Self-sufficiency has always been important to me. I know how to ask for help if I need it but for the most part, I like to be able to do things myself. It’s not about feminism per say, or about not needing men, or any such thing. It’s about being capable, because that’s important to me.
Not really intentionally, this has led to me being surprisingly strong, at least for my size. I’m not a body builder type, but I can move a hay bale, bag of dog food, bags of cement, couches, whatever. I need to be strong enough to do those things; having a bag boy follow me out to my car to lift the Big Heavy Things doesn’t appeal to me.
I was thinking about this today because I move an iron tub. Huge heavy thing, but it needed to be where somebody could put it in their truck. With the right leverage and a dolly, it was possible although tiring. The person is coming to pick it up, and I’m ready for that look. The “Oh shit, you think you’re going to help me, we’re all going to die” look. By now, I’m used to it. The rolled eyes, the patronizing tight-lipped smiles, and the blatant refusal to let me dirty my pretty little hands at pretend-work. Honestly, it really doesn’t bug me. They’re always proven wrong anyway, and I don’t really give a fuck what somebody else thinks I can or can’t do.
It reminded me of a very specific incident with my mom and sister, though. We all weigh about 135-145 pounds, we’re trim, and we kind of just look like average people. So when we showed up to buy a pressure washer, the guy selling it almost died. He was older, maybe late 50s, clearly not accustomed to heavy lifting, and three dainty women just showed up and claimed to be strong enough to lift the machine into a truck. The guy offered to call his son to come over and help, and his asshole neighbor made a big show about not wanting to stick around because we wouldn’t let him help, and he “didn’t want to see us get hurt.”
My little sister and I, as usual, just hefted the damn thing into the back of the truck and slid it forward. Sure, it was heavy. Sure, it was hard work. But at that point we would have done anything to make those guys eat their words. The neighbor showed back up and tried to tell us how to tie it down in the back, and we just laughed and did it our way.
We’ve done that kind of shit our whole lives. We grew up around trailers and heavy equipment, loading and securing stuff all the time. But to these guys, soft from years of desk jobs and suburb living, our vaginas made us weak idiots.
And damn it was funny to leave their jaws on the floor.