Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Boys, useless by design or by choice?

A common theme with several of my co-workers and friends is how useless men are in everyday situations.  Its like most of them never really grow up and always need to be told what to do. Just like an intern at the office, they lack the initiative to just go ahead and do what needs to be done.  It needs to be spelled out for them.  

I was at lunch today (new thai restaurant!) with my boss and an old friend, bitching about men of course, when boss points out to us a lunch group of about 5 guys and one woman.  The guys were all standing around a looking at each other "uh, what do we do?  The table only fits four!" while the woman took charge and muscled the two tables together.  By herself.  I think the men all sat down before she did too.  They damn well better have bought her lunch.

This phenomenon is often on my mind because I hear stories from my friends all the time about the simple things their men don't get.  But today, while watching tv, I got right hot about it.  Raymour & Flanigan, a regional furniture store, has launched a new ad.  It features an attractive man sitting on the couch talking about how wonderful his wife is: "She has a certain style about her.  Our taxes are always done in January.  She keeps our finances in order.  She picked out all this really nice furniture that I put my sweaty feet all over and fart on."  (ok, I might be making that last part up)  Ok fine.  You clearly are just the eye candy in this fake furniture selling relationship.  Yes, yes, you sit around all day and your wife makes all the big decisions for you, just like your mommy used to.  Fine.  I accept this.

What I have trouble accepting is that while useless husband guy is sitting around talking up his wife, she is in the background in a really nice suit/dress - setting the table!  Seriously Raymour & Flanigan?  You couldn't do any better than that?  There are actually two of these ads - one with wifey setting the table, and another with wifey doing something like paying taxes in the background.  Note, there are no ads with Wifey talking about what great style her husband has and how helpful he was when it came to making decisions about the house.

And I was this close to buying a new couch from them too.  Good thing I procrastinated.  It would have just given them more revenue to come out with more ads that piss me off.


kristen said...

um, the subtlety in those ads is "women, you have to do everything for your man. including buying the furniture..." "and men? you are useless - let the woman make the decisions... she takes care of your ass anyway..."

its subtle man-bashing...

Anonymous said...

From a man's perspective, it of course depends on the man. I've met "useless" women who couldn't balance their own checkbook, much less keep gas in a car. I've also met men who wouldn't know how to cook or do a load of laundry if their life depended upon it.

I cook, I clean, I work, I do loads of laundry, and yeah, I do our taxes, too. We trade off on chores, though, and we both have our preferences. Not all men are useless. Nor are all women.

Just some of them.