Thursday, 2 August 2012
No woman would do that!
(This is post number 700. Metaphoric champagne for all when I get to post number 1,000! Just over a year ahead, I'd say...)
Sigh. It doesn't floor me like it used to, but I can't help feeling at least irritated by exclamations that 'you can't be a real woman' because you've been doing X, Y or Z and 'no woman would do that'.
Or rather, you have been allegedly seen doing those dreadful things. Because the only people who hurl them at you are people from your past who can't bear the sight of you, and never see these things happening themselves. They rely on hearsay, and second-hand accounts from like-minded friends. So all these accounts come through a filter, and are skewed. It's all repeated to correct or demolish your self-beliefs. In my case, that I am not, nor ever can be, a woman. And that to prove it, I have been seen doing certain things 'that no woman would do'.
But these reports prove nothing. It's like two pigeons tut-tutting over the behaviour of an eagle. Of course the eagle is different from a pigeon. It has different plumage, wider wings, a sharp eye, a hooked beak, and talons; its mindset is not the same; it hunts and eats red meat, and does things no pigeon would do. But it's still a bird, and a magnificent one at that, with a soaring lifestyle that makes the pigeon's seem small and humdrum. It's unfair and misguided to knock the eagle for being an eagle, and doing what a pigeon thinks is inappropriate.
I don't know who saw me doing The Thing that has sparked this post, but they are apparently a friend of the person who passed it on to me, as yet another example of how I am not coming up to the mark as a woman.
This is the accusation: that I was seen using a footpump to inflate the tyres on my car. Well! No woman would ever do that, would they?
I have three ways of checking my tyre pressures. One, a simple digital pressure gauge, kept in Fiona's boot. Two, an electronic pump, also kept in Fiona's boot, which I can plug into one of her 12V sockets, and let it do all the hard work of reinflating a tyre that has a slow puncture and loses pressure. It even stops automatically when the correct pressure is reached. I just stand by in my micro-mini and red high heels, and toss my hair. Or I've just enough time to sit inside Fiona and do my nails, touch up my lipstick, and read a magazine, maybe Steelworker or Fishing Weekly.
Neither of these gadgets requires strength or ungirly manoevres. Surely both are within the province of the Modern Girl.
Then I have an old-fashioned footpump, slow but sure, and easy to use, kept in the front locker of the caravan. You can't really wear heels or Italian beach sandals with this. You must don flats or ballet shoes. This is the aerobic method of pumping up good tyres that need only a quick monthly check-and-top-up. If there's a lot of pumping to do, it can get monotonous and a little too aerobic! And it's not an especially elegant thing to do, I'll grant that. But then, nor is pushing a pram, or lugging a shopping bag around. It doesn't require the strength and stamina of a Charles Atlas, and it's much less of a technical performance than setting up the electronic pump. So I tend to use the footpump more often than not.
The Big Question. Is it right and appropriate for the Modern Girl to use a footpump? Should she instead pester a Passing Man to do it for her? Or call out the AA? Or give up in despair and take the bus? Would Sigourney Weaver, needing to pump up her tyres in order to chase after an Alien, baulk at using a footpump? Has Anne, the Princess Royal, never used a footpump on her Land Rover? And if the Queen can parachute into the Olympic Stadium (at least fictionally), and get acclaim for it, why would she turn her womanly nose up at a mere footpump? Especially when up at Balmoral? Come on: any woman who isn't genuinely feeble would scorn asking a man to pump up her tyres. It's an act of female assertion. Look, it says, we aren't wimps! We don't need Popeye here. We can pump up our own tyres, thank you. It's OK and cool to show the men that girls can do it just as well.
By the way, I'd draw the line at changing a tyre. I haven't the required muscle. It's a phone call to Road Rescue for that.