"Because you are the man in the relationship."
I hear this explanation, or something like it, anytime my fiancee wants me to do something around the house that she is not willing to do.
And even though I know this to be blatantly sexist, 99 percent of the time I wind up falling for it.
Why? I wish I knew the answer.
The explanation itself does not make any sense unless we are talking about moving heavy furniture or using a jackhammer. And for some women who are genetically predisposed to having more strength than my fiancee (or me for that matter), those examples do not even work.
Just because I have an XY chromosome pair and a body part that allows me to produce more testosterone than my fiancee, does not mean I am more capable of: A. Taking out the garbage, B. Mowing the lawn, C. Shoveling the sidewalk, or D. Killing icky, gross spiders.
I hate killing spiders. They freak me out almost as much as they do her. But
instead of telling her "I got the last 37, it's your turn," I take off my shoe and smash the offender into a greasy spot on the wall.
I must be a huge pushover.
To make matters worse, my fiancee is not the only one using this logic against me.
Two weeks ago at my fiancee's bridal shower, she and her family played the "you are the man" card on me.
I made an appearance for the first hour or so, introducing myself to the 20-25 women that showed up. But prior to the opening of the gifts (the most interesting part) I was told to leave. After it was over I had to come back and "help" move the massive amount of presents (99.9 percent of which were for her) from the house to our SUV. I was helped by one of my fiancee's cousins for a little while, but she disappeared once it began raining. Suddenly, I was hauling gifts to the Ford by myself.
With water dripping from my forehead, I asked the question even though I already knew the answer.
"Why do I have to be the one to get wet?"
"Because you are the man," my fiancee said, eliciting smiles and laughter from the women around her.
Yeah, real funny.
Something tells me there would not be as much laughter if I decided to use the same logic against her.
For instance, if my fiancee asked, "Craig, can you help me with the dishes?"
I would probably not reply, "No babe, that is woman's work."
And if she were to ask, "Craig, can you stir fry the chicken while I cut up the vegetables?"
I would not say, "Honey, I don't prepare or cook the food, I eat the food. Cooking is your job. And since you're near the fridge can you bring me a beer? I don't want to miss this part of the game."
And if she asked, "Craig can you make the bed?"
I would never say, "I think I will pass. That sounds like a task calling for the delicate hands of a woman."
Because I value the parts of my body that make me a man, I do not talk to my fiancee this way. However, I can not help but recognize the egregious double standard at play here.
So, again, why do I put up with it? I still do not know.
From my experience, men are put on earth to do what women want, regardless of fairness. And as far as I know, this is the lot in life for most men. Or maybe it is just my lot.
I might be the man in the relationship, but I do not wear the pants.
(Craig Haupert is a sportswriter for the Minot Daily News. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org)