Tuesday, October 16, 2012


I had an interesting experience while at a business conference with Nancy recently.  I may have mentioned that i am looking for a new vacuum cleaner as the one we now have isn't in good condition. Since I'll be the user of this small appliance, Nancy is giving me a significant say in the buying decision and I've been doing a lot of research.

As Nancy and I were walking back to our room at the hotel I noticed two housekeeping carts, each with a vacuum that I was interested in. I stopped to look at them and asked one of the maids about her vacuum, saying that I was interested in possibly buying one. Patriarchal conditioning at work again, the woman started to tell Nancy how much she liked the vacuum. Of course Nancy told her that I was the one using the vacuum in our home, a statement that I immediately validated. The maid seemed surprised, but I assured her that I did the vacuuming at home and was curious about her Kirby vacuum.

The maid apparently liked the idea of a man doing the vacuuming, and, taking a more assertive approach, instructed me to try her vacuum by sweeping the room she was working on. “Here,” she said, “see how it works, sweep this room.”

"Yes, ma'am!”  I responded.

Just as I was about to start, a second maid came out of the room across the hall that she was cleaning and asked her colleague what was going on. The first maid explained, and the second maid, with a skeptical, insisted I try her vacuum, too.

Both were clearly surprised when I started vacuuming. Then, seeing an opportunity for a rare, but well-deserved brake, both maids went out on the balcony for a smoke while I vacuumed four rooms. The extended tryout gave me a good feel for each model of vacuum and taught the maids that some men love vacuuming.


Anonymous said...

A practical demonstration of the usefulness of a male in making Womyns lives easier.They might scoff at first but when they see the practicalities of the arrangement they will welcome it.


I'm-Hers said...

Love the story. Made me smile.

Anonymous said...

In my experience, most women quickly figure out who is the "alpha" and who is the "beta" in a couple. These women quickly realized your role Dennis and so it felt natural to them to delegate this task to you. I find it's men who get hung up on whether something is a "woman's job" or a "man's job". I notice often how quickly women pick up on my wife as the decision-maker in our marriage and then deal with her, or ask me to pass a message on to my wife. I think it's guys who get all flustered with that dynamic.

Anonymous said...

Great imagination. Keep it going.

Nancy and Dennis said...

Anonymous (next to last):

Yes, your are certainly correct on women picking up on who is in charge and who is subordinate in a relationship. What we also notice is that when women pick up on a male's subordination, they treat him accordingly. This has been my experience,whether it's with the maids in the hotel or women in the family or Nancy's female acquaintances. While women who are family and close friends are aware of Nancy and my Female-led relationship, other women with whom we come into contact certainly pick up on my being subordinate to Nancy. And we're very much in favor of others knowing. We want to be role models for other couples and are pleased that we have been able to encourage others down the FLR path.

We also notice that women don't get hung up on whether something is a man's job or a woman's job but do recognize stereotypical tasks such as women doing domestic chores while men are out in the work force. It's things like this that women want to change and they want to see both men and women crossing traditional gender lines to gain new experiences and horizons.

It's also interesting to note that women are very welcoming of men who cross the gender line to do a traditionally female job or to explore a traditionally female activity. Men, on the other hand, don't look kindly on men crossing gender lines and are often not accepting of women who come into traditionally male roles in the workplace. This latter point is why we have an affirmative action program in place to promote women. Given male prejudices, even the most qualified women wouldn't get into male domains; we make sure that they do and we love the results.

Nancy and Dennis said...

Femsup (fist comment):

Yes, you are correct, women may scoff at a man's doing traditionally women's work or participating in traditionally women's activities but quickly come around and embrace men's doing so. In our situation women accept Nancy and my roles and, in some ways, help reinforce them. Men don't think the same way and are not at all accepting of men in subordinate situations or of men crossing traditional gender lines to participate in activities or perform jobs stereotypically relegated to women. It is women who have the open mind and, increasingly, the power, so it's really only women's views that count. Men are going to be swept up by the trend toward more women in leadership positions. It is happening and will continue to do so.

Anonymous said...

But there seen to be more men into at least ostensibly being Female Supremacists.So I think that yes men will initially pretend to be against it so as not to let their guard down in front of other men.

But if there is enough men showing heir true selves they will in turn reveal themselves.

Thats why it is so important not only to chakllenge sexism but to actively show why it is better to adopt a Female Led life. And no better way than you two are doing.