One-Liner Wednesday – Gender Bias

Why are you giving me all the girl jobs?

She planted the flowers after cutting and welding the basket.

Faith was paraphrasing Angelina Jolie’s character (“why do I get the girl gun?”) in one of our favorite movies, “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.” No offense intended to women, girls or planting flowers, but she wanted a bigger piece of the action. I should have known better.

To put this in context, our daughter and I were about 1/3 of the way through a fast-paced project to create a one-person-patio for my wife for Mother’s Day. We had been planning this project for weeks, but the scope had been creeping up the complexity scale. We had a three-hour window, on Mother’s Day, to get this done. Undaunted, as we often are when we get that “we could totally make that” feeling, we were making good progress, but the clock was ticking.

We had worked together to layout and dig away of the grass and topsoil. We were at the point where we could divide and conquer the remaining tasks. Those tasks included spreading paver sand, setting pavers, cutting a wire basket and welding it back together (so it could be resized to fit an antique copper pot) and planting flowers. I had bought too many flowers, so we needed to plant them in the basket and in the ground near our front step. I know how to plant flowers, after helping my father plant them every year in our yard and at the cemetery. There really shouldn’t have been any gender bias at work on this project.

Faith has been working with me on wood and metal working projects for many years. Within a few seconds of her comment, I backed away from my error and gave her the die-grinder and wheeled the welder into the center of the garage floor.

She did end up planting the flowers in the basket, after it had been resized and after she had cut and bent some brass rod into the ‘S-hooks’ necessary to hang it from the copper pot.

Ever since Faith was a small child, my wife and I have given her access to real tools, in the shop, in the kitchen and in the yard, and we have worked to teach her how to use them. My momentary lapse notwithstanding, I trust her to use every tool in my shop, and to use them safely. She and I have gone to woodworking shows, lumber yards, tool distributors and auto parts stores where she has suffered “oh, isn’t that sweet, you’re hanging out with your dad” looks and statements. We do our best to make it clear that she’s a customer, too.

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday series.

58 thoughts on “One-Liner Wednesday – Gender Bias

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  1. You are going to have to forgive my wordiness, but you hit a couple of hot buttons. :-) What a wonderful gift for your wife – it doesn’t get much better than that. She’ll love you both for the special effort every time she sits there to relax. My husband taught our only child, a daughter, how to use tools and she went along on those DIY shopping trips and helped frame an open barn for her horses as a teen. Now, as an adult married woman with two kids of her own, she can tear just about anything apart and put it back together. She has taken computers apart, disassembled and fixed a washing machine, and regularly works on the John Deere. But she does get frustrated at the big orange box store because she knows more than the guys trying to help the little lady. You’re teaching Faith to take care of herself and her needs, and that’s what a self assured, caring father does. :-)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Judy! We were worried about this post a little, because we really didn’t want to offend gardeners or make less of gardening – it’s very hard work and takes a lot on knowledge to do well (as you know). Faith was surprised when I told her that I do know how to plant flowers. My dad made just as sure of that as he made sure I knew how to use a hammer. We helped in his garden, his shop and under the hood of his cars. My wife also knows more about tools and construction and woodworking than she ever thought she would. She has helped with home improvement projects, and she’s helped me in the shop. I also help her, when I can, in the garden. She gets those looks when she buys me tools as gifts, and she probably knows more than some salespeople, especially the ones in the orange box.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Mary. It turned out pretty nice, but we ran out of time and never got the remaining flowers planted. It turns out, I knew how to plant them, but I didn’t know how to buy them. I wanted 6 plants. The guy said “there 8 in a flat, you might as well take a whole flat.” Unfortunately, “8” was 8 little packs of 6 flowers. They will find a home this week :)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I saw an opportunity to quote a good movie, and can never pass that up, as you know. But I was also concerned about being given flower duty because I know very little about gardening and didn’t want to ruin them; I thought I could do less damage welding (although in hindsight…) But I’m glad you knew how to deal with the flowers and you taught me something about that too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a thoughtful gift! :) I’m glad you were able to work together to make it.
    Tools and clumsy people with weak hands don’t get along well, so I’m not a fan of tools (even garden tools!) That being said, I grew up in a family with shop-owning tool wielders, and I worked many years in a hardware store. I know what tools to use. I know how to do things, I just usually cannot. Nice I married a mechanic, eh?
    I’m sorry Faith has to endure people thinking it’s so sweet she keeps Dad company. You’d think people would know better by now. “Girl jobs” indeed.
    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Brother. Jobs are jobs, and they all have to get done. And everyone has to pitch in, no matter which of the 57 different genders one subscribes to. (I realize you were bringing this up in a primarily light-hearted way, but this whole question still causes me to roll my eyes.) Anyway! Glad you both are working harmoniously on such a nice project for your lucky wife. Good luck, Dan and Faith!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. What a lovely gift! I wasn’t girlie growing up either (my two older brothers made sure of that). Some of the best memories I have of my father is doing projects with him in his workshop. I don’t do a lot with big power tools anymore, but I like knowing how to use them.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great idea for Mother’s Day…and ambitious. My dad liked to build, and as kids, my brothers and I all learned how to use power tools. I still like them – nothing like the right tool for the job! Faith will have those skills for her whole life, and the experience will teach her that she can do anything :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. We found the bench, and then moved on. If we had found the bench sooner, we might have tried to build a structure over it. We tend to get carried away because we like to do the project. We worked hard to keep this one under control.


  7. You’re a pretty cool dad … not to mention husband :) That’s a very thoughtful and personal gift for Mother’s Day!

    I love the photos of your daughter welding … it’s the juxtapositioning of welding flames and the pretty red finger nails :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. That’s a sharp eye you have there. The patio was well received, and we didn’t leave too much work for mom to do. Although there are 42 flowers that still need a home. I know how to plant them, but I’m not so adept at buying them :)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What a wonderful Mother’s Day project! To get it done in 3 hours is amazing!
    My hats off to Faith! I can rarely hammer a nail in straight. I was terrified of the power tools in the one quarter I was required to take wood shop. I’d take the job of planting flowers and not be offended at all. :)

    It looks like the one woman patio is going to be a lovely space to sit, unwind, read, or daydream. Bet it won’t be long before she like you to sit a spell with her Dan. Hope there’s room for two!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deborah. The space is designed for one. I think we would both fit on the bench, but it is a petite little thing.. It seems ideal for shorter legs. I sat on it yesterday after I finished sweeping the sand into the pavers, and I wasn’t sure where to put my knees :)


  9. What a wonderful project! It kinda-sorta reminds me of the fish pond Sara and I put in while Charlie was away. But we had a week — and needed it — and our reason was that, if we tried it when he was around, he would either take it over or overrule it. You two did a stellar job! I’ll bet The Editor was thrilled and touched. It’s like magic!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mitchell sometimes has to give me a different tool than he uses because of the size of my hands. That is okay, I can’t use some of his tools. Now mansplaining is a totally other thing and he does not do this to me but omi, my older brother is so on my shitlist when he odes it, and it is often. The worst time was when he was supervising the building of his condo (despite the poor builder/designer) and would call me daily to describe a framed wall or some such thing, and I’d say, “Hello, skip to the problem as I know what that wall looks like” (I was an architect before quitting and moving on, for many years, had my own business….) then goes on to explain I probably never did a double wall for fire or sound protection and yes, I did, and btw, you might want to consider dear brother and nope, I don’t want to hear it from a gurl… crapity crap crap.
    You got me started.


  11. Tears pricked my eyes as I read this, Dan. What a thoughtful, Loving thing to do for your wife! More men IMO should follow your example. I got a huge kick seeing Faith’s earring and red finger nail polish with the welder. LOL What a contrast. Now those kind of tools make me very nervous so I give your daughter a lot of credit for doing what she is. I bet your wife just about swooned when she say her present. And oh, about that rain. Could you send some our way? We are SO dry here … no rain in April, and one shower so far in May. Humidity is setting about at 38%. Thank goodness it has been cool or we would have been sunk. Anyways …. Really enjoyed this family endeavor to give to someone they Love. Bless you and your family, Dan! And yes that of course includes Maddie and your two cats. :) <3

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Amy. Faith has been a companion in the shop many, many times, and she handles the tools with the skill of a craftsman (person) and the passion of an artist. Her mom liked the personal-patio very much – petite and pretty (like she is). We are a funny little family, but we like the way things work for us. Thank you again for your kind comments Amy, they are always uplifting.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Janet – she balances her roles very well. I also like that she wears hearing protectors and safety glasses too. I think the patio is going to work well. It’s mostly about the bench, but since my wife takes care of the lawn, I didn’t want to give her an obstacle.


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