I recently moved out of the city to a small resort town on Lake Michigan. Why did I do this? To answer this question would raise existential issues that I'm not comfortable addressing without a drink in hand. ( I'm writing this at 6 a.m.—a bit early even for my generously defined 'happy hour ( s ) .' ) So, let's stick with the short answer: I got tired of city living.
What's the first thing you do when you move to a resort town? You buy a large boat. Yesterday afternoon, I was standing in my driveway, staring at my large boat, and wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into. I had already chosen a name for the boat—The Que Sera Sera—but my mother quickly rechristened it The Certain Death.
I have no idea how to operate a boat—a fact I proved last summer when I took friends out on a sailboat and came very close to killing all of us before we even left the dock. The only reason we survived is because a few men on a nearby dock did what straight men do best—they raced to the rescue of a bunch of hysterical women.
Yes, yes, we were all lesbians and we should have had the wherewithal to rescue ourselves. But we all wept with relief when those guys waded out to us and—shaking their heads affectionately at our stupidity—reeled us into safety.
I've never been one to learn from past mistakes, so I traded in the small sailboat for a large motorboat. Yesterday, as I was trying to figure out how to hook it up to my car, my neighbor Chuck ambled over.
'Need some help?,' he asked.
'God, yes,' I said, gleefully taking a seat in a lawn chair and nodding with feigned interest as he explained how to operate it. After he performed some type of important adjustment to the engine, he stared hard at me and said, 'I don't think you girls should go out on the lake for the first time on your own. I'll go with you.'
This is one of the many reasons I love Chuck--he refers to me as a girl.
Chuck is one of the many straight men in my neighborhood who regularly come to my aid. John, the guy who lives across the street, showed up at my door last week with a chainsaw and offered to trim my trees. Mr. Edson, the crabby old guy across the street, saw me struggling with my unruly lawnmower and wordlessly took it to his workshop where he performed some sort of miracle on it that made it behave.
These are all straight men in the pure form—they mindlessly support George Bush and the war in Iraq and they know far too much about baseball statistics and far too little about America's criminal neglect of Africa. As a lesbian, I should keep my distance. And, yet, when I see these burly, red-meat-loving guys walking my way with a hammer in hand, I bat my eyes like a teenage girl with a big crush.
Straight men are responsible for most of the woes in this world. They cause stupid wars, drive enormous vehicles, and place more value on a woman's breasts than on her mind. They think its funny to make disgusting noises in public and they forget their wives' birthdays.
Yet for all their faults, they are always at the ready to fix a toilet or lift a heavy object... even for a lesbian who finds the notion of sleeping with them utterly disgusting. And that's why I love straight men.
You got somethin' to say to me? Go to my web site: www.jenniferparello.com