that. It seems unethical as well as epistomologically unsound.


Posted by: mulligatawney | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 6:28 PM
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I just really don't understand why you would use these rigid categories to judge people at large like that. It seems unethical as well as epistomologically unsound.

You must be new here.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 6:35 PM
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270: That's not a very fair read of AWB, I don't think. She's talking about how she is initially inclined to think of things, given her background, and isn't endorsing that perspective, just contrasting it with the very different point of view of her friend.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 6:39 PM
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Meanwhile, I consider people who were raised without cooking lessons to be privileged, because the expectation is that they'll always be able to pay someone else to cook for them

My father, when I started riding lessons, demanded that I be put to work cleaning stalls and tack before I got anywhere near to getting on a horse. When I protested that I would have a stablehand to do that in future, he pointed out that I needed to know how to do it correctly, or I wouldn't know whether the hired help was competent.

He also felt that a daughter needed certain ladylike skills in life: How to ride, how to play tennis, how to waltz, how to rewire a lamp, how to cook on an open fire and how to throw a knife accurately. Oh, and, if one were forced to wear a ball gown to breakfast, how to serenely let it be known that everyone else was underdressed. [I got to do that once at the Algonquin. It probably helped that my companion was a rather urbane Brit writer who could quell most people with a raised eyebrow.]


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 6:48 PM
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Longer 273:

My childhood was typical: summers in Rangoon, luge lessons... In the spring we'd make meat helmets. When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds, pretty standard really. At the age of twelve, I received my first scribe. At the age of fourteen, a Zoroastrian named Vilma ritualally shaved my testicles. There really is nothing like a shorn scrotum, it's breathtaking, I suggest you try it.

Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 7:05 PM
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I am quite confident with electrical things. I own and know how to use a soldering iron.

There's nothing like the occasional shock to remind you how short life could be. I once was reaching over the back of a running dryer to feel if the new heating coil I'd put in was heating up properly. My hand brushed again the exposed connection. That 220 volt has a real kick to it. Felt it go up my arm into my chest.

But woodworking --- beyond basic glue and screw self-assembly stuff -- or metalworking are largely beyond me.

Metalworking can be fun. I like to tinker with things like my revolvers, so I took a machining class at the local community college. It was great.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 7:16 PM
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My woodworking and basic metalworking are both things I did learn in school. Woodworking in Canada, Grade 6, once a week all year. And in the US, 7th Grade. Metal working—sheet forming, cutting, drilling, hand riveting and peening, soldering—in 8th.

Think that stuff is not taught much anymore. My son will learn metal, if at all, in advanced art class.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:22 PM
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Think that stuff is not taught much anymore. My son will learn metal, if at all, in advanced art class.

This is true, I think, unfortunately. I wish I had learned metal- and woodworking. Though god knows I probably wouldn't have had that opinion in middle school.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:25 PM
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I had home ec. (grades 7 and 8). I hated the sewing, but the cooking was okay. Though I doubt I learned anything that I hadn't already picked up at home.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:31 PM
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Cooking lessons sound weird to me. I learned to cook in college because the dorm food was revolting. You can teach yourself to cook pretty well with cookbooks and by just paying attention.

The most useful class I took in high school was typing.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:35 PM
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There was a bit of drafting in there somewhere: t-squares, how to letter and indicate dimensions, and so on.

My sister loved home ec. By the fourth year she was making complicated patterns for dresses and jackets and butchering sides of meat.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 8:37 PM
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Shop and home ec were offered as electives in my middle and high schools. I never took any of them.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-14-07 10:47 PM
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re: 276

I learned both at school, too. However, I haven't done either since then, so I'd be surprised if I still had any skill at all in that area.

re: drafting, I did O Level technical drawing.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-15-07 12:15 AM
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Also 2 years of home economics. In Scottish high schools [at least in the 80s] everyone does 2 years of home economics and woodwork and at least 1 year of metal work.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-15-07 12:24 AM
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I did woodworking and bookbinding at my prep school, which was advanced that way. I taught myself to cook as a poor househusband, and have minimal car skills -- I can change tyres, jump start, top things up, but no more. I can build a fly rod and a computer from scratch -- well, from their components: I think that building a fly rod from bamboo will always be beyond me. I plumbed in our washing machine. Never again. But these are all skills I feel everyone should have, and some of them I have attempted to transmit to my children. My daughter learned to solder at secondary school.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 12-15-07 2:01 AM
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I can shovel horse shit, too, but I can't quell a waiter unless I use a taser on him.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 12-15-07 2:02 AM
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Lord Finchley tried to mend the electric light
Himself. It struck him dead, and serve him right.
It is the duty of the wealthy man
To give employment to the artisan.


Posted by: Hilaire Belloc | Link to this comment | 12-15-07 2:31 AM
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272 is correct. Of course I don't walk around judging people categorically. Jesus. Just pointing out how unsound a lot of northern assumptions about class and food are.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-15-07 6:02 AM
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This thread has given me a now-familiar impression, repeated here every few weeks: that my No. American past seems to resemble the British present in many ways it doesn't the American. Schoolyard fights to Industrial Arts, there's a pattern.

What I can't tell is whether that really is a transatlantic divide, or that our British friends are not so likely to have come from the dominant subcultural background of many of us. I would think of that as being families tending to higher levels of education than their neighbors, and making the education of their children, now grown up to be our community, the family's highest priority. Sometimes only the academically inclined one or two.

Yet this too is an old pattern over there as well. Orwell's Such, Such Were the Joys or G. H. Hardy's A Mathematician's Apology show the same pattern in England almost a century ago.

From C.P. Snow's introduction:

The othere unusual feature of his childhood was more mundane: but it meant the removal of all practical obstacles throughout his entire career. Hardy, with his limpid honesty, would have been the last man to be finicky on this matter. He knew what privilege meant, and he knew that he had possessed it. His family had no money, only a schoolmaster's income, but they were in touch with the best educational advice of late nineteenth-century England. That particular kind of information has always been more significant in this country than any amount of wealth.

Don't know what the difference is, but I feel it.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-15-07 7:08 AM
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274: Snarky, aren't we? 273 would have made more sense if the software hadn't eaten half of it: My mother's Norwegian immigrant parents, a cook and a baker, insisted that she concentrate on her schooling in the new country; she never learnt how to cook or sew or whatever, because they saw those pursuits as unnecessary for an educated person, who would, of course, be able to hire someone to do all that. My father, the guy from the Old New England privileged background, felt that one should be self-sufficient, that knowing how to do something oneself was a better idea than trusting in the skills of others. My point was that my experience was counter to that of the text I had quoted.

In all fairness, the riding incident occurred when I was 10, having spent my early childhood in a third-world country where the compound we lived in had staff that took care of every mundane chore. I didn't know any better. [Tho' I did learn how to pluck a chicken, much to my mother's horror.]


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 12-16-07 4:27 PM
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