“Ma’am, is your husband home?”

After months of prep and research, the new roof is finally on our house.  I’m stoked beyond belief.  And let me be clear: I did the research.  I called for the estimates.  I made the appointments.  Even though this all was a joint decision when between Husband and myself, in the end I did most of the leg work due to time constraints and comfort levels.

When the rep came to the house, he was friendly, knowledgeable, and not condescending.  He explained the process to me as if he assumed that I have a working brain, and when he was done, he presented me with color choices.  I told him I’d have to talk with Husband about colors.  This is a home where we both live, and I didn’t feel it’s right to make a unilateral decision on a space we share.

Fast forward a few weeks.  The roofers show up at my door, but the vibe was way, way different than the original rep.  The supervisor stood well away from the door, as if he thought I had the plague, and muttered something about getting started.  No introduction, no chat, just go.  Sure, I thought, they just want to get it done.  No problem.

Except…Husband came home a few hours later to check how things were going.  The reception they gave him was very different.  We went outside together to take a look while they were working.  The man that had mostly ignored me now walked past me, completely ignoring my presence, shook hands with Husband, introduced himself, and asked if Husband was the homeowner.  So friendly.  So warm.  So welcoming…to Husband.

When I am dealing with guys that don’t know me very well, how I’m viewed somehow gets shifted from an intelligent, crafty, strong woman to the little wife and mother.  Hey, often that’s all they know about me because that’s the role they first meet me in.  That’s cool.  What’s not cool is treating me like I’m some sort of idiot because of it.

Fact: when I got married and had kids, my IQ did not drop 50 points.  In fact, if it did drop 50 points, that would put me in the average IQ range.  So there.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened.  When I had been married only 2 years, a man asked me if I had gone to college solely to get a husband.  A while after that, I was at a gyno appointment in which they had to mess with my cervix.   I was in massive amounts of pain to the point where Husband and the nurse were concerned for my welfare, and the freaking doctor answered any questions that were posed to me, for me.  As in, Husband would ask if I was OK, how I was doing, and the gyno (which happened in this case to be an elderly male), answered them.  The doctor himself never checked my welfare.  He never spoke to me during the appointment; he only spoke to Husband.  He wasn’t my gyno for long.

Oh, and then there was the plumber that tried to bully me.  His estimate was twice what we were expecting, and he saw no problem at all pushing, grouching, and snarking to get me to agree to his terms, right now.  But, see, I’m not a moron and I know that’s not how an estimate works.  But boy, did think he was going to beat me down and scare me.  I was a housewife, and I was alone.  He was much taller, and much louder (loud noises is a trigger for me).  He acted completely put out, like I was a horrible person for using their estimate service, even though I knew that’s what estimates are for.

I don’t understand how this still happens.  Sometimes I think we are so close to equality, so close to equal love and respect.  I guess only some of us are.


Comments

“Ma’am, is your husband home?” — 2 Comments

  1. I got this all the time when we were building our house and still get it whenever we have work done. I used to handle so much of it because dizzyguy was either at work (3rd shift) or sleeping during the day.

    I got so much attitude. I was told we needed things we didn’t need. I was bullied. I’ve gotten to the point that I just look at them and tell them my husband will deal with them since they don’t seem to want to deal with me.

  2. That is TERRIBLE! I am very sorry all this has happened to you. I have had a few inconsiderate butt head experiences myself, and they leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. Maybe one day all the “I’m stronger, I’m bigger, I’m better than you” will cease to exist. Until then keep on with your posts and hopefully change some minds!

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