For example, I expect guys to bring me flowers. No reason for that, based on my own experience, since it doesn't happen that often. But when it does, I treasure it... I think I remember every time I've been given flowers, barring perhaps a handful of dandelions, since I was eight and a twelve-year-old's mother made him give me a carnation when we were all cleaning up after a church supper. That was the first. The most romantic? When my first boyfriend first brought me a rose (not counting corsages). The most surprising? The daffodil a certain lemony-fresh friend of mine picked on his way to my room my freshman year. The funniest? The roses that took five days for me to pick up, since I'd gone out of town the day they were supposed to arrive, that were exactly like the ones I'd sent to him. The most beautiful? A rainbow bouquet of tulips Jeff bought me this spring. The most meaningful? A corsage I didn't expect, from a date who wasn't really a date but went out of his way to make it one anyway, for the one formal dance that made up for all the others ever. That's the one that I took apart afterwards and put together without the plant parts to save as a memento. I still have it. It still matters.
And I can't bring myself to buy my own flowers. The Whole Foods supermarket right next to my office has gorgeous flowers. I end up going in at least once a week to get food for my boss, and I admire the flowers every time. Sometimes I even think about going back at the end of the day to buy flowers. But I never do, because I refuse to admit to myself that no one is going to bring me flowers. Some part of my subconscious firmly believes otherwise. How silly is that?
And why do I expect it to be guys who bring flowers, anyway? I'm every bit as capable of buying flowers as any of my male friends... more so, in most cases, because it actually occurs to me. Maybe I should start buying flowers and bringing them to my friends, instead.
Does anyone usually buy flowers in a gay or lesbian relationship? Am I the only one who has this weird hangup? If I had a girlfriend, would it occur to me to buy her flowers?
I generally detest gender roles and gender stereotyping, too. It drives me nuts when my boss makes assumptions about what I can't or shouldn't do because of my gender - despite the fact that the things he decides I shouldn't do are generally things I don't want to do in the first place, like carrying heavy boxes or climbing ladders to change lightbulbs. Besides, his friend, who's our cleaning service and routine maintenance guy, is a much better choice. But I don't want to be told I shouldn't do it.
Still, I resent having to take out my own garbage at home. Actually, I think that's an issue with the garbage, not with the gender roles. My mom always collected the garbage, then my dad would put it out on his way to work. Jeff has no problem with that pattern. I don't really like having to collect it in the first place - walking it out to the curb is no big deal and is easy enough, so I usually just do it once I've collected it, although I bitch and moan the whole time. Although I might feel differently if I didn't live in a first floor, front of building, apartment.
I need to just suck it up and deal, where the garbage is concerned. Collecting it and taking it out is certainly better than the alternative. And I think I need to re-evaluate my perceptions, and see what other silly things I do because of preconceived gender roles. Maybe I'll even start buying myself flowers.
Probably I'll just keep waiting.