I'm afraid it's the time of year when you won't get real posts (is there ever a time when you do?). Instead you'll get fragment posts, half-formed thoughts that are rustling around in my head.
I have never been a singlehanded sailor. I like sharing the experience with one or two other people. Growing up I had a hand-me-down Laser. I sailed it when I was a teenager. It was fun. It was a little too big for me, and this was back in the D-A-Y before the new rigging for the boom vang and cunningham and outhaul. So it was always a bit of a pain in the butt to rig the Laser, and when I was sailing it it was a long stretch and required tugging a little too hard to make any adjustments. I always felt a little bit weak, and a little bit short, and a little bit light, to be sailing the boat. Whatever, I was 14 or 15. It was more of a guys' boat anyway, especially in the breeze. And when I moved on to college I got into two-person dinghies again and I liked those.
But partway through college I tried sailing a Europe dinghy. A Laser is really an ideal boat for someone who weighs 165-170, and is 6 foot 1 or 6 foot 2. A Europe dinghy is made for someone who's about 5'6, weighing 135 or 140. It was remarkable to get on the Europe and discover how it feels to be in a boat that fits. The controls were right within reach, and I could pull them without fighting. The hull responded to my body movements. It felt like a little pony. It was an entirely different sensation to being on a Laser. It felt like it fit me. It was exciting.
Maybe I would like singlehanded sailing if I sailed Europes. (I won't, though, because without the Olympic designation I don't think it will flourish here as a class.) I've never sailed a Laser Radial but because it uses the standard Laser hull I am not optimistic that it would feel as comfortable and responsive and light for me as a Europe did. I wonder if it's good or bad for women's sailing that the singlehanded Olympic boat is the Radial. Probably good, on balance, although I have mixed opinions.
Anyway. I thought about all of this when I was working on my bathroom. The tools feel like they're built for men, the way the Laser is. The drill is just a little bit too big for my hand -- not so much that I can't use it, but enough that I get tired of holding it. I feel clumsy, and uncomfortable. Things are a little bit too heavy, a little bit too big, a little bit off. I thought about how that contributes to an insidious feeling I have that home repair, working with tools, is Not For Me. I was driving today and passed a handyman truck. The handyman service is called "Rent-A-Husband." There's a pervasive gender thing about doing home repair that gets in my way, just like the tools that don't quite fit. Chivalry's not dead. It's at the dump, and Home Depot. Men who know how to do things seem pleased to help women (well, me) who don't. It's all part of this tapestry that makes me feel a little bit off, clumsy, like I'm in a world where I don't belong. I liked learning how to rip apart my walls and use my drill. I feel proud of myself. I'm looking forward to borrowing an orbital sander and prepping my walls, painting them, and then maybe ripping up the linoleum. It feels like learning to sail my old Laser did, something satisfying, and fun, that I could do alongside the boys. But what I want to find is something like a Europe dinghy for tools. I would like tools that fit my hands, and that are comfortable to hold. I would like to be able to shop at the store without feeling like a stranger in a strange land, like an outcast woman who has no husband to take care of her.