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If I Were A Boy

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Samantha Lee
Samantha Lee

Spark. Plug. Why do two seemingly simple, non-threatening words, have such terrifyingly different meanings to both genders?

Speaking of behalf of the general female population, these words conjure limited comprehension, slight confusion, and a certain wearied acceptance of the fact that any guy’s face will immediately light up at the mere mention of the thing.

A diatribe on the varied types, expenses and uses of said plug, is usually imminent from every guy within a three metre radius, at the declaration of this word aloud. 

How do I know this? Tried it. 

I discovered this week, after trying to fix a broken vacuum cleaner (vacuum: 1, me: -25), that the males in my life are geniuses.

Now this may sound either condescending, rude, or somewhat of an overstatement, but I am dead serious. They know stuff, man.

These guys possess hitherto unsuspected talent in the areas of Car, Home and General Maintenance.

After the Broken Vacuum Cleaner Incident (needs a new plug, apparently, hence the group discussion on the Many Extremely Interesting Uses of Plugs for many Extremely Interesting Things, not least of which, a spark plug apparently actually belongs in a car engine and doesn’t actually plug anything, a fact which defies all logic), the discussion then degenerated into household tasks.

I mentioned my kitchen sink was blocked, and I was going to get a plumber in, as the handy gel stuff from the supermarket didn’t turn out to be so handy.

I kid you not, three out of four of the male jaws faced in my direction dropped.

Then I was treated to a resounding chorus, to the effect of “Are You Bloody Kidding Me?”

It was then explained to me, in detail, with drawings on unlined A4 paper, precisely how to unblock the sink, with many kind offers of Doing It Themselves, and follow up test questions the next day.

Unfortunately, and I confess this reluctantly, I still couldn’t do it. My sink looked different from the drawings, I was terrified that somehow I’d cause water to shoot out of the pipe into my face/ the floor/ the downstairs apartment, and after some in-depth consideration of the problem, I gave up.

Now, what I want to know is, where the hell did I miss the plumbing class? I mean, sure, there’s a distinct possibility I would have been the female equivalent of the dude at the back, chewing gum, drawing flowers on the desk, and chatting up everyone in the immediate vicinity, but I would have been there.

I was trying to figure it out, and I know for sure there was sewing, cooking, something to do with cutting wood, and graphics, where I was scarred for life when I was yelled at for daring to try to have an important conversation, when I should have been attempting to learn perspective. (In retrospect, possibly could have paid a bit more attention.)

But where was Sink Unblocking 101, Mysterious Noises of 21st Century Cars, Television Aerials;90’s Era? Were was Optimum Computer Running, This Is Your Engine, and come to think of it, 101 Ways to Put Down Come Ons?

I did a survey.

Friend #1: “Probably at the same time we were doing make-up, hair, and trying to shave around our ankles.”

Friend #2: Blank stare.

Friend #3: “Why exactly are you asking me this, again?”

Friend #4: “I never learned about plugs and stuff, but I totally know how to change a tyre. My boyfriend showed me.”

I therefore have come to the conclusion that maybe there are some things that females just do not need to know. Maybe it’s a male bonding, hazing, rite-of-passage type thing.

I don’t have a fervent desire to drive a tractor anytime soon, and so am not motivated to learn.

I should mention here, that although I am a self-professed Moron when it comes to most things technical and all things Spark Plug-like- I do happen to know the female version of MacGyver- she builds show-room quality coffee tables out of trees, she fixes broken locks, she mends dishwashers in a single bound.

Her story?

“Why not do it myself? Where does it say I can’t?”

She does have a point- maybe I’m just complacent in my ignorance- I Just Don’t Care.

Maybe the idea of doing spending two hours doing magazine quizzes on How To Tell If He’s The One is equally appealing to most guys as figuring out just what a spark plug actually does is to me.

Maybe, if I were a boy, the attraction would be apparent, and the answer obvious.

I mean, equality of the sexes-ra, Division of Labour-ra, ra.

We’re different. 

Tends to make it interesting, don’t you think?

I’m going to go read up on plumbing now, and figure out where that bendy whatsit turns off at the…thing.

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