My driver’s side headlight has been out for almost a month now. I’ve been meaning to fix it, really, I have. In the meantime, I’ve been helping high school students everywhere win at padiddle. But it’s gone on for too long now and I really should get around to fixing it. It’s just, well, isn’t that a job for a boy?
There, I said it. Out loud even. And I meant every word of it. I know it might be considered anti-feminist of me, and I don’t mean to betray the sisterhood, but there are some things I just can’t bring myself to do.
As a strong, stubborn, independent female, my job is to terrorize men everywhere into believing that I don’t need them and can eat them alive. And I might not really need one. But sometimes I really want one (though not always for breakfast).
Specifically, I’m taking applications for a boyfriend-of-the-week that will take care of all the maintenance pertaining to my car. I’ve never been particularly good at washing it or detailing it. The mechanic who changes the oil checks the tire pressure so that I don’t explode on the highway. And yes, ashamedly, I ran out of gas once.
To my credit, when I noticed the light was out I popped the hood and took a peek. It looked complicated. I enlisted men I work with just to double check; they agreed. Complicated.
These same male coworkers suggested I strategically plan a dress with the proper amount of cleavage and march myself down to an auto parts store. Apparently this is what other girls in this situation do. So I plotted the outfit and practiced batting my brown eyes. When I walked in, the angry looking girl behind the counter didn’t find my dress cute or practical, and I’ll wager a guess she was less than impressed with my breasts. She sold me the headlight, and $10.38 later I asked, “Is there someone here who can show me how to install it?”
She glared at me from beneath her Aqua-netted bangs and said, “Make your boyfriend do it.”
Ah yes. Back to square one. Since the solution seemed to be lack of a man I set out to solve the problem by finding one.
I thought about calling a man I’d recently been on a date with. He did, after all, take me to Wal-Mart to buy a gun rack, and he had an unfortunate mustache. Surely a man of this caliber would know how to change a headlight. When I told my friend Doug of my plan, he took the wine glass out of my hand, volunteered to be my fake-boyfriend, and quickly searched Google for proper headlight technique since I have no owner’s manual. But then, after several beers, he too decided it was best I seek professional help.
So I continued driving with one headlight, bemoaning the fact that I was going to have to take out an ad on Craigslist to find a temporary boyfriend suitable for the job.
Until something marvelous happened. I was standing in the kitchen cutting beets and asked my friend E.J. where her husband was.
“Roberto’s gone to get my headlight fixed,” she said, without looking up from mashing the potatoes.
Who needs a boyfriend when I can borrow someone else’s husband?
I came down with a mild case of Tourette’s as Roberto easily reached into the hood and removed the cord with the troublesome headlight and slid the new one it its place. IT WAS THAT EASY.
Jack Dionigi, owner of 28th Street Garage, laughs when I tell him the long, silly process for that one stupid headlight. “Some of them are that easy,” he says, “but you can have many headlight scenarios depending on the car.”
I ask Jack if he teaches a class on simple car care for dummies like me. “We’ve never done that before but it would be good to take the fears out and show what can happen and how it affects your car in the long run.”
Then Jack offers to have me come to the garage so he can show me a thing or two.
Who needs someone else’s husband when I’ve got Jack?
-by Leah M. Charney
Charney may be sassy yet classy but she really should learn something about auto maintenance. 28th Street Garage is located at 4730 Pearl or at www.28thstreetgarage.com.
Appeared in Women’s Magazine, June 2009