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  1. #1
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    In the bedroom. Tom Cruise has nothing on real men.



    Caroline Overington: Primal comfort of having a real man to do the job
    OPINION
    Caroline Overington
    July 29, 2006
    I WAS as round as a planet when I was pregnant. "Look at you," a neighbour said when she saw me standing on the veranda, feet wide apart. "You're huge."
    "Yes," I said, "but I am carrying twins."

    "Are you?" said the neighbour, delighted. "You should go down to No.44. She's expecting twins, too."

    A few days later, I waddled down there. Another girl, as round as me, opened thedoor.

    "Twins?" she said. "Twins," I agreed.

    We bonded over a cup of tea, the saucers balanced on the mountains under our chins.

    I asked her: "How does your husband feel about it?" And that's when she confided: in the seven months since she'd become pregnant, they'd broken up.

    "But how will you cope?" I said. "Oh, it's OK," she said. "I'm with somebody else now. I'm with the builder."

    My neighbour had fallen in love with the guy who'd come to put on the extension, who had built the rooms for the babies she was carrying.

    I was speechless. It was the first time I'd ever heard of anybody: a) cutting and running when pregnant; b) especially with twins; and c) shacking up with the builder.

    Six years later, there's an epidemic under way. The New York Times last week published a story headlined, "The allure of the tool belt", and it was all about the wives - not necessarily pregnant but very definitely frustrated - who had run off with the guy who came to fix the leaky bathroom taps or replace the kitchen benchtops.

    The reporter concluded that women liked builders because: a) they can do stuff around the house; and b) their husbands generally can't.

    "Once a lightbulb broke and the glass part was still in its socket," one woman said. "I didn't know how to get it out and I asked my husband and he said, 'I don't do light bulbs. Go hire somebody."'

    Builders also listen to women, perhaps in a way their husbands do not.

    A carpenter who'd had his share of attention from wives told the Times: "Say you have a woman who's a baker. You're setting up special counter tops. You're going over what's involved in making them." The conversation can swiftly move to what kind of home and home life a woman wants, the nooks and crannies she'd like to create for the sewing machine and the children's homework: in other words, the things that are important to her. The carpenter added that in 75 per cent of projects where he dealt mostly with the wife, he could detect an element of "sexual desperation".

    But perhaps it's not quite that. Perhaps it's a simple yearning for an old-fashioned type of guy.

    A friend in Manhattan - she sent me the story about the wives running off with builders - is married to a locksmith.

    He has many fine qualities but she particularly likes his heavily laden, cream-coloured toolbelt (which he doesn't always take off at night). Beyond the aesthetics, she says it's a fine thing to have somebody around the house to change the locks and secure the windows.

    My husband is a bit like that: he's a guy with a toolshed and a hammer drill. He put up a tree house for the children, he also tore out the old fireplace. When the lights blow out, he knows where to find the fuse box. It is a primal comfort to me.

    But, if best-selling American writer Caitlin Flanagan is correct (and on the subject of domestic politics she often is), too many modern husbands are too frightened to let out the lion inside - and an epidemic of sexless marriages is the result.

    "Pity the poor married man hoping to get a bit of comfort from the wife at day's end," she writes in her new book, To Hell With All That. "He must somehow seduce a woman who is economically independent of him, bone-tired, philosophically disinclined to have sex unless she is jolly well in the mood, numbingly familiar with his every sexual manoeuvre and still doing a slow burn over his failure to wipe down the counter tops."

    Flanagan says men should be encouraged to be their blokey selves. They should assert themselves in the household, just as builders do on the job site: as confident, responsible and strong, able to lead when life's calamaties roll in, and keep their family sheltered and secure.

    In case they're no longer sure how to do that, there are groups out there to help them. This weekend, Christian City Church at Oxford Falls in Sydney's north is hosting a "Real Men" conference for thousands of blokes who want to be strong husbands and fathers.

    Anecdotally, I hear women are sending their menfolk along in the hope of giving them a push towards a more masculine style. Because really, it's a bit tragic that there are all these desperate housewives out there hitting on the builder.

    You may think, well, maybe it's just an American thing, bought about by television shows such as Desperate Housewives.

    But my brother, who is a father of two and a roof tiler in Queensland, says that, through the years, about four in 10 married women have answered the door for him wearing only their underwear.

    "And what do you do?" I asked.

    "I run a mile," he said. "All I want is to lay the tiles."

  2. #2
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    My wife read that NYT article, when she got
    to the part about 'there was some glass left
    in the light socket' her comment was "what's
    wrong with those a$$holes that they can't
    figure *that* one out?"

    Jim

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    My grandfather used to espouse that the Romans finally deteriorated so much they could not even carry the armor their forefathers wore in battle.

    Must be mighty convenient to not even deign to bother with a lightbulb. On second thought, that must be MISERABLE.

    Richard

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    All I want is to lay the tiles

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    That's funny. I have a first class ****ty personality. Yet, I can fix just about anything. I've remodelled my house from floor to ceiling, (literally) moved in fully grown trees for transplant using simple machines, service all of our vehicles, put down plenty of tile and wood flooring, built on rooms, moved tons of black top soil with only a wheel barrow, installed custom concrete countertops, and much more. Despite my shortcomings as a human being, I always seem to have a woman talking to me. I'm happily married, and generally annoyed by this. (As they always want something done) Usually, they're quite warm. I've never had one meet at the door in underwear, but I couldn't have bought this kind of attention when I was a young man, and really wanted it.

    I've come to the conclusion that:

    A) Women truly are attracted to jerks
    B) Women love a man who can "do stuff"

    This article is great.

  6. #6
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    A or B?, failsafe.....

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    Women are attracted to jerks who can "do stuff".

    It just goes to show you - our human maturity is logically backwards. (young, horny, and starved for attention vs. old, settled, and in demand)


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    The above are my own conclusions, of course...

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    My wife is lucky to have a 'fixer husband'. Too lucky, even. I won't let her 25 year old gold colored refrigerator die, and she wants a white one

    Life is quite expensive if one has to hire out every little thing for service. More often than not, the 'pros' care even less about fixing your crap properly, than you do. My wife gets really pissed at garage mechanics who do half a job, but charge the whole price. So do I, for that matter.

    To a certain extent, I feel like I let my kids down....didn't show them how to fix much stuff...but then, they didn't hang around much while it was going on, because fixing and building is slow and boring to watch, and the hows and whys draw on a mysterious history of experience which they do not understand in our present day, instant but throw away society.

  10. #10
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    failsafe

    "I've come to the conclusion that:

    A) Women truly are attracted to jerks"

    Truer words have not beens spoken in all humanity

    .....but only if these jerks have decent looks.Never seen unattractive jerks good at getting women.

  11. #11
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    Spud;
    how do you account for Lyle Lovette getting Julia Roberts?...jim

  12. #12
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    Think of this from a woman's point of view. Her primitive side evaluates a man by what he can do.

    Abstract computer geekery won't satisfy primitive urges.

    She wants to see some action!

    If a man can't do battle with a 2X4, a piece of plumbing pipe or a light bulb, he isn't gonna be anybody's knight in shining armor.

    On the other side -

    I read an article about women who are discovering power tools. In quiet, private discussions one may reveal in confidence to the other that they are secretly in possession of a power drill or a (gasp!) skillsaw.

    Maybe tucked away in the linen closet are one or two home improvement books. The Little Woman might not let on that she knows ground from neutral or how a lockset works.

  13. #13
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    Julia Roberts is no looker. I don't know what the hype behind classifying her as "pretty" is.

  14. #14
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    "If a man can't do battle with a 2X4, a piece of plumbing pipe or a light bulb, he isn't gonna be anybody's knight in shining armor."

    Ever see Henry Kissenger's wife?

    Some women are attracted to power and money.
    Others seek out the gear-heads.

    I think if Bill Gates' toilet plugs up, his
    wife doesn't have to worry if Bill knows how
    a closet auger works. "Just throw money at
    the problems" can be a knight in shining armor,
    too, as long as the cash is forthcoming.

    [img]smile.gif[/img]

    Jim

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    "how do you account for Lyle Lovette getting Julia Roberts?..."

    Lyle just happens to be a really nice guy...quite the perfectionist, with hair that would scare Lugosi, but a really nice guy.

    I learned a nasty lesson years ago when my girfriend was having some poor schmuck work on her Corvair....he was gettin' greasy, I was getting laid. I have never ever worked on a girl's car since.

    ---far as women being attracted to jerks, Tom Leykis has some pretty simple answers--
    http://www.blowmeuptom.com/

  16. #16
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    Look up the book 'Wild at Heart' by John Eldredge. It's pretty much a whole book similar to what the NYT article was about.


    I agree with Richard Rogers...I don't get all the hype over Julia Roberts. Not saying she's ugly or anything...just not my definition of 'Pretty Woman'

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    Ok, 'nuff about Julia, how' bout Jessy James and Sandra Bullock?

    As far as hiring someone to do around the house stuff, I find it cheaper in the short term, but in the long run it's inevitably far more expensive, as you have to go back and do it right.
    Not sure how most of these guys make a living, but if I worked like the average electrician, plumber or carpenter, I'd be on freakin' welfare.

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    Ahh, if ever there was a PM thread that cried out for the female perspective!! But, I'm not going to tell you.

  19. #19
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    Just when we need you Stephanie, you bug out...

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    I learned a nasty lesson years ago when my girfriend was having some poor schmuck work on her Corvair....he was gettin' greasy, I was getting laid. I have never ever worked on a girl's car since.
    I have a neighbor lady who askd me to change a turn signal for her or repair some minor thing, at least a couple of times. I got pissed off, and stopped helping her, when it became obvious that she was lounging around on the bumper while I worked, as if we were high school sweethearts. She was doing this in plain sight of my wife.

    The next time she askd for help, I gave her the number to the dealership.

    Explain that to us, Stephanie. I'm brutally honest (maybe a jerk, I dunno) and I'm not particularly attractive. [img]smile.gif[/img]


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