a woman’s worth

I wonder if there’s a man alive who’d take on such a frugal little wife?

Picture me doing as I do now: watching local channels and the most basic cable, enjoying so much of my television online — through YouTube and Netflix. What money would it save just to get a good Internet connection? No fancy channels, just what we’d get over a decent antenna in the old days? We got by fine on far less when I was a girl. Hundreds of channels now and nothing’s on! But here I am content with simpler fare.

Honestly, so many people think women want a standard list of bells and whistles that they forget to ask us whether we share their priorities. Like this one: No, honey, I don’t need a new kitchen. I’d like a relatively up-to-date one, partly because smooth-top electric stoves are so much easier to clean than the coily nesty ones, and partly because it’s nice to know my dishwasher is going to reliably kill the remaining nasties on my dishes after I’ve rinsed them through. I do not need a fridge with all the space ever, or even an ice maker. That’s why I like my little tub of plastic ice cubes. Use, wash, reuse, boom. And what is the point of that silly water dispenser unless it dispenses fizz? I would pay for it to dispense seltzer because I use that stuff in my drinks, but plain water? That can be bought in jugs and poured, and the jugs recycled with little fuss. I can, in fact, get by if we just have a flat with a kitchenette and enough dishes for ourselves! Less washing-up to do! Everyone can bring their own dishes when they come to dinner. That’s how it was once and I see no reason not to revive the custom. BYOFG (Bring Yer Own Feast Gear). Boom.

Yes, I need a fancy lightweight vacuum cleaner. I am a lightweight woman. No, I don’t need anything more complicated than a set of Swiffer broom and mop. Ah, hell, throw in one of those extendable dusters. But that’s *nothing*. That’s housewarming gifts.

I have a bed. I have a good mattress. I have bedding. You have bedding? Great! I have towels. You have towels? Great! Etc. If two people go to housekeeping together, they can easily minimize their belongings and hawk the rest on Ebay. You leave with what you came with, if you leave. You want to put that Ebay money away against disaster, you do you. I might buy a dresser with the proceeds of the sale of my extras. In fact, I might make sure I come into a live-in relationship with a dresser.

So often it’s the thought that counts. Knowing what someone actually wants, gift-wise, is so much smarter than accumulating all the money and proceeding to shower someone with crap they just can’t use — instead, of course, of what they really want! Say I ask for a particular piece of jewelry, explaining that it has meaning or simply that it looks nice. a) I’m not a high-end jewelry girl; I think the last piece I asked for was $75? b) The gesture is going to make me so pleased. Pleased as punch. I’ll show it off to all my friends, I’ll brag about how you listened and gave me something I would really enjoy. I haven’t met the woman who didn’t want a partner who listened, put it that way. We value being heard.

And it isn’t as if I’m a shiftless beast. I’ll do laundry, unless you want to do your own, in which case I will not remove agency from you. I’ll tidy the kitchen, and try to stay on top of it. I hope to be physically able to work part time, even if just from home. There could be a child of some kind what needs a bit of mothering. There’s no way to know now what the future holds.

I come as myself. I have got to stop apologizing for the person I am. But I feel so often as if society wants me to apologize anyway and devalue the things I do bring to the table. I have value. I am a person who can be loved and put to good use just as I am. I will love fiercely and, if it’s really love, probably love forever unless I am taught that I don’t have value. That I am not worthwhile. Then I’ll go back to my family, or into a lay sisterhood. Then you’ll wonder forever what you could have had if you’d only stopped to appreciate me.

I don’t intend to regret the next thirty years the way I’ve regretted quite a few of the first!


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