Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Gender Rules

  1. "Look, in my opinion, the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you. The right person is still going to think the sun shines out of your ass." —Mac MacGuff in Juno

  2. Tongue in cheek post. Tongue in cheek. 

My husband and I both just returned from vacations. Separate ones. He attended a stag party, as they used to call them. Eighty men gathering for a week of golf in the desert of Nevada and Arizona. Me? A Hen Party, as some people (not me) say. Twenty-five women on a humanitarian trip to Cuba. 

We both came home different than we left. Me, touched by the resiliant Cuban people in a way I'm still trying to understand and a need for my introverted self to recover from the women chatter. Him --  trophy in hand and testosterone exuding like microwaves from his week of manly talk and camaraderie in a male world. Men. 

I certainly do appreciate that we have these opportunities, but I'm always amazed as I watch my husband. And wonder who the hell this person is when he returns from one of these junkets. It doesn't take long to get him back in shape. I usually listen and rather than going on the attack about male chauvinism and other BS, wait for him to meld back into reality, before joking about the stag mentality that accompanies his return. 

A few months ago, I had a long discussion with a friend of mine, who is gay, about gender roles. We had just been with several other women friends and one was speaking of how now that her son is marrying, she's had to give up the key to his house, upon request.  I'd then talked about the differences of being a boy mom as opposed to a girl mom when our children marry. You might know the old sayings about the mother of the groom. 

Wear beige and keep your mouth shut unless to say, "Oh my, what a lovely idea." 

How hard it is as the girl mom can call whenever and often and has more of an easy in. The boy mom must tread lightly on the couple's life. That where having sons is such an incredible joy, it is heartbreak when we must let them go as they approach adulthood. They love us, but if we don't let them go, they will not be able to have a successful relationship with their chosen love. 

My gay friend took issue with this asking if it has to be that way or if in today's world, we can change those gender roles. 


My women's group that I traveled to Cuba with was an eclectic mix of women. Some were moms, some not. Some married. Some never. Some not. Some had stay-at-home mom stints. Some long-term caregivers. Successful careers. 

We were journalists, lawyers, physicians, nurses, teachers, engineers, editors, writers, real estate brokers, social workers, film makers and I don't know all as I never was never able to sit next to all 25 of them at lunch or dinner and hear their stories. 

We were all curious women on an humanitarian adventure to a forbidden land. Which meant the conversations were rich. Discussions of current events, politics, socialism, literacy, poverty, music, dancing, books, children, The future. We learned massive amounts of history, rode in old cars, learned how to salsa dance and make a really good mojito.The essentials while we shared the gifts we brought for the needy people of Cuba. 

Conversation flowed. Never ebbing. Never ending to a point where toward the end, I needed to retreat, as did a couple others of my tribe. Overwhelmed by the depth. Needing time to absorb all that was presented. The chatter eventually too much for this introverted/extrovert. Quiet and contemplation required before diving in again.

Now, I was not privvy to the conversations that went on at my husband's venue. However, having had three brothers and no sisters, three sons and no daughters, I have a pretty good idea as to the depth. My husband said the weather was perfect. He took 2nd place in the Old Geezer flight. My oldest son took first in his. They ate poorly, all the stuff they weren't supposed to eat. Took naps. Some gambled a little. Some a lot. Some not at all. I received thorough descriptions of the golf courses played. The best holes and the worst. You know, all the important stuff. 

I asked what they talked about at dinner or whenever? A puzzled look returned. 

"The usual stuff. You know." 

Yeah. I know. 

I do wish my gay friend, who challenged the gender norms in our discussion, could have been there when this husband of mine, whom she has met several times and likes, came through the door, exhuberant in the waves of testosterone emanating from him. Tell me how you change that! 

In the end, he had his fun. I had my fun. 

We are home. He fixed the garbage disposal. I made dinner. All is well. 


  1. It would be so lovely to meld gender roles, but it won't happen in our life time nor in all our children's. That is, a lot of men may be more gender fluid in the roles they assume and fill, many more will not change at all. I hope women are more selective; it will hasten gender equality. However, it would be best for mothers to return the key to their child's home on the latter marrying.
    Tongue in cheek comment. Tongue in cheek comment.
    Welcome back.

    1. Thank you, Joanne. Nice to hear your voice.

  2. Thank you for the fun, thought-provoking piece! As a culture, we certainly promote stereotypical gender roles. However, in my 40 years in a male-dominated field, I found that it’s often a personality thing and how much we want to comply with society’s rules. Assertive women and quiet, sensitive men often mask those traits in public to “belong”. The younger generations seem to be making great progress on smashing those stereotypes.

    1. Let's hope the younger generations will indeed be better.

  3. Great story!
    I will forever love the separate males and females roles! I’m just old fashioned like that. The romance of it. There is something to say about knowing who you are and not having to try to be something else. To work within. I’m sure I’m missing something here. Of course our world is so much more complicated than this.
    Thank you for the lovely story and for sharing your family. ❤️

  4. There are definitely some differences, but it kind of depends on the people and the size of the group. Like you, I prefer a balance of interaction and retreat. My girl friends can chat it up for ages without any other activity, but my partner's friends almost always pair conversation with activity. I wish more of my girlfriends were willing to DO things like golf, bowl, hike, bike, whatever. But they might be pretty exhausted from holding up more than half the world, so when they get together maybe they just want to sit and rest while they visit!


Let me know what you think. Every word you write, I appreciate.


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