So this guy in our neighborhood has early Alzheimers and dizzy spells. He’s looking for a babysitter (his word) and someone to cook for him and do his cleaning so he doesn’t have to go into a home. And he asked me.
I have no experience babysitting. And absolutely no aptitude for it.
Yes, I do my own cooking and cleaning, but I have no interest in it, at all, and do as little as possible.
So why did he ask me? Because I’m a middle-aged woman. Apparently that’s what middle-aged women do, that’s what we are, that’s what we’re for.
Yes, I’ve been friendly with him, stopping to chat or at least wave when I walk by (as a result of which he once asked me if I like sex and whether I’m any good at it—apparently that’s another thing women do, are, are for), but I doubt that friendliness on the part of a man would have indicated that he’s available for babysitting, cooking, or cleaning (or sex).
I’ve got three degrees, I used to be a philosophy instructor, I’ve published several books, and I’m currently making a living as a freelancer. Would a man with such credentials be asked to be someone’s babysitter and do their cooking and cleaning?
Ah, but this guy doesn’t know I’m all that. And that’s also telling. If I were man who has lived in this neighborhood (small, rural) for twenty-five years, everyone would likely know all of that about me. But I don’t go around announcing these things, and no one’s ever asked. Because they just assume I’m—well, none of that. After all, I’m just a middle-aged woman.
P.S. – Spread the word – I invite women to add their own “And here’s something else that would never happen to a man” entries via the comments function. I’d love for this post to turn into a blog sort of like ‘What is it like to be a woman in philosophy?’…