I know, it sounds like the title of a fourth-rate horror film. Here's the story.
Tonight, my family went to clean the church building for Family Home Evening. The elderly gentleman in charge took one look at me and said, "I've got just the job for you, young lady." Oh, dear. I knew what it was before he even headed for the broom cupboard. As he handed me the broom, three distinct sides of myself immediately had something to say.
1. The girly-girl was delighted by the same Cinderella fantasy which allowed a five-year-old Kat to happily mop floors on her hands and knees, but never with a stick mop.
2. The history nerd gloried in the fact that the broom was old enough to have been made not just with yellow bristles but with actual broom corn. And noted that it had been stored the traditional English way, rather than the French.
3. The feminist threw back her head and howled. Because when a man your grandpa's age or older gives you that look, it means they're seeing you in frilly apron and heels, smilingly doing housework a la their mother's Lady's Magazine. The "little wife" of Beauty and the Beast fame. Noooooooooo! I mean, to that age group, I suppose any of tonight's activities would be considered the female's domain, but why, why is it always sweeping? Are these men aware that the making of brooms, at least was entirely a man's job for hundreds of years? Well, no. I suppose nobody but me and Colonial Kid are aware of that. Still. It's beyond frustrating that these archaic stereotypes are still around. His quick assignment almost made me want to do a bad job, just to frustrate his mental image. But then I took pity on the poor man. None of this was actually his fault, and he had no idea I was fuming at life's unfairness as I swept. So instead, in the interest of giving a good name to women's work ethics, the feminist made the walks cleaner than they had probably ever been. The feminist was then completely mollified when, returning the broom, said elderly gentleman asked how it had been. About to reply with a brisk, "The sidewalks are very clean now," she was startled when the man cut across her with, "I find it drags to the left a bit, and it doesn't accelerate as well as it used to. But then, it's a very old broom."