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Flowers and gender roles

It's funny which parts of traditional gender roles stick in reactions, even in people who try to fight them in general.

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.



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 28th, 2003 10:15 am (UTC)
I do
I've both bought and received flower in a gay relationship... so I don't think it is much of a gender thing at all... *Shrug*
Aug. 28th, 2003 03:00 pm (UTC)
Re: I do
I've given flowers to a hetero man (who, btw, when I had them delivered once was the envy of all the women in his office when he went to pick them up). I don't think of them so much as a "gender role" thing for myself but as a neat-o special thing to do. However, when I'm buying flowers for men, I usually look for the not pink froo-froo ones (for example, deep, dark iris instead of pink rose).

But I think that some people still see it as a gender role thing. (see collacentaur's post!) I've spoken with lesbians who felt that their partners should bring them flowers didn't think it was their job to bring flowers to their partners.

I think it's not so much a story of the gender role being for the man to bring flowers - I think that it's more of a gender role for a woman to want to be given flowers... I remember my mom telling me about the flowers that I'd be given one day. When I finally got them, I was floored.
Aug. 28th, 2003 03:00 pm (UTC)
It doesn’t sound to me like it would occur to you to buy her flowers. I think that you want to be given flowers. If you were in a lesbian relationship, you probably would expect your girlfriend to bring your flowers.

If you ever get yourself up to doing it, make it a special occasion to buy yourself flowers. It really is fun and frivolous. And it is a nice feeling to see them. Very different from being given flowers (I’ve only ever been given flowers by one person who wasn’t a prom date, relative, or someone sending me condolences b/c I was sick), but it’s still nice. The whole idea of loving yourself, etc. Take the time, trouble, and money to buy something nice for yourself. Maybe even go to a few stores if the first few aren’t good enough. And buy some for your friends. *smiles* It will make them happy that you were thinking enough of them to do it. Try not to think of it as not having someone else to buy you the flowers – you DO have someone to buy you the flowers. Yourself! You can do it. You’ve got the money and the time to stop in the store and spend $10 on yourself. (And you won’t feel guilty for buying flowers like you will if you stop and buy a box of chocolates instead.. not that I’d know anything about that, though *whistles innocently*)

I always want people to buy me flowers. I remember my first flowers very clearly. They were my most romantic and my most surprising *grins* I often don’t get them for myself because it’s “such a waste” to buy flowers. They’ll die. If I don’t have visitors over, no one will even see them. But then I started equating that with the whole idea of saving your best earrings for special occasions.

I really hate touching garbage. I know what you mean about not doing it. In my house, D’s usually the one running out when he hears the garbage truck. Are you sure that’s a gender role thing? Garbage is icky. *grins* of course, I’ve been told that as girls we’re supposed to find more things icky than boys.

Next time you visit, I won’t make you take out the garbage while you’re here. I promise.

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )