I thought it was appropriate to follow up Chris’ last post with this one. Living on the road, Chris and I spend pretty much all of our time together. Its one of the main reasons we decided to live this way and give up our jobs. We only get to live one life, and the person I want to spend my time on earth with more than anyone else is Chris. This intense intimacy gives us both a look into the inner workings of our lives, and we get to experience life through the other person’s eyes. It’s given me a huge amount of respect for the challenges that go with being a man. It’s always worth it to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, to try and better understand how they experience the world and how they relate to it. That’s even more important for a couple who spends 99% of their time together. So I’ve aggregated the major things that make it hard to be a guy.
#1: Asking for help.
If we are ever in a spot where we need help from a stranger, it’s always a safe bet to say if I ask, we’re more likely to get the help. It’s not a different need, it’s the same, but for whatever reason as a man he is expected to “take care of himself” or “figure it out” or “deal with it”.
#2: Lifting ANYTHING.
Chris is expected to do any and all kinds of manual labor involved in our life. The thing is, there is A LOT of manual labor to do when you are constantly moving, filling water jugs, filling propane tanks, getting groceries, carting around building materials, packing and unpacking our stuff at each site. It’s insane to assume he should be in charge of all of that, and he gets condescending remarks whenever there is another man around and I am doing any kind of work. Literally, every time.
#3: Social Media.
If you scroll through our social media statistics, almost all of the top pictures we have posted this year include me, the female. They aren’t better photos, they just have a woman in them. Men are at a serious disadvantage in gaining momentum in the social media space.
#4: Kindness is seen as weakness.
I guess this goes for both sexes, but men get a tougher wrap for it.
#5: Car work.
Chris is a brilliant human being, and somehow can diagnose all sorts of car troubles or potential components that should be serviced. He used to take apart his lawn mower as a nine-year-old and put it back together, so he’s been working with machines for quite a while. Before I met Chris, I didn’t know you did anything to a car besides put gas in it. I’m not kidding. One day in high school my car started smoking out the air vents and I just stopped driving it because I thought it was “broken”. We all grow up, and learn, and I’ve been lucky enough to learn how to do the basics of changing oil, brakes, fluids, tires, and attempt to diagnose any issues, and I love that I’m able to help out with this stuff. Chris and I are a team, and it isn’t much fun to feel like you can’t support your other half. However, in our travels on the road, it’s glaringly apparent that the men who travel are expected to be in charge of all of these things. I’m guessing that in general, they’ve been taught these things from a young age, and to some extent, have a little more interest in the matter (Disclaimer: this is a GENERALIZATION that does not apply to everyone, it’s just very common in my experience). But when you live in your vehicle, it’s a lot of pressure to be the only one in charge of keeping you running.
#6: Confrontation is way more likely to turn to violence.
If we encounter a situation where we have a small conflict of ideas, like camping next to some people blasting their music late into the night, I wouldn’t be worried of getting in a fight when I politely ask if they could turn it down a bit. A few angry words, potentially, but for Chris, there’s a chance the other party will want to escalate it and challenge him, potentially turning violent.
#7: No space for uncertainty.
Chris is always expected to have an answer, even if he doesn’t know what’s going on any more than I do. It seems like men are given less room to contemplate, think it through, or figure it out as they go. Like they are expected to be confident in everything they do, and always be completely in control. That sounds really unrealistic and boring.