DIY Hopefuls

I know I might be being a bit presumptuous, but generally we all fall under one of two umbrella groups; men and women. I mean, statistically, 99% of us are going to be one or the other. And as a man, one of the jobs befalling my half of the human race is to do DIY.

At this point, I should point out that I thought carefully about my choice of words in that last sentence having originally typed ‘…is to be good at DIY’. I’m sorry, but generally us male-folk are not as a rule ‘good’ at DIY. ‘Lucky’ perhaps. But unless we’re approaching our 75th birthday, live on a diet of spam and Wurthers Originals, and have 2 grandsons, we’re not likely to be consistently ‘good’.

Think about it fellow men. It’s Saturday morning, and there’s something to fix. You’ve got to go to B&Q – you don’t want to do you? You wander around the shop with that swagger every man gets in there, which means they pretend that they don’t spend all week talking about Php, or MySQL, or the statistical quotents, or hot-desking, but that they’re one of the builders. The only thing is, it’s Saturday: There are no builders in B&Q, they’re all in the holiday homes on the Isle of Man they bought with the profits from last year’s call-out fees. Everyone in B&Q on Saturday is a DIY hopeful. Even the staff.

I say this, because the other day I found myself on a Sunday afternoon holding a toilet cistern above my head with my nose unusually close to a functional end of a toilet. Normally for this to happen there would have been some pleasurably event beforehand, over-indulgent eating or drinking. But no, here I am trying to fit some piece of foam which looks suspiciously like a cupholder from the 1980s between some pipework, to stop the filly thing from the toilet doohangle filling all the time.

You could tell the dice weren’t rolling in my favour because exactly 24 hours later I’m standing at the bathroom door whilst a plumber has his head down the works end of the toilet, and it using a special tool to fit the cupholder to my toilet, and he’s even managed to disconnect the pipes so he doesn’t have to hold the cistern over his head or anything.

I’d spent all day working out what to tell him. Clearly, being a male DIY hopeful, this was not going to be the truth. I’d concocted a clever tale of how I’d severed my arm halfway through the job, spent 20 hours in surgery throughout the night and the consultants had told me I must on no account hold a toilet cistern hence I’d needed to call him, but I thought he might want to see the stitches. I considered telling him we’d been burgled, but I didn’t have enough time to hide the TV and valuables before he arrived. I even considered hiring an actor to take a few pictures of beside my toilet in overalls, and show them to the plumber going, ‘look! this clown did this’.

In the end, he arrived before I did and Sarah had let him in. She’d told him we’d got stuck and so had called him.

The thing is, at this point my entire faith in the men was restored. The plumber turned to me and said, ‘the thing is, you did a really good job of changing the mechanism. I only need to do a small bit of work down here’.

So there you are. A plumber humouring a DIY hopeful before all sense of his masculinity is lost. He didn’t need to say it. He could have laughed. He could have asked further questions. But he didn’t. He complemented by DIY skills luck. If only I could believe it was an act of man-to-man kindness. But I suspect it was because I’d just paid for his new kitchen at his holiday pad in Douglas.

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