By Helena Rodriguez: Freelance columnist
Recently, I spotted a masculine-looking hombre at the store wearing a nice pair of ostrich-skin boots, a bulky belt buckle and a cowboy hat.
To complement his outfit, he was carrying a pink purse.
“Now, that’s a real man!” I thought to myself.
This hombre, of course, was holding the purse for his wife or better half, who was shopping nearby and who, I’m sure, asked him to briefly hold her purse. But I smiled and thought, “Real men are not afraid to carry purses!”
I’ve occasionally spotted my own father at Wal-Mart carrying or, I guess, holding my mom’s purse while she picks up her prescriptions. At my great-aunt’s funeral recently, my dad’s cousin asked her husband to hold her purse and he looked at us and commented about how it matched so well with his black suit.
I’ve spotted more than one or two men holding purses in public recently. Once I even spotted a man buying a women’s hygiene product and I have to say I admired him. Even we women get embarrassed buying them, and so we try to stuff our shopping carts with other items that we didn’t intend to purchase.
This got me started thinking about role reversals. How far are women willing to go for men they love? I wouldn’t object to holding a package of briefs or boxers for a member of the opposite sex while he shopped.
Of course, I’d object, though, if someone asked me to hold something like their “Playboy” magazine or watch a shopping cart full of whiskey.
Some women will go hunting or fishing and even ride tractors with their better halves. I can’t say, though, that I’ve heard of many women digging up the sewer line to see what’s backing up the plumbing or climbing the roof to reshingle. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
In thinking about role reversals, this reminded me of a couple I know who seem to have done just that. The husband takes on motherly duties while the wife likes to be the fix-it person.
About a year ago, I was in one of those hip, trendy teen fashion stores in the South Plains Mall in Lubbock. It was either Abercrombie, Hollister or American Eagle. What’s the difference? I’m sure my daughter Laura knows. But anyway, I suddenly spotted a familiar blonde-headed man and about the same time he recognized me.
He looked at me in surprise. “Helen?”
“Scott? Scott Jones?” And then we hugged. I had not seen him in three years, since we moved away from Hobbs.
As we started to catch up, a young girl, a few years older than Laura, came out of the dressing room and, standing in front of Scott, did a full-circle twirl, modeling a cute mini skirt and blouse. Scott nodded in approval,
“Looks nice!” And then the girl disappeared back into the fitting room.
After she disappeared, I inquired about his wife. “And Starla? Where’s Starla?”
“Oh,” Scott said without so much as a laugh. “She’s at Home Depot.”
I can’t remember exactly what he said she was doing there, but I do remember it had something to do with buying a new plumbing fixture — a sink or maybe a garbage disposal.
When he said this, I had to bite my lip hard to keep from laughing. It was normal life for them, with him taking the girls shopping for clothes at the mall while his wife went to the hardware store. He said she also fixes all the electrical things around the house.
I recalled how Starla liked to take charge of things. She was the star reporter at the newspaper where I had worked in the 1990s and she was also a very good mother. I also recall how she hated to wear makeup or dress up.
I think she once said the only time she wore a dress was on her wedding day, and even then, she really didn’t want to.
She enjoyed watching football, back-slapping with the guys and doing things around the house that men usually do.
I’m sure Starla never asked Scott to hold her purse. She doesn’t carry one.
I wonder if he ever carries her tool box?
Helena Rodriguez is a freelance columnist. She can be reached at: