Sunday, September 04, 2011

An uncharacteristically emo blog about cars

Despite my complaints about hegemonic masculinity, I'm not an anti-masculinity guy. I love baseball and I've been referred to - only in my 20s, mind you - as a jock more than once. And, of course, there's my ambivalent relationship with hyper-masculine super- and action-heroes.

All that said, there are still some characteristically masculine things that I have a powerful aversion to, probably because they're particularly overdetermined. (In fact, I think that I like things like baseball and superheroes, in part, because they're somewhat problematically associated with masculinity - baseball is mocked as being boring, unathletic, and/or a numbers-game, and superheroes are still pretty geeky.) That is, I resist/resent the kinds of things that guys are just expected to know about or be interested in, even by people with feminist politics.

But this is just a longish way of getting to the point - I hate being expected to know anything about cars. I hate that knowing nothing about them is somehow a knock against my manhood and competency as a male partner and parent. And I just hate the idea of knowing anything about cars. I hate the kind of gruff manliness that's associated with cars, I bristle at conversations about cars, I actively disidentify with the kind of people who tend to be into cars, and I can actually feel an embodied response when the topic even comes up.

So when our car's battery just suddenly died at a gas station and we barely completed the short drive home after being boosted, I was fine with leaving the task of replacing the battery to people who know what they're doing. Because, like I said, I just don't want to know.

Is this unreasonable? I'm sure that it is. It makes a lot of practical sense to know this stuff, and it doesn't look particularly difficult, either. And it's probably dumb to let my somewhat-political-but-more-complicated-than-that relationship with cars get in the way of that.

So, all of the above issues aside, I'm gonna try to replace the damned thing anyway. But I'm gonna hate it every step of the way.


Lesley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lesley said...

"I actively disidentify with the kind of people who tend to be in cars, and I can actually interestedfeel an embodied response when the topic even comes up. "

I'm going to assume there's a typo there and you actively disidentify with the kind of people who tend to be *into* cars... not people *in* cars... unless that means that when you're driving people to softball you ignore everyone in the car, including yourself... :P

neilshyminsky said...

Ah, yes... this is what I get for not bothering to proof-read.

Buuuuut, I think there might have been a weird glitch, somewhere, somehow. See, a couple words later in the sentence, where I apparently wrote "interestedfeel"? Take the word "interested" and put it in between "tend to be" and "in cars".

What's weird, is that when I went to fix that error, the words "interested" (but not "feel") and "in" both showed up in a different font, which happens when I cut and paste text from a different source into the blog editing window.

So that makes me wonder whether Blogspot might have somehow transposed the words. Does that happen? I dunno. It's strange, though, especially since that second typo(?) makes absolutely no sense.

Lesley said...

yes i thought that "interestedfeel" terminology was quite strange. i thought you were trying to create some new way of expressing things!

weird glitches!!

Nathan Plastic said...

I have almost exactly the same relationship with cars. I was actually a bit relieved to be able to sell my car when I moved to Toronto, since I would no longer NEED to know anything about the damned thing. Plus being able to say, "Oh, I don't have a car, I bike to work or take the subway sometimes" removed me entirely from the need to be involved in car discussions (even if it painted me as a snooty downtowner).