I finally figured it out — why the men in my neighborhood react with such escalated lack of consideration whenever I ask them, politely, to limit their noise. I’ve asked snowmobilers who are out racing around the lake and having a good time going VROOM VROOM to please just turn around a few seconds before they get to the very end of the lake, which is where I live; I’ve asked dirt bikers to please ride up and down and up and down on a section of road that doesn’t have a bunch of people living there; I’ve asked men who are building new houses to please put the compressor behind the house (so the building acts as a berm) rather than on the lake side (which means, of course, that the noise not only skids across the lake with wonderful efficiency, but also that it then bounces off the hills, echoing amplified all over the place); I’ve asked men to at least close their lakeside doors and windows when they’re using their power tools inside. (And I’d like to ask them if they really, seriously, need to use a leafblower — we live in the forest, for godsake.)
And almost every single time, not only has the man not acceded to my request, he’s escalated his noise-making and/or responded with confrontational aggression.
Do I live in a neighborhood with an unrepresentative number of inconsiderate assholes?
No. Here’s what’s happening. (As I say, I’ve finally figured it out.) Partly it’s because I’m a woman asking a man to do something. Most men do not want to be seen taking orders from a woman; even to accede to a woman’s request is apparently too much for their egos. My male neighbour has made similar requests and the responses have been along the lines of ‘Sure, no problem.’
And partly, it’s because making noise is perceived to be an integral part of being a man. I’ve long known ‘My car is my penis’ but I never realized that that was partly because of the noise of the car. I didn’t know that men routinely modify the mufflers of their dirt bikes in order to make them louder. And then I happened to catch a Canadian Tire advertisement on television (I seldom watch television) and was absolutely amazed at the blatant association of masculinity with power tools, the promise that ‘You’ll be more of a man when you use this million-horsepower table saw’ or whatever.
So the resistance to my requests is because I’m essentially asking that they castrate themselves.