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Thursday, September 12, 2013

102

How to Mount a TV When You Have No Boyfriend, No Prospects, and Lack the Shamelessness Required to Ask for Help

First, go without a TV for at least two years—four if you can swing it. Find yourself at parties unable to laugh convincingly at the jokes people make about funny commercials because you are hopelessly out of touch with the latest marketing campaigns. Come to the realization that you could encounter any number of reality TV stars and never know it—that you probably have encountered dozens already, and are completely unaware of your many brushes with near-fandom. Develop neck pain from craning to marathon-watch episodes of Arrested Development and How I Met Your Mother on your iPad propped up on your coffee table whilst you lie on the couch.

Wake up one Saturday morning, a Saturday like any other, and make The Decision: Today is the day you are going to buy a television, Goddammit.

A part of you will know that you are clearly not thinking straight. That you should at least research a few different types of television sets and then make an informed decision.

I cannot stress enough how imperative it is that you do not listen to that part of you. If you do, you will never successfully mount a television to your wall, because you will never be the owner of a television. That’s just a fact. That part of you will get to its little researching project and fall into the Internet rabbit hole and not come up for air until you’ve decided not to purchase a television but to preorder a pair of those fancy Google glasses you’ve heard so much about. Or—worse still—that both purchases are impractical and should not be undertaken at this time. Do not listen if you want to succeed at this endeavor. And you do, of course. You want it more than anything else in the world because it’s Saturday morning and this is what you have decided to do with your day.

Take a shower but don’t wash your hair. (There’s no time. The urges for impulse purchases have a very short shelf life.)

Then, send a text message to your guy friend. You know the one—you tried to make something happen with him once and he turned you down but you’re still friends. Kind of. Friends enough to text about tools, anyway. Ask him if you can borrow his electric drill and his stud finder. If you’re feeling ballsy, ask if you can borrow a level, too. This is risky, because there is no way in hell that he’ll believe that you know what to do with a level. In all likelihood, you will opt to omit this step (and that’s OK).

He’ll respond to let you know that he only has an electric drill. Do not be discouraged that he doesn’t also have a stud finder. A quick Google search will tell you that anyone can find a stud by just knocking on the wall and listening for when the wall is no longer hollow. That sound means there’s a stud beneath it, obvi. Tell yourself that even a monkey could find a stud without a stud finder. Really believe this. Also believe in yourself as a member of human society who is able to hold your hand straight. People can do that. They can. Believe it.

Swing by his place to pick up the electric drill on your way to Target. Get excited. You are buying a fucking TV!

Put about $100 worth of merchandise that has nothing to do with your television purchase into your cart—include some toothpaste, face soap, three sundresses that you’re pretty sure you like the look of but you’ll have to double check when you get to your mirror at home—and some gum. Do not forget the gum.

When you get to the electronics section, tell the guy at Target you’ll take that one. The one that is semi-cheap but not the cheapest. That’s your best bet. Do no other market research other than this because, time. Buy the wall mount on the same premise. Not the cheapest, but the next cheapest. Like wine. That one will work. (Ed. note: The Wirecutter addresses just this type of problem.)

Tell the guy assisting you at Target you are impulse buying a television. Watch the concern wash over his face. Ignore it.

Don’t look at those numbers that appear on the register’s screen after he rings you up. Just swipe your card. Plastic through plastic to purchase more plastic. When it comes down to it, you’re just playing adult LEGOs, really. Stacking pieces of plastic. Never mind that you’ve just spent half a month’s rent. The money wasn’t ever real anyway. At the end of the day all money is is numbers online that you get to look at when you enter your password onto a website. Another game.

Take the television home and half-panic when you realize you’re going to have to lift the thing out of your car and carry it to your apartment door without any help. At Target, there had been a guy with a dolly. Here, it’s all you, sweetheart.

Flex. Tell yourself you’re Rosie the Riveter. Try to lift with your knees and not with your back, whatever that means.

Don’t drop it, and get it to your fucking door. Grunting like a gorilla in heat will help with this. You can also set it down halfway through, but no more than that or you’ll surely just flop down beside it and break down and call that guy you borrowed the drill from and beg him to carry your television for you the last five feet, and that will be pathetic.

Get inside. You’ve made it without dropping it. Congratulations. Take a nice deep breath before you realize that you do not have the wall mount. You purchased it, but it is not on your person, nor is it in your car.

Call Target. They’ll have it, and will tell you, with much  judgment, that you left it in a bag in the parking lot. Ignore the snotty customer service rep’s tone, and thank her.

Get back in your car and drive back to Target. Grab the bag full of $80 worth of merchandise that you left behind for anyone to take, and drive back home. Do not beat yourself up too much about having forgotten to take your entire purchase with you in your car. After all, you’re a baller, able to blow half a month’s rent on a toy. Clearly, $80 is nothing to you. You’re rollin’ in the dough, you professional woman, you.

When you get home with everything, take it all out of the packaging, and read the instructions on the wall mount. Read them again. Then a third time. Now you’re ready.

The first step is to drill two evenly spaced, level holes. Pick up the borrowed drill, then realize you need to charge the battery. Plug it in and charge it. Do some laundry. Maybe even hand wash some underwear. (This will take a while.)

When the laundry’s in the wash, work on finding where exactly you should make these holes. Find the studs by knocking on the wall. If you listen carefully, you can do this. If you don’t, you’re fucked. Listen carefully. Hollow…hollow..hollow…STUD! Holy fuck, that sound’s the stud, right? (It is.) Mark that shit. Do it again at the same height (maybe using measuring tape, or even if a string if you have it) and find the next one. Mark it. Feel like a boss.

Take the drill, now fully powered, and try your hand at the totally level holes you’ve marked.

At this point, you may find that the studs are wooden and that your friend’s drill works perfectly. If that’s the case, the holes are made and you’re able to go on your merry way.

Or...

You may find that the studs are steel and the drill in hand is a poor match for them.

If this is the case, do not despair. Home depot sells drills powerful enough for steel and you may as well invest in one because you’re clearly now a superhero who will be using a drill all of the goddamned time. Go ahead and drive to Home Depot and let the salesman talk you into the $80 drill on sale because it’s a great deal. It comes with two drills with bits and batteries and, as the salesman will tell you, the batteries are worth more than the cost of the drill on sale. For the love of God, don’t listen to the voice in your head that tells you that you’ll only use this drill one time.  You will never succeed if you listen to that voice. That voice is a fucking killjoy, so you kill it.

Back home, charge that drill. Dry and fold your laundry. Put it in drawers for once, because you have that kind of time. Then, refreshed, bring yourself to the task again. Find the marked holes and drill. Feel amazing. You are putting holes through motherfuckin’ steel.

Read the rest of the directions and take out the pieces supplied with the mount. Realize that they gave you bolts, not screws, that require a wrench, not a screwdriver, and that you do not have a wrench. Decide that the pliers you have will work. Try to manhandle those bolts in as best you can. Get them about halfway through. Get to the point of blisters so that you know you really cannot try to do this anymore.

Accept partial defeat. Rationalize things. Tell yourself you absolutely cannot go to Home Depot to buy a wrench. When in God’s name will you ever use a wrench again? Truly? The drill was different, but a wrench? Fuck the wrench. You aren’t buying one. What are you, made of money?

Break down and do it. Call that other guy. The one that you wanted to sleep with until you learned about his live-in girlfriend that you’d never heard about because he let you believe he didn’t have a girlfriend at first, and she was never around. The one who texted you earlier when he saw your post on Facebook saying that you were trying this endeavor on your own. Sure, you told him when he texted earlier that you had it covered and didn’t need his help, but you were wrong, clearly.

Just shoot him a text to see if he has a wrench. It’s just a wrench, for Christ’s sake. It’s not like it’s sex and a wrench.

He’ll have one and will come right over. And, because he can’t help himself, he’ll check to be sure you’ve found the studs. He’ll use an actual stud finder. He’ll be surprised that you have found them with the power of ears. He’ll then check to be sure the holes are level. And he’ll be shocked that you made them level with the power of mind bullets. Then he’ll take an electric wrench out of his fancy-pants tool kit with a million different size wrench options and will be able to find the one that fits the bolts for the mount exactly, and will put the screws into the wall in a half a second. Accept the fact that that would have taken you hours and given you blistered hands with the pliers, and offer him a drink because it’s polite.

Be both pleased and offended when he turns you down. Wonder a little bit about life and people and why things are the way they are.  Then make awkward small talk for 10 minutes about the weather and your jobs. Whatever passes the time. Eventually he'll leave and you’ll feel good for not being that girl, and also like you’ve left something unfinished. But then you’ll realize that he’s an ass, and that you got the one thing out of all of it that you needed: bolts screwed into a wall.

And BAM, like that, you have a mounted television. Easy-peasy. Now press play and enjoy. You have a lot of pop culture catching up to do. Chew the gum, too. Be glad you bought that. It will mask the cigarette smoke. Because it took at least a pack and a half to get through this Saturday.

 

Leigh Camp is a copywriter in Dallas, where she has a mounted television and has no idea what brand. She blogs sporadically about things, and sometimes tweets @LeighKCamp.

102 Comments / Post A Comment

empathicalist

Apparently, I have an anti-twin.

yeah-elle

@empathicalist It ain't just you!

stonefruit

@yeah-elle What a coincidence, so do I.

H.E. Ladypants

@empathicalist How strange that we all have the same anti-twin. We must be an odd family.

empathicalist

@H.E. Ladypants - We're the best family, obvs.

empathicalist

@empathicalist - Is anyone else having a lack of email notifications issue? I have to remember to track down all of my comments, to see if there are any responses. Really killing the conversation.

stonefruit

D:

stonefruit

@stonefruit to be honest it's more like

D:

D:<

t(*_*t)

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻)

H.E. Ladypants

@stonefruit I'm not sure what was more off-putting, the idea that she needed to call a specifically male person to help carry heavy things/own tools or the fact that she doesn't seem to have any genuinely platonic men-friends.

stonefruit

@H.E. Ladypants Both and, friend. BOTH AND.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@stonefruit So, are you going to call a guy to come help you fix that table you flipped, or what....

Jinxie

@H.E. Ladypants I dunno, man - I don't have any man-friends currently, of the platonic or sexy-times variety. Not, like, on purpose or anything. It's just that I don't socialize with coworkers, generally, and the vast majority of my social life stems from my main hobby which is very female-focused. Now that I'm many years (and many miles) away from college it's harder for me to make a variety of friends. (But I don't associate with any former sexy-times male friends, either, so I'd be doing the tv mounting on my own or with lady friends.)

H.E. Ladypants

@Jinxie Not having dude friends is fine! It happens! It's the "I need help but since this involves tools it's obviously man help I need, let me call these guys I have awkward sexual history with because they are the only males I have on hand" that was uncomfortable. Aside from the uncomfortable man = tools equation, the whole undertone of dudes-peers only existing in relation to boyfriend status that was weird. (See the title of the piece.)

martinipie

1. I wish to live in a place where any purchases at Target, even biggish ones, cover "half a month's rent" because SF rent prices are making me cry and 2. I noticed lots of copy errors! 'Pin, do you need a copy editor? Because I can Be That Person.

fabel

yes to the copy errors, eeek :(

[sic]

Oh for fuck's sake.

adorable-eggplant

@[sic] You know I heard that in Dylan Moran's voice.

fabel

ahaha! I liked this. Oh, & that paragraph about money was dark. But funny, like the rest of it.

sunflowers

Here but for the grace of God go I.

apples and oranges

Or you can just put the TV on a table/bench/elevated structure of any kind, instead of mounting it to the wall.

bevrockin

@kangerine Yeah, and most of the TVs I see at Target, unless they're ginormous, have a HANDLE on the box and you can just tote it right on upstairs. This is a weird story.

Onymous

@apples and oranges Seriously $10 nightstand from goodwill. Plus you've got something to put your boxen on/under too.

Hot Doom

What's wrong with me that I have bypassed all the other problematic aspects of this and can't let go of the wrench thing? How does one live without a wrench??

apples and oranges

@Hot Doom My friend carries a wrench in her purse!

Hot Doom

@apples and oranges I carry a wrench around my neck like a St Bernard carries a mini-barrel of brandy*

*not really, but maybe I'll start. Your friend sounds like a smart gal.

nina!

@Hot Doom Tools as jewelry! Sounds edgy. I think you're onto something!

City_Dater

@Hot Doom

Whatever is wrong with you is wrong with me too, because I'm sitting here shaking my head, muttering "how the hell does someone manage without any freaking TOOLS? Girl had to go BUY a drill?!"

keristars

@Hot Doom
No what got me is how do you have your own apartment/house without a basic tool set.

Everyone in my family got one when we graduated high school, if we didn't already have a set for some other purpose (my sister bought a basic set when she was in girl scouts and was building a puppet theatre for a service project, for example). It's just basic sense? like having jump cables and a towel and flashlight in your car (at the very least). Or like carrying an extra tampon/pad in your purse with the lipstick tube when you're going to a fancy party within days of expecting your period to start.

I guess this is my new goal in life, to make sure everyone I know has a basic toolkit with a drill, and hammer, and pliers, and wrenches, and nails and so on. Because fuck, even if it's only good for hanging pictures, at least you can hang pictures without having to call on help. (I also have a Dremmel that is one of the joys in my life, though I don't have a lot of reasons to use it, which makes me sad. I need to get more carpentery with my art.)

LaLoba

@Hot Doom I asked my brother to borrow a wrench, and then for my birthday he gave me my very own, plus a set of socket wrenches. Great gift!!

A couple weeks later, I was several miles from home and needed to ask a handy woman who happened to be sitting outside to borrow a socket wrench so I could remove the steering wheel of my truck (long story). She happily complied and then said, "You do have your own at home though, right??" I think if I had said no she would have given me the set right there, but luckily I could now say, "Of COURSE!!" Little by little fills the jug (tool chest)!

apples and oranges

@Hot Doom If you carry the wrench in your bag and the brandy barrel around your neck, you can use one to open the other!

LaLoba

@apples and oranges I always carry a flashlight and AT LEAST one multi-tool <3

cuminafterall

@Hot Doom I don't have a wrench! Haven't yet met a bolt I couldn't handle with needle-nose pliers. (I'm patient & have strong wrists.) I do have an electric drill, and a stud finder that's a POS-- eventually I'll get one of those combination stud finder/laser levels.

My husband generally stays out of my way when I'm on the Bob Vila tip, but the extra pair of hands/7 inches of height often comes in handy... I would've called a guy in this situation too, probably. Especially if I needed a tool I didn't have.

Hot Doom

@cuminafterall ok, needle nose pliers are also the greatest. I don't know, I might even have to rethink my jewelry choices now that you've added them to the mix.

That said, yes, I totally agree that an extra set of hands and a bit more muscle than I possess is really helpful sometimes, and I get my husband to lift things for me fairly often, and would have done in this case. But I don't know...were he not around, I don't think my first thought would have been, "I know! Call a guy! aagggghh not one I've hooked up with though, damn. OK fine, he'll do." Maybe I would have. It's the implicitness of needing a guy to complete the job (just the title is a bit cringe-y), plus the also seemingly implicit tone of this being just the sort of harebrained project we flighty women get ourselves into that is bugging me.

I love your pliers though.

ETA: I'm Right On Top of That Rose nailed just what I was trying to say down thread, in a much more succinct way.

Blushingflwr

@Hot Doom I have never owned a drill. This has never actually presented a problem for me.
Yes, when I lived in an apartment by myself I had a basic toolkit (purchased at Target) with a hammer, screwdrivers, measuring tape, possibly a wrench. But in the 9 years since I graduated college I have very rarely needed any of those things. My first aid kit, yes, my tool kit, no. (I rent, so I can't drill holes in the walls and most repairs are handled by the landlord/property management)
I'm not saying that people SHOULDN'T own tools, I'm just saying that it is entirely possible to not ever need them.

Urwelt

@Hot Doom I own many wrenches. A whole wrench set. I don't believe I have ever used them. Drill, yes. Screwdrivers, yes. Wrenches, no.

adorable-eggplant

@Urwelt I used to carry a wrench in my purse because I had a 'vintage' (aka old as shit) bicycle that didn't have quick release tires, so if I wanted to change my tires, I needed a wrench. I used the hell out of that wrench, unfortunately... Haven't had much use for it since.

Clare

@Hot Doom I LITERALLY did this when I did crew. I had an adjustable wrench on a piece of ribbon I wore around my neck so people could tighten their tracks and rigs before a race.

muddgirl

That second drill was probably actually a driver, and might have come with some sockets (or maybe not, for $80). Driver and sockets combined form... ELECTRIC WRENCH OF POWERAWESOMO! Anyway, buy a socket set for your electric driver!

nina!

Was this situation really so anxiety-inducing that it required a pack and a half of cigarettes? I... don't know.

But I do relate to being the person who awkwardly laughs because she doesn't know all the funny commercials or that episode of Breaking Bad, or whatever.

triplea

You do you girl, I made my dad mount my TV to the wall because I had waking nightmares of witnessing the TV ripping itself from the wall and shattering immediately.

likethestore

Until recently I thought studs were the things that go in the walls (they are actually called anchors) so I'm feeling this piece. But I just get my dad to do everything tool-related because I have no men hahaha.

fabel

Yeah, I guess everybody else who read this is very handy & knows what to do with tools & stuff, which is great, but I absolutely related to this piece because whenever something mechanical comes up, I'm either calling my dad or my boyfriend. I guess that reads as very helpless/poor me, but that's mah lyfe

fabel

I mean, I get that everybody is reacting more cynically to everything on here because, yeahh, some of the pieces lately have been...lacking, but I thought this was genuinely amusing. Like, can't a girl tell her story? I realize some aspects were "problematic" (which I assume is why people are reacting like, "uhhh") but there used to be more active exploration/discussion in the comments, not just vague spurts of negativity without actual criticism

Quinn A@twitter

@fabel I own tools, and I know what they all do, but I am incredibly inept with them and now my walls are full of holes.

My fiancee is a lady, and she knows how to do a lot of home repair stuff, but she watched me put all those holes in my walls and she didn't stop me.

We have a whole bunch of things to hang on the walls, and they've been sitting/lying on the floor for about a year. We're waiting for a competent person to come over. Maybe my best friend (also a lady), who knows how to do this, but happens to live halfway across the country.

Also, we did not know that all of your track lighting needs to be screwed in very tightly or none of it will work. One light came a little loose, and we couldn't use our kitchen light for about a month. Then I paid an electrician $169.50 to briefly put one hand on our light fixture and we felt very, very stupid.

keristars

@fabel
Nah, I think it's the "lol, women!" tone? I can definitely see where she's coming from - I was writing a comment when you posted yours, about how this is totally my stepdad's process would go, or my stepsister's, but having tools around is just a basic thing to me, that it's surprising when i find out that people don't.

apples and oranges

@fabel I feel you, and there was a lot in this I thought was funny. The general narrative of starting on this big project impulsively and slightly disorganized-ly, not knowing exactly what it entails, and just making more and more goofs along the way? I relate to that, I have done it a lot! But there was something about it that rubbed me the wrong way. In large part because of the "need to use tools, call a man!" aspect, partly for reasons I can't quite put my finger on. Definitely not because she isn't handy and doesn't own a drill.

Quick edit - @Keristars nailed it, the "lol women" tone.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@fabel Yeah, even a different headline could have given this piece a little more "haha, funny story, lady" feel, but the headline "How to Mount a TV When You Have No Boyfriend, No Prospects, and Lack the Shamelessness Required to Ask for Help" is asking us to laugh and nudge-nudge about the silliness of this woman who thinks she can do man things - buy a TV! use tools! - on her own.

Jinxie

@fabel Seriously. Kudos to all y'all handy people around here - I am, in all honesty, a little in awe of your apparently mad skills. I own a super basic set of tools my dad got me when I got my first apartment years ago, and they're fine for putting together Ikea furniture but I'm not sure I own what it takes (or would know how to use what it takes) to mount an expensive and fragile item on the wall safely. Yes, this post was not without flaws - especially since this was the site that once brought us "Ask a handy femme", but I think you're on to something in re. much of the criticism being general Hairpin backlash.

wee_ramekin

@Jinxie @fabel Thirded.

Also, I'm kinda rolling my eyes at the humble-bragging and faux-surprise of the folks who just can't believe that someone wouldn't have a tool set or know how to use tools. Some people don't, and that's fine.

I didn't learn to change a tire until four years ago. Thankfully, a handy lesbian instructed me; God forbid a man had taught me, as that would apparently make me a candidate for much ridicule.

stonefruit

@fabel That's a fair point!

Here's my substantive criticism:

- There is nothing "shameless" about asking a platonic friend to help you with home repair; when I do this, I usually buy the friend lunch afterwards. This is in my understanding the nature of friendship.

- I do not understand not having a decent set of tools. Doesn't have to be top of the line! But when I left for college, my dad said he wanted me to feel like I could at least try and take care of tasks that require tools on my own, so we went out and bought screwdrivers and a hammer. (And a very basic wrench.) When I graduated college we added a handsaw and a drill-driver. I've picked up various pliers over time. I'm a single woman living by myself, to me it's just foreign that someone wouldn't have basic tools. (Not humble-bragging or faking surprise, either, but thanks.)

- The tone of this piece is very, as keristars has pointed out, "LOL women, so incompetent." Also, "women! always with the shopping, AMIRITE" and a little bit "women! always with the failure to plan when they're undertaking a project, AMIRITE." Which, basically, eff that sideways.

- And I agree with I'm Right on Top of that, Rose - the title of this smacks of "hey look at the silly little woman who thinks she can be a grown-up and take care of things! doesn't she know those things require A Man to do them?"

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

@likethestore I can tell you that you can totally impulse buy a stud finder too, because you're at the hardware store and of course you'll need to find a stud eventually. Let the stud finder sit unopened for a couple months until you actually need to find one. It should be easy - it's just got a few lights and an on/off button.

Fail to find a stud, any stud. Spend 15 minutes moving across the same couple feet of wall (they're spaced every 16" so one has to be there). Finally read the small print on the package that says it's for drywall only. You have lath-and-plaster. Wonder how fucking hard could it possibly be to find studs in both kinds of wall. Put it back in your toolbox because the receipt's long gone and it will probably still be useful "someday".

iceberg

@stonefruit Hmm I read the shopping stuff as just "what happens when a human goes to Target" (the items might differ but the effect is the same), and the failure to plan as not an all-women thing but a her-personally thing?

fabel

@stonefruit thank you for replying with your take! I see what everybody's saying, but was taken aback by the initial all-negative, all-in-apparent-agreement comments that didn't really elaborate.

I'm more with iceberg though, that this is a clip of her experience. She's telling it through her own lens, so I don't think it was "lol womenz" but more "lol @myself"? If it were written by a man...? or even another woman, from an observer's perspective? like observing his/her lady friend incompetently try to set up a TV, then I think there'd be more problematic -ness to dissect, but this is just from her own point-of-view, laughing at herself/taking a critical but humorous eye to her own actions. I think.

you're a kitty!

@wee_ramekin It's absolutely not the ignorance that's a problem — lots of people never learn how to use tools! And I appreciate that she read the instructions and tried to actually do it on her own. But It's the WHERE IS MAN ONLY MAN CAN DO THIS basis of the whole joke that I find distressing. Surely she has some remotely competent lady friends, and even heavy lifting works just fine with two tiny people.

TheBelleWitch

@fabel It once took me approximately 2 months from purchase to hang some curtains, so I felt this piece, too. And, I mean, I'm the handy one in my relationship! (With a man.) Sometimes you just get in over your head or need tools you don't have and it all becomes a comedic tragedy. I mean, I've owned an electric drill for years but it turned out I needed a hammer drill to get through my walls. I get the criticism, but I see it was more of a lol@myself piece too, rather than some statement on womanhood/masculinity.

Also, I miss A Handy Femme.

loren smith

@wee_ramekin yes thank you for saying this. I am ashamed to say that I have called male friends of my father's when I couldn't hang shelves on my own. I suppose a have a girl friend who could have done it but she's a huge flake. I called the best person for the job you know? That goes beyond gender. I also don't have a tool kit.

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

@TheBelleWitch Wait, so did they build the house around you? Or is this some kind of Cask of Amontillado kind of thing? It's probably none of my business but if it's the latter I think your gentleman friend might have lied about his handiness. Also, i would maybe... well, you already are planning an exit strategy, so I guess keep doing what you're doing.

you're a kitty!

@loren smith the thing is, it would be SO easy to rewrite this exact piece without the "if only I had a boyfriend to do this for me" tone — it's a find-and-delete of gender stereotypes away from being a lighthearted comedy. You could 100% write in "called the best person for the job," even if that person happens to be a dude; you're totally right. The thing that makes me uncomfortable with this piece is the implicit (actually, kind of explicit) statement that men are by default more competent with tools.

RNL
RNL

@you're a kitty! I think part of the problem with the piece is that it's written in the second person, so those who find it not relatable have a difficult time enjoying it as a "this is my story" piece. I think I would have found it funnier and less offensive without the universalizing effect of the second person.

keristars

despite my dismay over the tools thing, and calling on men to help (no lady friends who are good with this?), i can kind of understand.

my stepdad is the least handy person i know, and my stepsiblings didn't really have the chance to learn to do things that me & my other siblings learned from watching our dad do them growing up. so when things need to get done, sdad calls in someone to do it, or makes my mom do it with him (and then it takes forever and sometimes isn't even finished). and i can see my stepsister writing a lot of this, except for the part about men friends. she'd call one of our brothers first, probably (because they're the strongest for lifting a heavy tv), if not me or our other sister, since we live closer and are good with figuring this kind of shit out.

it's not necessary to know all this stuff, and i probably wouldn't know what i do if my dad didn't think it was important to set the example, and i'm not even particularly interested in being a handyperson? (except it's suuuuper satisfying to do repairs by myself, or even when we changed a broken taillight on my car and my dad did most of the work, it was really satisfying to me to learn the process and help out, and now i can do it myself next time)

but a lot of the essay does kind of read like "lol, women" which is unfortunate. especially since you could change the genders of everyone mentioned (mix it up a bit!) and then we could focus on the impulse purchase thing to watch tv, and not owning a wrench or even a basic drill, and so on.

melmuu

When did Hairpin commenters get so judgey? (sp?) I thought this story was great! When I'm faced with the prospect of moving or installing something very heavy, I usually think of the men in my life who have more body mass, therefore are usually more equipped (or maybe I should say more willing!) to lift/install heavier things, and if I had any lady friends with their body mass, I'd think of them, too. I don't think this author's impulses were in the wrong at all, and she installed the freaking thing all by herself! Sheesh.

iceberg

@melmuu yep totally agreed

wee_ramekin

@melmuu Yep. Cripes people, it is a funny story about a lady who doesn't know how to use tools and who mounts a TV anyway.

iceberg

@wee_ramekin weeeeeeeeeeee <3 u

wee_ramekin

@iceberg

ಠ_ಠ is how I feel right now. Thankfully, Bergie-love is just the thing I need to turn that frown upside-down.

wee_ramekin

@wee_ramekin Though to be fair, Disappointed Face is not frowning, but rather of extremely flat aspect. So...just the thing to turn up the corners of my tightly-compressed lips?

Mira

@melmuu I didn't hate this piece as much as a lot of other people did, but I think fabel is right to point out that the 'Pintariat these days is less willing to extend the benefit of the doubt to this kind of thing. I mean, this site used to have an entire feature called Ask A Handy Femme, and now the tone is much more like this, like Welp, I Am A Lady, I Should Text Dudes With Whom Things Are Awkward For Help With Manly Stuff. That is...a big change.

I thought the piece was funny, but I also get why lots of people didn't.

wee_ramekin

@Mira This. This is exactly how I feel.

This is one of the first articles I've read on the Pin after a very long hiatus. I'm shocked at how little...camraderie, I guess?...there is in the comments. But, as I just stated, since I haven't been around the 'Pin much lately, I can see why Pinners would be put out if this article is one more in a long line of "LOL, Teh Laydeez R Dum".

Mira

@wee_ramekin Yeah, I think the tone has shifted considerably, recently. To me the 'Pin used to feel very...celebratory, maybe, of women? That was really reflected in the comments, generally. It doesn't feel that way to me anymore, and I don't really know why - not sure I could even point out specifics, honestly. Just that the content seems more in line with the rest of the Lady Internet/life.

This piece is of a kind with many others, or so it seems to me.

frenz.lo

@melmuu Yeah, I thought it was funny! It also reflected some of my own experiences trying to mount a tv to the wall. Sometimes it gets real prim around here, y'all.

RNL
RNL

@Mira To me, the Hairpin use to feel like a place where one could be a smart, interesting woman-type person. Not everything was heavy or heavy-handed, but all of it was, not just respectful of women, but deeply women-centered in a way that is hard to describe. It was like the Hairpin read my thoughts, and provided insight into other, different, but somehow fundamentally like-minded people. It was funny, and glib, and serious, but very very rarely felt disrespectful or belittling in its content.

Somehow this felt belittling, kind of depressing, and not celebratory. The self-mocking felt bleak, in some way. It felt very heteronormative, it felt like if you were a woman who could maybe use tools, there was nothing to relate to. I don't know, but it made me feel really alienated (and look, I'm a woman who let four men in my life move a log while I took pictures and ate chips this weekend, I'm no paragon of non-gender-normativity).

It's no secret that this community is not doing well. The comment numbers alone speak for themselves. There was a magic here, and it's going. I don't want to say it's gone (it makes me way more sad than it should to think that a blog in my life is no longer what it used to be). Maybe it's just the natural evolution of these kinds of things.

It hurts me to hear people say that things are "prim" around here. When did it get unacceptable on these boards to discuss sexism? The only flamewars I remember from the past were when people would get IRATE over the mere suggestion that the desire to lose weight is legitimate. This was a radical community where people discussed things, at length!

I think we are afraid of criticizing now because we fear that this community is dying. I think we're really protective of this place, and don't want to admit that it's changed drastically in the last little while. I know I've been really rooting for Emma, and haven't wanted to be negative in the comments because I don't want to contribute to a negative tone. But this piece just kind of pushed me over the edge. This is not the Hairpin I really came to depend on over months of months of lurking and then months and months of commenting. For a few years now, the Hairpin is where I spent a lot of time, and learned a lot of things.

I credit the Hairpin with me becoming a better person. Seriously. I think that's why this is sad and feelings-y for me.

honey cowl

@melmuu I agree that the title could have been better chosen but DAMN if this isn't just like my life. Maybe I'm not smart enough to suss out all the reasons that is problematic.

likethestore

@RNL I didn't find this piece particularly offensive but I agree with 99% of what you're saying. Hairpin used by my #1 online hangout and now I hardly ever read the articles or commment. Something has changed and it's hard to define what exactly, but the spirit isn't the same.

I will say that a three-piece article about a gay dude who's so blase about his life that he basically contracts HIV on purpose is more offensive to me than any "I'm a girl, I can't use tools!" article.

titmouser

@likethestore This. This for forever and a day.

iceberg

guys I thought it was funny I dunno. it's her experience!

I used to have my own toolkit and i GUESS I could figure out how to do it, but I've never been that into that stuff and Mr. Iceberg doesn't necessarily know how to do things with tools either, but is SUPER into looking up how to do things on the internet, and then doing them.

up cubed

Half the reasons listed to get the TV are FOMO :(
I think that sets the tone.

RNL
RNL

@upupandaway FOMO of COMMERCIALS. Just saying.

loren smith

@iceberg I agree! I know I am capable of youtubing how to fix something and reading the directions, but I wouldn't enjoy it nearly as much as Mr Smith. I'm not going to do something I don't enjoy to prove I can.

Lili B.

@iceberg I am a licensed plumber/electrician's apprentice and I thought it was hilarious. Just because it's not my experience doesn't mean I can't relate at least to aspects of it, or find the humour in the situation. "You do you" is exactly right.

likethestore

Also I own a toolkit from Ikea and it was like $10. It has a hammer, screwdriver with a bunch of different heads, pliers and possibly a wrench, I don't really remember. Anyway if you are a single woman (or anyone really) and your most adventurous project is hanging pictures or putting together cardboard furniture, I highly recommend it.

ETA: when I was hanging something a couple weeks ago and realized I didn't own a level, I downloaded a level app. Boo yeah.

cuminafterall

@likethestore I would add a hex key set like this one, in case you lose those dang Ikea wrenches with regularity (as I do). Bonus: you will be able to install/repair whatever crappy TP holder/towel ring your landlord put in the bathroom, as well as fix your garbage disposal when it jams.

likethestore

@cuminafterall Alternatively collect all your Ikea allen keys in a plastic baggie for years until you're drowning in them and yet can never find the right size.

stonefruit

@likethestore amen to that. After more than a decade of collecting, I've started on my second baggie of IKEA allen keys and I really need to just sit down one day and throw out the duplicates!

up cubed

@likethestore I have this too! I last used it to make some copper wire rings, so I could be as chic as the honestlyWTF lady.

tales

Jesus, hairpin, I've only got maybe one more of these awful, awful "women are so useless, right?" articles left in me and I'm jumping ship for good from this place.

RNL
RNL

@tales Me too. :( This was awful. Wimmin so useless and we all secretly use our sexuality in a humiliating way! And impulse shop! So we can watch *commercials*. Commercials, folks. I know it was kind of funny to some people, but holy shit I dunno. It was kind of revolting.

you're a kitty!

is this article supposed to be satire because if so I will feel really dumb

lora.bee

"Then, send a text message to your guy friend."

This just kind of killed it for me. Did it not occur to her to text a girl friend? My best friend & I put together my entertainment unit - it would never occur to me to not ask her help because she is a girl.

MarianTheLibrarian

Jumping in to say I also read it as a light piece about her experience and not a commentary on women being incapable. I do own tools, but I'm not very handy. None of my friends (male or female) are handy either. All of my friends, of both genders, make lots of impulse buys at Target. So, if I was embarking on something as expensive and intimidating (I think this sounds intimidating) as this, I would probably call my brother-in-law for help.
I also don't think it's that outrageous that the 2 guys she mentions have complicated backstories. I have a lot of female friends who have a lot of male friends who have wanted to date them, but they're just friends.
Also, I would venture a guess that none of my female friends own drills I could borrow, but I know my brother-in-law does.

Verity

Or you could just put it on a TV stand of some sort. Significantly less effort! (My tenancy agreement also does not allow me to do anything whatsoever to the walls of my flat, which helpfully makes the decision for me.)

Lurkasaurus

Welp, this walking stereotype loved it. LOVED it. This felt like it could have been downloaded directly from my brain, I share so many of the same thought processes, impulses, and flaws that this author describes. (That bit about money not feeling real!) Right now, I could scrounge up a couple of male friends devoid of awkward history...but in the tiny and screwed-up social circles I have found myself a part of over the years, that has not always been the case, so even that didn't feel unrealistic or unnecessarily sexist to me. The title does have an air of assumed universality that it is fair to push back on, but on the whole I think this piece was waaaaay more about sharing her personal experiences in the spirit of self-deprecation than making some kind of general statement about the "uselessness" of women, or what have you.

franceschances

@Lurkasaurus I liked it too! Although clearly it's missing the part where you almost pass out in the home depot because you haven't eaten anything all day because you were so determined to do this and your blood sugar has dropped like a rock, which you then use as an excuse to go to the taco bell in the parking lot.

H.E. Ladypants

@Lurkasaurus But why does it have to be a male friend at all, is the part that makes me uncomfortable. I mean, if you don't have any male friends without awkward history, that's totally fine. But why not ring a not-awkward female friend? Why is it assumed that the MAN friend will have tools and know how to use them? The actual progression of events didn't bother me (I've been known to similarly and determinedly bite off more than I can chew on a whim) but the assumption that help must come from a male person.

Diaphanous Gown

@Lurkasaurus Maybe she doesn't actually know any women who own tools? I don't. My friends wouldn't have a clue how to hang a TV bracket.

Urwelt

@H.E. Ladypants Probably because she has a finite amount of friends? They're people she knows presumably she doesn't have to "assume" anything about their handiness, on account of knowing them. I guess you can fault her for not having any handy lady friends, but your assumption that she must have one that she's just not bothering to call is weird. I can't think of any female friend who I would call on for their stud finding expertise (nor male, unfortunately).

I don't know, I own a bunch of tools and I could judge her, but at the end of the day she bought and mounted a TV, which is more than I can say for myself.

Lurkasaurus

@H.E. Ladypants I considered doing an exhaustive point-by-point breakdown of why these things that other people were finding to be sexist felt relatable to me, but that made for a very long comment, so I edited it down. Perhaps I shouldn't have. As Diaphanous Gown and Urwelt said...not everyone has handy lady friends. I don't. Since there is not much cultural encouragement for women to develop these kinds of skills, I suspect that it's a fairly common situation. (For the record, I definitely wish it wasn't! Keep rocking it, tool-wielding ladies!) And given that she knows her friends and their skills, I didn't feel that she was making any unnecessary assumptions about gender as it relates to capability.

titmouser

Reminds me of this:
http://www.reductress.com/five-activites-you-should-never-attempt-when-single/
Though the HP article is, sadly, not a hilarious satire.

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