I should say that my mother’s second husband “did the best he could”… but I’m pretty sure that would be an outright lie. He was (is) a total pig. He also totally embraced this… notion of anti-feminism that saved me from quite a lot of hard physical work. This worked out fairly well for me when the lawn needed cut in the summer, or when our 8 Japanese maple trees dropped 140 bags of wet, sticky leaves in the fall… wood to cut in the winter and snow to shovel, and on and on the list would go of undesirable dirty work. As long as I stayed content and uncomplaining in the kitchen where I belonged, I was safe from the backbreaking “manly” work. I was totally fine with that.
One day, he was standing around in the shop drinking beer with his buddies and I came in on them having a discussion. He told them “Now Hubba here, she can do all sorts of stuff- can’t you honey?” he looked at me, then he gestured rudely at my chest and said “But as long as you’ve got two of those, you’ll never have to worry about any of that“.
I looked down at my chest, and back up at the laughing men and all I could think to say was “I’ll never have to worry, but you, you will have to worry”. I’m sure the menacing effect was totally ruined by my burning cheeks and the fog of beer they watched me through- But I’m sure I saw him falter for just a moment. I’m sure for just a second, he wondered whether he had taught me a little too well.