Andy Hinds has been pounding nails into wood ever since he was a kid and gives his father the credit for passing along the carpentry skills. In a recent Atlantic article, Hinds reminisces about helping to build the family cabin in Montana:
Dad built walls and sidewalks, installed woodstoves, laid tile, added electrical circuits and plumbing fixtures, fixed furnaces, and, at the cabin, ten years after it was first built, contrived an indoor plumbing system featuring an elaborate pump rig that sent the waste up the mountain to a septic tank. His only training in construction and mechanical work had been summer jobs on the railroad and growing up in a time and place where men didn't own things they couldn't fix.
Now he's a writer and stay-at-home dad of twin girls. But he still falls back on his skills and takes the occasional carpentry or contractor job. He's noticed something interesting: If there's a man in the home when he shows up, a list of excuses usually comes up.
Hinds divides those excuses into three categories: the awkward and self-deprecating guy who apologizes for his lack of knowledge; the man who claims he is too busy to do the work himself, and the man who thinks handyman tasks are beneath him.
"When working with female clients, I've rarely noticed any signs of chagrin at having to pay someone to do manual labor," he wrote. "But the expectation that men should be able to perform the traditionally 'masculine' work around the house still exists, to some extent, even if the social infrastructure doesn't; and sometimes the discomfort it causes is evident in conversations I have with men who hire me."
On The Daily Circuit, we discuss how changing family roles are altering views of masculinity.
LEARN MORE ABOUT MASCULINITY:
• The masculinity debate: no wonder men stay out of it
"A debate with genuine male participation and leadership would include the above issues, but within a broader, aspirational and authentically male agenda. The centrepiece would be today's extraordinary transformation of masculinity. A huge transition is taking place in all our lives, as we redefine our relationships with women, with our children, with work, with our sexuality. History may judge it to be a faster and more profound change even than the developments in women's lives." (The Guardian)
• Is Masculinity in Crisis?
"The real issue here is that men are finally starting to be held accountable for their bad behaviour (as a gender) — and they don't like it. It is akin to children throwing their toys out of the pram, because they are asked to share them. What infuriates me, as a feminist, in the absence equality between the sexes as of yet, that this is being raised as an issue at all." (Huffington Post)
• Brooker: A real man is good at building and fixing things
"My beef is with pop culture's sudden desire to project upon all males an idealized version of masculinity that hasn't actually existed since Teddy Roosevelt hung up his buffalo gun." (Calgary Herald)