Monday, March 02, 2009

Stupid Stereotypes

We've all run into stereotyping. I'm a tall blonde with large boobs, so we don't even want to discuss all the things I've run into as we'd explode the blog. But lately I've run into a form of stereotyping that I find most annoying - it's a "woman" thing. Now, one would think since women have done every job in this country except President or VP that men would have figured out that there's little we can't do if we set our mind to it, but that is simply not the case with some things.

Right now I am doing some home improvement. I'm hanging crown molding in my living room, dining, office, and kitchen/breakfast nook areas. As well, I'm installing some chair rail and some picture frame molding in key locations. Now, I want to say two things up front:

1. I've never hung any form of molding before now and never actually paid attention to it being installed - but I have the right tools and can read.
2. My dad is an engineer and most things in my family were done by family, so it was not uncommon for me to be assisting with framing a building or roofing a house growing up. So I know how to use tools, I simply never got into "finish work."

So I figure I'm as qualified (or more so) than most to do my own trim work, and I head down to Home Depot to select my molding. Now, understand that if you're a woman in HD and standing in lawn and garden, or wallpaper, or lighting, and need some help, you might as well pack a lunch. And don't even go in there to have a key made - you'd probably spend less time changing the entire lock.

But if you're a woman standing in the lumber section, you're practically molested before you can get out of the store.

So I was there last week choosing molding and no less than five workers came by to ask if they could help me. I declined all of their offers and they didn't look convinced but went away. I was pulling the long molding down from the racks, placing it on the floor and looking for any imperfections or twists in the wood. Now, seeing me do this, one might "think" I knew what I was doing, but oh no, the Fabulous Five were just gearing up for round two.

When I started to cut wood, I thought they might have a coronary.

Now, mind you, it's not like they put out the good equipment for the customers. Can you imagine the liability of turning just anyone loose with a table saw? So when I say I'm cutting wood, I mean with a hack hand. I had about three pieces out of the thirteen I needed done when the last of the Fab Five came by to ask if I needed help. I finally gave up, and since this guy was old, I didn't want to give him a heart attack by refusing again. Here's how that conversation went:

Him (picking up one molding from floor): Do you know how much you need of this one?
Me: (pulling out a diagram of my rooms on graph paper): Yes, 11 feet, but I want it cut from the far end because the near end is bowed.
Him: (nods and puts wood on table - reaches for cheap HD tape measure that they leave at the table and frowns when tape measure won't extend - I watch out of the corner of my eye) I need to run get a better tape measure. This one's had it.
Me: (I pull my truly excellent tape measure off the band of my yoga pants) I brought my own. Use this one.
Him: (takes tape measure and raises his eyebrows before beginning to measure and cut) So what are you working on?
Me: I'm doing all the trim work in my house.
Him: (still skeptical, despite the truly excellent tape measure) How you planning on cutting this - miter box? (and he's meaning the manual type miter box - not a power saw)
Me: (shaking my head) God no! I have a laser cut compound miter box saw, a TrueAngle protractor, finish nailer (nail gun for those that don't know tools), and a portable air compressor.
Him: (eyebrows go into hairline - which is receding) You do contract work?
Me: (trying not to grin) No. I'm a romance author.
Him: (has no idea what to say at this point so cuts wood instead)

So my next project is building built-in cabinets and bookshelves for my office. I'm taking a cabinet-making class this coming weekend. What do you think is going to happen when I go to HD selecting the lumber for my cabinet panels? I shudder to think. Heck there might even be a call to the police or a straight-jacket involved.

But at least now I know...the next time I need a key made, I'm going to stand around the lumber aisle.

So what about you - ever run into stereotyping that you got to set straight?

Deadly (the Toolwoman) DeLeon


Christie Craig said...

Love it Jana!!!

I'd paid to have been there when you told him you were a romance writer. LOL!


Terri Osburn said...

You are my hero, but I'm pretty sure I've told you that before.

I hate when guys assume I know nothing about cars. My dad was a mechanic for years and I used to help him out. Not that I could physically fix too much, but I know enough not to get swindled. Thank goodness.

For the record, I've met lots of men who know a lot less than I do about cars.

Keri Ford said...

Oh, jeepers yes, always stand in the lumber yard. I swear the men will all but run you over looking to assist.

2nd best spot? The Loading Zone. It never fails, I have my lumber or whatever else nicely tied down for me. Which suits me just fine cause then Hubs can't complain about the way *I* tied it down.

Anyway, sterotyping, ugh. I run into this a lot with Hubs. He'll point at a big tank in an refinery and say, "You see all those little bumps on that tank?"

Keri Ford said...

Crap, don't know what happened.

I'll say, "Yeah, the rivets. What about them."

You'd think after knowing me for 8 years he'd have figured out I'm not totally clueless.

Gemma Halliday said...

I love the Fab Five at Home Depot! I dress all in pink and wear heels every time I shop there just so I don't have to carry anything out to my car myself or lift anything heavy off a shelf. Hey, if they're gonna stereotype me anyway, I might as well reap the benefits, right? ;)


P.S. We want pics of the finished project!

LuAnn said...

Ya know, whether it's a man or a woman, the first time they tried something new, they had to learn how to do it. The difference is ... men refuse to look at the directions!

Anonymous said...

Jana, you are my hero. :)

Keri Ford said...

Gemma, we'd get along swell. Heck, when Hubs has a flat and has to use the spare, he'll send ME to the tire place because he knows they'll put the new on as I ask and also remount the spare under the truck! First time I took his truck him, his family of mostly men were just shocked. All I could say was, "That's not normal?"

I agree, if they think I'm stupid and only good to be looked at, then let them labor for their foolish thinking.

Suzan Harden said...

Oh, Jana, darling! Stereotyping can go both ways.

Mutual friends introduced DH and me. He sees a *ahem* sophisticated computer consultant about to start law school. Then I took him home to visit my family. My hillbilly-to-the-max family. The best part of the whole weekend was when DH went in search of ice cream in Mom and Dad's freezer. He pulls out a ziploc bag and says "What the f*** is this?" I said, "Rabbit." I should have told him, "Dinner."

Estella said...

If you think Home Depot is bad, you should go to an automotive parts place for a car part..

Jana DeLeon said...

LOL Christie - it was a beautiful thing. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks so much, terrio!!!! I've always wanted to be a hero, and I promise you will never see a photo of me smoking pot (ala Michael Phelps). :)

I'm the same with you on cars. I wouldn't climb in and work on an engine but I definitely know how they work, and I've had many an eye-opener chat with service advisors who tried to screw me.

Jana DeLeon said...

LOL Keri - what a great idea! I love shifting "the blame."

Jana DeLeon said...

Oh definitely, Gemma! Pink is a must in Home Depot. And I'll post pics as soon as I'm finished. Of course, who knows when that will actually be......

Jana DeLeon said...

LuAnn - so true!!!!!! That's why I'm convinced instructions are written for women. We're the only ones using them.

Jana DeLeon said...

Suzan - I sooooooo understand. I'm from a town in Lousiana that's not even on the map. I often tell people I speak two languages - English and redneck. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks Tori!!!!

Jana DeLeon said...

Estella - I have. Maybe I'll tell yall about my experience concerning cars next week. :)

Jenyfer Matthews said...

That is just too funny - you really should have had a spy camera with you to catch the expression on his face when you told him you wrote romance!

I get a lot of crap from people when they hear that I stay at home - mostly along the lines of "must be nice to shop / socialize / drink coffee all day." Yeah, because that's what I do. I wrote a long ranty blog post about it yesterday :)

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