Fire Away!

By Dee Jay Gordon

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I have a confession to make: I can build my own fires. Yes, I can build my own fires in the fireplace, big roaring ones, without any help. I can even chop the wood that goes in that fireplace. So what?, you say. Well, this may be no big deal to you but my friend, Fred, is going to keel over from shock! For the past two years he has been fixing my lawnmower, raking and burning my leaves, repairing my drywall, changing the oil in my car, and, yes, building fires in my fireplace. I never let on that I could do these things myself because...I like it when he takes care of me.

Yes (gasp, faint), he takes care of me, and very well, I might add. What does he get out of this deal? Well, I cook for him on occasion, and I listen to him when he has girlfriend woes (no, he's not my significant other). But mostly what he gets is the satisfaction of being a man taking care of a woman.

Feminism has all but killed the traditional gender roles, and it wasn't so long ago that I, too, was an ardent I-am-woman-hear-me-roar, I'll-do-it-myself-er. I needed to prove to myself and everyone else that I didnıt need a man. But as I got older, I realized, Hey! Why am I knocking myself out doing all this stuff when thereıs a perfectly good man around to do it for me? And it helps that I look like someone who doesnıt know a flathead from a Phillips head!

I firmly believe in equal rights for all people, regardless of gender, race, creed or sexual preference. But I still want my date to hold the door for me. Extreme feminism is taking all the fun out of being a woman. No longer can men compliment us on our new hairstyle, pick up the check, or take our arm when we cross the street without being labeled a sexist. Women are too busy trying to prove that theyıre as good as, or better than, men.

Ladies, wake up! Who raised these guys to be CEOs and Presidents? Women did! Sure, Dad may have had a hand in it, but most of their values and beliefs were influenced by their mothers. Weıre trying to become strong role models for our daughters, all the while neglecting the fact that women have been strong role models since the beginning of time. Back in Biblical times you had Hagar, who raised her son, Ishmael, alone in the desert. Much later you had Marie Curie, one of historyıs most noted scientists.

We may still have to prove ourselves to some men in the workplace, but that is due to a deficiency on their part, not on ours. We don't need to validate ourselves anymore with this blind I can do it myself defeatist behavior in our personal lives. It reminds me of when my kids were little and I'd say, "Let me help you with your shoes," and they'd say, "No! I can do it myself!" In their fight for independence, they robbed me of the joy of tying their little shoes, washing their sweet faces, and pouring their Kool-Aid. They wouldn't let me do anything for them.

So, while I can light my own fires, rewire my own dryer plug, change my own tire, and caulk my own bathtub, I prefer to let Fred do it. Because if I were to insist that I don't need him, he may come to the conclusion that he doesn't need me, either.

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