Men around town

Posted on April 9, 2013 by


(I wrote last week about a decaying carnival that I recently visited with my children, and today I’d like to elaborate on one aspect that actually gave me some hope for the future.)

I was surprised that most of the workers at the carnival were white and black American men in prime working age, all looking exhausted and slightly scruffy. I didn’t take any pictures of them to respect their privacy, as they didn’t really look like they wanted to be part of an attempt at photo-journalism.

It was a bit disheartening to see them working such low-skill jobs, but it was a definite service-upgrade from the female foreigners who barely spoke English or lazy teenagers that used to work there. The men were exceedingly polite and authoritative (the children all listened carefully when they gave instructions), spoke in clear English, and actually paid attention to what was going on — rather than standing around chatting the whole time or messing with their smartphones.

And then I realized that it’s not actually such a low-skilled job, I’d just become used to seeing people with low skills doing it. Sort of the way homemaking seems really simple, but the results of a good homemaker and an inept one are vastly different.

I’m seeing men everywhere now: grocery checkouts, post office counters, high schools, nursing, wait-staff and sales counters, etc., even nail salons. Men had nearly disappeared from public for a while, but they’ve become ubiquitous. That does seem to be a net-improvement, as boys will no longer spend their days in male-free spaces.

Posted in: Gender Dynamics