Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Dad Vanity

We’ve been having some issues with air conditioning at home – it never shuts off – so we called the repair guy to come and take a look. He asked me when the last time was that I changed the filter in the furnace. Honestly, I had no idea, but I couldn’t admit that to the repair guy, so I muttered something noncommittal and changed the subject. After he left, I changed the filter.

Why? Why?

Why couldn’t I just slap my forehead and tell the truth?

Dad Vanity strikes again.

I try not to let Dad Vanity influence too much of our day-to-day life, and it’s usually not that bad – I’ve never been a car snob; my athletic goals for the kids involve participation, rather than stardom; we have one television, and it’s not large. (Though I’ve pined from afar for years now, we still don’t have TiVo.) I mow the lawn often enough to prevent complaints from the neighbors, and spread the evil weedkiller maybe twice a year, but that’s all.

And yet, when asked point-blank by the repair guy, I couldn’t fess up. Just couldn’t do it.

As a recovering nerd, there are some Dad skills I just never picked up. Some of them I don’t mind, but there’s always that lingering guilt about not knowing how to fix something, or what to look for when something breaks, or forgetting some routine maintenance task. My father-in-law knows all of these things, and is more than willing to help, but asking is always a little bit painful.

Deconstructing gender roles is all well and good, but there’s just something about being asked point-blank by the repair guy…