Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Feminism is all well and good until you hit a bunny nest

By Karrie McAllister

Whether you believe that we were created by God or evolved through nature, there is one thing we can all agree on: Women are completely lacking the gene that allows us to easily light a grill with a match.
No matter what color, race, creed or age we are, there’s not one woman that can turn on the gas and strike a match without trembling hands, a pounding heart and beads of sweat.
This past weekend, while at a friend’s house, we decided to enjoy the warm weather and treat our children to a cookout. And, like most early cookouts go, there were technical difficulties with the grill. The first grill we tried was out of propane, and because neither one of us was absolutely sure how to change the tank (surely there’d be an explosion), we headed for her mother’s nearby grill.
But the automatic starter wasn’t working.
And like we were performing a bypass with a Idiots’ Guide to Heart Surgery, three very intelligent women read the directions word for word and practically had to draw straws to see who would get stuck with striking the match.
A little cringing and finger crossing, and we actually had a splendid dinner. Not only had we fed our families well, but we also conquered the grill, something that for generations has been “man’s work.”
The next day, feeling quite powerful because we lit the stupid grill, I took on some yardwork without the help of my husband. He was away for the day, and I thought it’d be just dandy if he came home to a spiffed-up yard.
So in the warm air, I mowed and raked and even used a hatchet! Joan of Arc would be proud!
And so was I. Then, while beaming in my toughness, my shovel discovered none other than a nest of baby bunnies in my flowerbed. The mother had obviously abandoned them.
Small and furless, they weren’t moving.
And in their complete sadness and stillness, I ran screaming like a little girl and threw my shovel in to the woods.
(Faithful readers and friends know that this is yet another chapter in my never-ending run of bad luck with dead animals.)
So I ask you, what would you do? Without the aid of my husband, who would normally handle things like this, I did what any smart person would do, which would be to call on the help of my neighbor.
“Are you man enough for this?” I asked.
And with nearly a dozen neighbors outside, I tiptoed up to the nest and pointed out where it was, babbling on and on to help compensate for my girly insecurities.
Apparently I was talking too much and not paying attention, because my rambling speech was broken by my son.
“Mommy, you’re standing on the dead bunny.”
AND I WAS. My super-feminine big honkin’ work shoes had squished one bunny that had gotten out of the nest (but was already dead before I squashed it.)
Once again, I ran screaming like a little girl.
Thankfully, my neighbor came to my rescue and disposed of the little guys while I recovered and took deep breaths on the front porch.
In just a few minutes time, the simple satisfaction I had from lighting the grill the night before had completely worn off.
These days there is such a contradiction in feminine rolls. Women are expected to play traditional rolls as well as have that little bit of toughness, to ignore the fact that we’re missing that gene for lighting grills and just buck up and do it anyway.
And I will agree to that. I’m willing to light grills and mow lawns and even chop wood if I need to, just so long as there are no bunny nests involved.
For that, I’m glad to be the girly girl that lies within this tough woman.

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