The Iron Rule

samprules2

Started a new set of prompts – I love lists of things – this one will prove to be endlessly productive for another couple of years – 227 Rules For Monks. These are from the 30 nissaggiyas: 4 Not to have a robe washed or dyed by a bhikkhunī who is not a relative. (A bhikkhunī or bhikṣuṇī is a fully ordained female monastic in Buddhism.)

The Iron Rule

other than

shirts to the dry cleaners

no one has done my laundry

since I was old enough

to sort whites from coloureds

this I taught myself

one of those abilities

I never learned in school

or even at my mother’s side

I know how to sort

how to fold

but I’ve never figured out

how to iron

something my sisters learned

in home ec

all those things taught by gender

in my Cape Breton high-school days

typing and cooking for girls

hammering and cars for boys

but my sisters never ironed for me

they never cooked for me either

I figured out how to cook on my own

so I never based a relationship

on someone doing my cooking and laundry

like so many guys I know

I still have nightmares

about shop – manual training

where I did figure out how to use a hammer

a handsaw even a power drill

but the jig-saw

the rotary saw

filled me with dread

I couldn’t hold the wood down

out of that fear

of losing a finger

mocked by the shop teach

I couldn’t even bother

trying to clamp down the coffee table top

to get the C+ I needed to pass

I failed at being a man

one of the many failures

that piled on my queer shoulders

as I plodded my way through high-school

wishing I could learn to use a sewing machine

not a drill press

in fact all I learned in high school

was how to avoid confrontation

but ignoring the taunts

from other kids

from teachers

so I thank them

knowing how to do laundry

and blame them

for not knowing how to iron a shirt

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