The Man Box

“The Art of Manliness” by Brett and Kay McKay, just another great find at the library this week. Now, does that include clipping your finger nails in public? Yes, I witnessed a man at the library clipping away as I was reading this book. I enjoyed reading the proper etiquettes suggested for men in todays’ world. Anywhere from how to give someone a proper hand shake to changing a poopy diaper. Why do men think poopy diapers smell like toxic waste and should be treated as such? Their shirt always ends up pulled over their nose and there are usually gaging noises and dry heaving. Really?! It’s not that bad.

This brings me to “The Man Box”. Apparently, that is the mind set some men have, according to a local radio station commercial. The main point behind the commercial is good and has excellent intentions but the phrasing is pretty humorous. Now my husband keeps tell me to get out of my “Man Box” every chance he gets.

We have all heard the phrase quit winning like a little girl, but you rarely hear people telling their daughters to man up and rub some dirt on it. Now, I do only have two boys so I am not sure what having a daughter would do to our family dynamics. My constant response is “Any blood? Nope. Ok, you’re fine.” I read a funny saying the other day that girls are harder to get through puberty but boys are harder to keep alive…so true! We’ve already accepted the fact that we will never be able to leave our boys home alone, one of them would not survive. The nights I get go to out are lovely, because I need breaks from all the testosterone in my house. There is only so much burping, farting, wrestling and being shot with nerf guns a person can take.

If there is a “Man Box” does that mean there is a “Lady Box”? So, we cannot do things outside of being a woman? How my husband understands this is to work with men in “The Man Box” I need to remove myself from “The Lady Box” and become more manly but still demand respect for being a lady. What?! No wonder men and women do not understand eachother.

Someone just said the other day “Oh, she can’t help you lift that it’s way too heavy.” HA! Wanna bet?? I have muscles too and am not afraid to use them. Treat women and men as equals in their capabilities….at least until proven wrong. Let me attempt to lift the 10-foot, bar height counter unit before you tell me I can’t…for the record it was a piece of cake ;) As I am writing this it all does sound like a double standard. Treat me like an equal, but with the full respect that I am still a woman. Therefore, some things are outside of my physical capabilities that, yes…a man could do better :P taste bad just saying that.

It drives me crazy that there are areas on the production side, within our wood shop, I cannot do. I am still learning and do realize there is a learning curve to everything. All I want to do is jump ahead about five years with my skills; I hope they have improved by then. I really dislike relying on Sam to always be on the floor while I am building. I constantly have questions about how to do something, or second guessing myself not wanting to mess it up. For not being afraid to jump into anything in the kitchen, I am more hesitant about things at the shop. Which, would explain why I get angry when he gets all the credit for work I did! You never get credit for anything as the wife. I can even sign an email Natalie and people will still only write back to Sam. My parents run the local grocery store and their office wall is full of awards and recognitions from over the last twenty plus years of business. They are 50/50 partners, both having put in equal hours and guess which spouses’ name is on every single one? Just guess??

Any wife who runs a business with her husband understands what I am talking about. Since ours is a wood shop people assume he is doing everything, bless his heart he works very hard, but come on! I’m not sure what people think I do there all day, but trust me I am not sitting around twiddling my thumbs. Someone (a man!) said to me recently “What are you doing down here? Shouldn’t you be home kissing babies or something?” So that’s what mom’s do all day? MAN BOX! If any mom is lucky enough to stay at home, then have the time to sit around, of course eat chocolates all day (because that’s what men think we do) and kiss babies, please eat the whole box and kiss away! Of course, in my case it would be our youngest eating all my chocolate and our oldest giving me a kiss ONLY as a distraction to a wet willy…….Man Box.

Natalie Kohlhagen