Big man, find tire.*

The other night, I took a tango lesson at the dance studio where Cait teaches. I’ve never taken a dance lesson before, but I (am fooling myself into thinking that I) was pretty decent. Once I had the steps down, my biggest problem was probably remembering not to backlead…

Anyway, it was a good time and I am feeling just smug enough to know that the universe has me down on the list for a good kick-in-the-pants sometime soon.

After the lesson we went to the coffee shop to eat apple crumb pie and drink coffee study for finals. As we were leaving, Cait asks me something along the lines of:

“Remember that giant pot hole we drove over earlier?”

I think you can see where this is going already. So, we ended up stranded in a parking lot with a flat tire at 11:15 PM. I’ve changed a tire before, but never by myself. I’ve always been with someone else who knows how to do it, and I didn’t really trust myself to do it.

Cait called her Western friends, who came to pick us up/help us change the tire. We had looked in the trunk, but (this is a little embarrassing) while we could find the jack, we couldn’t find the lousy spare tire. Go ahead and laugh, I know it’s funny. They’re usually under the floor of the trunk, but to get to hers you had to go down two layers. Oops…

So, her friends showed up and found the tire, and set up trying to fix the tire.

“Trying” is the operative word in that sentence, leading us up to the good part of the story. (I wish I had photo documentation of this…)

They didn’t have the first flipping clue about how to change a tire. My favorite comments were something along the lines of:

“This jack is so messed up. It doesn’t work. Why would they give you a jack that doesn’t work?”


“You have to lower the car back down to the ground before you tighten the lug nuts”

After watching them a)fail to lift the car with a perfectly normal and functional jack, b)ignore me when I said we needed someone to lean on the back, counteracting the slope of the pavement and the raised car, and c)try to attach the spare backward, causing me to move from my leaning place at the back of the car, and causing the car to fall, I finally just did the whole thing myself. Properly. They were somewhat resistant to listen to me, until everything worked.

The point of the story is this: forget your gender roles and stereotypes. This is the real point of the women’s movement: we are socialized in a way that lends itself to underestimating and devaluing women in simple, everyday situations. Most of the time this is not intentional, and that is why it is so important to continue raising awareness about inequalities between genders. We all have a responsibility to be aware of our actions and to prevent ourselves from questioning people’s abilities based on sex alone.

If you had put the four of us in a line, I would be the last one you would choose to change your tire, because I am female and because I am small. I probably have the weakest arms, but I was the most efficient at determining angles and actually lifting the car. I had the most accurate understanding of what needed to be done, as well as how to troubleshoot/solve problems.
Oh, and I was wearing a skirt.

So, to sum it all up…

Big man, find tire. Little woman, fix car.

*That was Amanda’s response.

3 Responses to “Big man, find tire.*”

  1. Dog Momster Says:

    Mouse Power!!!


  2. kayak woman Says:

    Weak arms? Will I get hit if I use the A word here? And I could quote one of the YAG summer academy teachers from a couple years ago about the dancing issue except I can’t *quite* remember what she said. And then there was the time that Mouse fixed the pipes under the sink at the cabin last summer.

  3. jane Says:

    Rock on woman! you were channeling Jim and Jack I’m sure. the hardest part of changing a tire for me is getting the lug nuts loosened. any tips on how to do that besides raw strength?

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