when i was a kid, my father would admonish me to "BE A MAN!" this usually occurred in doctors offices in the presence of needles. and despite the promise that my display of manliness would be rewarded with a popsicle, more often than not, when my father told me to "BE A MAN!" i looked him in the eye and wailed, "but i'm a little giiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrrrl!"
when told of this, my mum would always smile in satisfaction. she was raising a southern lady. not a tomboy yankee brat. (us southerners, we like our gender norms.)
clearly, i will never be a man. and yet, there is one area of my life into which my father's counsel to BE A MAN may have trickled.
i hate to ask for help. of any kind.
this is nothing new. several years ago, when complaining to partner about how people failed to divine when i needed them, i remember her sighing and saying, "in their defense, it is tricky since you never ask."
during the latest la petite maison de oh'lighn drama, which the vieve and i like to refer to as Adventures In Plumbing As Relates To The Glorious Birthday Gift Of The Countertop Dishwasher Which Turned Out to Be Far More Of An Ordeal Than Anyone Ever Imagined, my refusal to solicit assistance has been most vividly on parade.
in the last three weeks, i have journeyed to home depot four times, returning home with myriad fittings and converters and male and female parts that all connect to each other gladly enough but have been of absolutely no use in connecting the kitchen faucet to the countertop dishwasher. which was kind of the whole point in the first place.
finally, somewhat humbled by repeated lectures from my parents (several of which climaxed in my haughtily declaring, "i never want to talk about this again") and annoyed by the numerous ceremonial "these are the last dishes i shall ever wash by hand" dish-washings i had done that were, ultimately, not the last dishes i ever washed by hand, i resolved that i would not be a man. i would ask for help.
i put on a lacy dress and leopard-print shoes and i marched to home depot. and with three quick twists of the wrench and the removal of the aerator, i had a working dishwasher.
when i called my parents early the next morning to revel in my triumph, my father asked what i'd done. upon hearing that i had requested help, he said, "there's a very great lesson to be learned here, beeb. you probably won't learn it because you're as hard-headed as me, but it's there nonetheless."
and because my parents treat their phone like a trolley and hop on and off throughout our conversations as they please, my mother was around for all of this. out of the silence, she emerged to say, sage-like with the tiniest hint of sass, "yeah, cupcake, the great lesson is you shouldn't BE A MAN."