My dad in law is an awesome man, but he has a very old fashioned way of looking at gender. There are certain things boys and men don’t do and there are certain things girls and women don’t do. Women don’t drive trailers, women don’t do carpeting, men don’t cook or do laundry. The irony is that neither my wife or her siblings are gender confirmative. My wife really wanted to be with her dad I the garage, building things but  were never allowed to. Her brother on the other hand were frequently invited to join his dad in the garage, but had very little interest. Through all the years my wife and I have been together, we have often needed her dads help with different projects. We focused on the help part as in we’ll do it together, but since we were both women – he did all of it by himself. It’s really embarrassing to ask for someone’s assistance and expertise and ending up just standing on the side watching someone else do all the work. I’ve always felt really uncomfortable asking for his help for that reason, but since I came out things have changed. We have replaced our kitchen floor with my father in laws help and… I got to do half the work!!!

He doesn’t speak much at all, during all the years I’ve known him he’s hardly put three words together, so it’s really hard to figure out what he is thinking. But I got the feeling that this is his way of accepting me as his son in law. It feels a little bit like he’s taking me under his wing, teaching me all the things a man must know (according to him). So we had two days of male bonding time in the kitchen while my wife and mother in law took care of the baby and “fika” (the Swedish way of having coffee breaks – every day at 10 and 15 swedes have their coffee break with some sweet buns, cookies and/or cake. You won’t find a workplace in Sweden that doesn’t have time for fika twice a day, it’s unthinkable!) I could even help him for a change a few times. It’s such an honor to be able to learn from him. He knows everything there is to know about building things – sawing, gluing or welding AND he’s a neat-freak. He has good, solid solutions to every problem and since he’s so thorough it will las a lifetime. He build his own 200 square meter home, a two story building with a cellar. He knows his own house outside and in and when he comes to help us in ours, he curses a lot, mostly on the people who build this house. We have a lot of “custom solutions” in our house. Like roof heating, a staircase peeking out in the hallway, thresholds nailed from the outside, carpet under the hardwood floor or to be more precise under half of the floor, a well in the middle of the utility room and our bottom step of the stairs are an inch higher than the rest…

I just had to share how happy I am to finally be allowed to do some of the work on our house together with my father in law. The funny thing is that I’m the same person, with the same knowledge as I was half a year ago when he “helped” us to put up our fence, i.e. did all the work himself. The only thing that has changed is my gender presentation, but apparently that changes a lot for my father in law!

5 thoughts on “Flooring

  1. Awesome! I’m amusingly reminded of the comment you left on my blog the other day about being happy no one opens doors for you now. As I’ve always hated that once I hit about 15 people expected me to carry heavy boxes and have an interest in DIY based stuff. I’m a skinny weed and I’m not handy in the slightest so it was always awkward when I had to help put up a shelf never mind replace a floor!

    If people later see me as too delicate to do handy work then it will be a patronising relief 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good for you, Fredrik! I’d hate to not being allowed to do that kind of jobs. Even though I’m married to a guy (long story…) I’ve always been the man around the house. Flooring, painting, woodwork, plumbing. Love it! My dad and I (we’ve both always been thin) would often do the heavy jobs together and say to each other that we were strong guys. Which we are, of course. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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