There are many really scary things in this life. Close to the top of the list is having to face the ghastly fact you are in need of a repairman. This is not because they are not perfectly nice people. It’s because I don’t know how to handle them.
The washing machine has been making a really impressive grinding noise for some time now. I’ve been ignoring it, hoping it would change its mind. Not. There is obviously something causing a bit of a problem in the whatsit – a bra wire or a chewed up sock.
The real problem is not what is stuck in the whatsit; it’s what to do about getting it sorted. Along with taking out the garbage, this type of transaction should come within the boundaries of ‘secret men’s business’. The bloke phones the repairman, says, ‘Mate – the Whirlpool’s stuffed.’ The repairman says he’ll get around to it. Some months later, maybe he does. These things can’t be rushed.
There is no way a woman should have to do the phoning. Not unless she has a hankering for wanting to be made to feel stupid. The repairman will ask her what the problem seems to be. There will be a silence in which she can hear Juicy Fruit languidly popping. She will innocently tell him the machine is making a funny noise. There will be a longer silence in which he digests this gem of technical information and she is treated to the sound of him scratching his testicles. He will then ask what the noise sounds like. She will say, ‘Er … like maybe a bra wire.’ She will then hear him telling his mates, who are lurking in the background drinking Milo out of chipped and greasy mugs. There will be much hooting and muffled laughter, and the word ‘doofus’ bandied about.
When and if he arrives, make absolutely sure you are not in your nightie. He will think you are a bored housewife who calls repairmen in purely to seduce them. He will think this even if he is 65 years old and his stomach is hanging to his knees. He will think this even if you are Kylie Minogue. It will not occur to him you are in your nightie because he was supposed to be coming three days ago at 10.30am and you had given up on him. Imagining he is Harrison Ford is the nature of the beast. He probably has a housewife register he shares with fellow repairmen. You get one star if you offer a cup of coffee, two stars if you put a biscuit on the saucer and God help the three star Momma.
Taking your car to be serviced is another minefield. Mechanics KNOW women are stupid. They read it in the manual. It is imperative you don’t tell him there’s a problem with your thingamajig, or the light on the whatnot isn’t coming on. When he asks what’s wrong, tell him firmly it’s his job to find out. Tell him you are on your way to the airport for a conference in LA on quantum physics and you don’t have time to explain stuff he should know anyway. Look down your nose. Be careful not to slip in the pool of sump oil on your way out – it spoils the effect of your otherwise cool presentation if you have a slick of SuperRev up the back of your designer knickers. When you get charged three times as much as the job was worth, you’ll probably kick yourself, realising how much you would have saved if you’d just come clean and told him the whatnot sounded blocked.
Clearly, what is needed are more female repairpeople. You can comfortably tell them about the bra wire or the thingamajig, safe in the knowledge they’ll know exactly what you’re talking about. When they turn up, you can make coffee (the espresso kind), break out the Cheez Nibblies and have a good old natter in your Simpsons pyjamas.
When she’s extracted the sock from the whatsit, she’ll even mop up the greasy water that leaked out over the laundry floor and make sure there aren’t any little nuts and bolts left over. There’ll probably be time for a nice glass of chardonnay.
You’d be a right nuffnuff to call a man in to do a woman’s work!