This is a co-authored blog that we’ve wanted to do for a while now. Happy Thanksgiving!
J: This is a question that we’ve been asked more than once. Who has asked? Friends, family, and strangers we’ve met. Surprised? So were we! Here are the possible answers: A) She is, B) I am, C) neither of us is, D) both of us are, E) who really cares. My answer? A combination of C and E. Although, it can’t just be E, or else we wouldn’t be writing on the subject. Truth be told, we’ve gotten a lot of entertainment out of the subject in our home.
S: I suppose we all have preconceived ideas of couples. I know I’ve seen a same sex couple on more than a few occasions and have labeled one of them the more masculine or feminine one. I think it’s a normal idea, but once you really think about it, it isn’t really the case. We are all used to gender roles and can identify masculine or effeminate traits in men and women. But when it becomes personal, one has a way of broadening their worldviews and understanding it’s always more complex than it first appears.
J: Remember when I first moved in? One of the boys, #2 I think, asked if I was going to be the guy or if you would. And, when we first talked with the kids about getting married someday, they wondered how that could happen if there wasn’t a guy to propose. When you told them that you might be the one to propose, they asked if that would make you the guy. Later we were talking with friends about this subject and one told us that her favorite response to this question was: “There is no guy and that’s kind of the point.” I like that response but I’ve never been brave enough to actually use it.
S: So, who IS the guy? I guess even we feel a need to get this straightened out (no pun intended). I’d have to say you, sweetie. You’ve got the short hair, the military career, super strong arms. You work outside the home. Play more sports. You were a tomboy growing up, right? Let’s see…you’re kinda competitive and like wearing long shorts. 😉
J: Hey! I’ll counter that. I’m pretty sure it’s you. My evidence? When you were a little girl, you wanted to be a football player when you grew up. You wore boy clothes handed down from the neighbors. When we fight? You’re the logical one. You fix things around the house, mow the lawn, change the oil in the cars, wear flannel shirts, and expect me to pick up after you. I mean, I have taught you how to be neat and tidy.
S: Whoa whoa whoa! Who does all your laundry, unpacks your suitcase, and washes your dishes?!! Who has to get the ink stains out of your uniform when you forget to take the pen out of your pocket?
(Insert break for a small tiff)
J: Okay, okay. I changed my mind. You’ve just proven that you ARE the woman. Besides picking fights, you take care of the children, do the bulk of the cooking, take care of our home, grocery shop, pay the bills, get up in the middle of the night when the children need something, and nurture our family. Sometimes you even cry when it doesn’t make a lot of sense to cry. I guess you are wonderfully woman. But, what does that make me?
S: Maybe, you might be the woman. I’m pretty sure you pick the fights, dear. You do take forever to get ready every morning, and spend a lot of time on your hair. You like to get manicures, fru-fru drinks, and oh, ya! You own so many shoes. And clothes! I remember when you moved in. I had to clean out our only storage closet for your own personal walk-in closet. You keep pulling out never-before-seen outfits! I don’t know where you are keeping them!
J: You’re right. I think you’ve benefited greatly from these things, though. I mean, I’ve drastically expanded your wardrobe. You can’t wear my shirt while you rant about how many clothes I have. Right?? How about this? Can we agree that we are both women and that really, at the end of the day, that doesn’t matter? I love you, you love me. I love the serious parts, the ridiculous parts, the fun parts, the girly parts and everything in between.
S: Ditto, sweeets. I think the best part is how we don’t have to stick to gender roles all the time. I love taking care of you but also love when you cook breakfast on the weekends and bring me coffee. I love fixing things and changing the oil but love that you start my car for me in the winter. It’s nice not to have to have a specific wardrobe. I can wear a dress, jeans, flannels, or skirts any time. I think we are both surprised that I’m usually the “big” spoon, but not always! But it can and often does switch around depending on what the other person needs. There’s no “This is clearly a guy job”. We have to split these jobs equally.
J: I LOVE that too! I love that I can buy you flowers and be surprised when you send some to me at work. I love that I can be comforted by you and do the comforting. It’s freeing really. It doesn’t have to be one way.
Our challenge to our readers? Appreciate all the unique qualities of the important people in your lives. Who cares about stereotypical gender roles? Break out. Be who you are.