I was updating pretty frequently, until I wasn’t. This is because we bought a house.
It was kind of funny — I’d done a ton of divination on the subject, but kept getting the same advice: Wait. Be content where you are right now. Enjoy what you already have. I figured this sounded pretty solid, so I started to do that. We bought some new furniture, I converted our vertical blinds to a curtain rod, and before I even got to hang the curtains, things changed. The summer solstice came, I did my usual summer solstice ritual, and the ritual divination changed its tune. Now it was “New start.” “Competition.” “Strength.”
I figured that sounded pretty rad, but didn’t think too much of it. I tapped through some real estate websites out of boredom, and noticed something interesting: There were more houses. A bunch of estate sales. Many of the ones that were in the 500s and above were now… not.
I spotted this little midcentury ranch house on a nice sized plot of land. I called it the “John Waters House,” because all of the room colors felt like the palette of Pink Flamingos. I kind of fell hard for it, to be honest.
Alas, it suffered from an absolutely eyewatering smell of dog pee, and so we didn’t put in an offer.
Discouraged, I wasn’t even in the mood to look at the next house, but we’d already agreed to tour it. It’s a good thing we did, too, because that tour completely sold us.
Which is a good thing, because I’m not sure if I would’ve been as keen if I’d waited until the inspection to see it. Not that there was anything wrong with the house, mind.
Our inspector was an older guy. Affable, in an avuncular way, and clearly knowledgeable about his job. Great!
What was less great was the- Okay, I’m basically impossible to misgender. I have been called everything, I identify with none of it, and I legitimately do not care. The first time the inspector joked, saying that, “By the end of the inspection, you’ll be happy,” he pointed to me, “and you’ll hate me,” he pointed to my partner.
“Why?” My partner asked.
“Because there’s gonna be a whole list of things you’ll have to fix!”
“Uh, I’m the one who does the fixing,” I said.
The inspector brushed it off, and so did I. My partner’s taller than me, more jacked, and is generally pretty masculine. People usually assume he’s the one doing things with power tools. It’s whatever.
Then, at the end of the inspection, the inspector steps into the living room and looks at me.
“Are you gonna let him have any closet space?”
I didn’t really know how to answer. It was a pretty weird question, and my brain was already trying to figure out whatever closet-related anomalies the house might have. Then it clicked.
“I work from home. I don’t have clothes I can’t sleep, paint, and garden in. He’s the one who goes to an office and has a spare closet full of fancy suits.”
At that point, I was mildly annoyed. Not at his assumption about my gender, because I don’t see anything negative about being/being compared to a woman. It was his assumptions about my relationship.
My partner and I are pretty good at playing to each other’s strengths. This is especially the case when those strengths fall outside of traditional gender lines. It’s nice not having to feign competency at things I don’t care about, just because I’m “supposed” to. It’s also nice having my interests and aptitudes supported by someone willing to ply me with brewing bottles, paintbrushes, and power tools.
It is not nice having to hear “women and clothes, amirite.”
Besides, even if that was the case… so what? You don’t get to benefit from a culture that demands that women be decorative, then complain about the things they require in order to do so. It’s like the people who deride “unskilled” jobs, but still want their burgers cooked and their bathrooms cleaned.
I didn’t say this. I just wanted things signed, sealed, and done with. Besides, I didn’t think it’d get very far if I did. I stayed as the one doing the eye rolling, rather than getting eyerolled at.
We managed to close on the house about a week later, and it was the longest week of my life. The night before, I couldn’t sleep at all. I stumbled into the Redfin office barely able to see. One of the agents (this really nice lady who toured a house with us once before that) offered us tea, coffee, and snacks. Not thinking, I took a banana and a cup of tea.
Unfortunately, that meant that I had to figure out what to do with an opened banana while we signed an inch high stack of paperwork. I didn’t want to put it on the table to leave a bunch of banana guts everywhere. And so, slowly and with great gravitas, I placed the half-eaten banana in my backpack and took bites of it in between initialing things.
Here ’til the banana splits,