Power Tools and Girly Habits

My newest hobby/interest is basic construction. Over the past week I have been learning how to put up drywall, work with superstrut, install electrical boxes and even shop at Home Depot, where having ladyparts can be a little weird in certain areas of the store. Like, in the powertool section.

I like drills. They’re handy little tools that make (de)construction easy! My friend was chatting with a salesguy in the drill section and I started picking up drills to see which ones were the lightest but still powerful. Then a scratchy voice interrupted my shopping:

“Oh, you don’t have to clean that up!” I gave the salesguy a funny look but he continued: “They’ll just get messed up again.”

I then realized that he thought I was cleaning the drill section up because I put a drill in its place each time I picked it up. The possibility that I was checking out the drills for myself was beyond his basic assumptions so I simply said, “Don’t worry. I’m not here to clean up your aisle.”

To be fair, working with powertools and doing construction is in direct conflict with one of the biggest tenets of femininity: physical appearance and cleanliness. My hair is gross, I have dirt caked under my fingernails, my skin is becoming calloused not just on my hands but anywhere that gets covered with drywall dust on a daily basis, and if I need to go out at the end of the day? Manual labor is tiring and putting on makeup can be tedious.

I can see why imagining a female doing this work didn’t suit the salesguy’s schema. Only in video fantasy land do women get to be dolled up and in control of powertools.

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