When I was in college I bought my first car. The first car I actually owned was a hand-me-down from my parents (a 1988 Nissan Stanza to be exact, not exactly a pimp ride), but its life ended my senior year and I needed a replacement. At the time I was in a bit of an extended fight with my dad and we weren’t speaking at all. So when it came time to buy my car, I had to rely on my limited knowledge of automobiles in order to get the best deal on a used car that would see me through graduation. Normally, this was a task that I would have heaped on my dad’s shoulders; after all, Dads are the people you turn to in times of vehicular crisis. Mine wasn’t there, so I went alone. What did I end up with? A 1993 Volkswagen Jetta. With 250,000 miles already on it. But it was teal! And the guy who sold it to me was 18 and tan!
Needless to say, it was one of the more traditionally “girly” decisions of my life and I paid for it. The car had major clutch problems within months and just BARELY made it through the year. When it came to buying a car, I needed a man’s help. As sexist and as backwards as that may sound, I need one now too.In a similar story, when I first started dating my ex, I was making a tiny salary, living in an even tinier apartment, and had a credit card bill bigger than both. Then I found out that I had a years-long outstanding balance on a Victoria’s Secret card I had opened in college. I probably bought one bra with it, but since the interest had grown to the point where I owed a couple hundred dollars, they were threatening to bring in a collection agency. These were doing my pre-panic attack medication days, so I was a blubbery, stressed-out mess. I got a call from my then new boyfriend, now ex-fiance, told him my sob story and he offered to help. He got on the phone, called the credit card company asked for a manager and within 10 minutes had it taken care of. The collection agents were never called and I never opened another stupid store credit card again (or shopped at Victoria’s Secret!).
Nowadays, I don’t panic over unpaid credit card bills and collection agents, but I probably shouldn’t be allowed to purchase a car without assistance. And I still feel like I need a man’s input on certain important decisions. For example, I am in the process of trying to find a new apartment. I think I’ve found a good one, but I’ve felt compelled to quiz all my guy friends about the price and whether it’s a deal, the safety of the neighborhood, and the logistics of moving my stuff. Like how in the hell do I move a plasma television without, uh, breaking it? And will you please help me?
When my wireless internet connection wasn’t working the other night and I could not for the life of me figure out why, despite spending three hours on nerdy Mac blogs looking for answers, I desperately just wanted my friend Jon to come over and make it work. Because I knew he could. Because he is a man and man hands have a much more powerful effect on temperamental modems and routers.
So is this sexist? Has my feminist card been revoked? Is it wrong that I want to keep a man in my closet so he can pop out whenever I need a light bulb changed (I’m too short), negotiate with expensive movers for me, and set up my new ridiculously-complicated-in-a-way-that-only-the-Swedes-could-manage Ikea bed?