I don't do great with bros. I don't know if it's a life time of always being one of the few, if not the only, woman in a room, but as I slide into middle age, I just... My tolerance for the broham life is low.
To back up though, one day my husband and I decided to make elk jerky. And it's important to note here that I am a notorious softie for animals. I went through a phase when I was a kid where I wouldn't kill bugs because they too deserved to live, but yet, I would snap up a piece of crispy bacon at any hour of the day.
As I got older, I realized I either needed to learn how to hunt or become a vegetarian, because existing in the middle created a hypocritical space that I found personally unsettling. As in, I was okay with buying and eating feed lot bacon, but I wouldn't kill a mosquito? What flawed logic castle had I ensconced myself in?
I realized, I was a part of a system that killed things, but thanks to the conveniences of modern life, I didn't have to see it or actually feel it. So I learned how to hunt, and every time I am successful, I get real emotional.
But that's not the story. Back to the elk jerky situation. My husband successfully hunted an elk last fall, so we have a lot of elk, including ground elk. We thawed some of the ground elk, marinated it with a jerky kit, and after some research, my husband decided we needed to go to the store and get a jerky gun.
A jerky gun is basically a caulk gun with a flat nozzle. You put the raw meat in it and squeeze the soon-to-be-jerky directly onto your dehydrating tray. From all my husband's research, this seemed like the best way to get a consistent product. We could roll the elk between parchment paper and then cut it, but this would cause a variation in thickness, thereby possibly resulting in either over-crispified elk or under cooked jerky.
While the elk was marinating, we decided to go to a sportsman's store. I won't tell you which one, but it's a big chain, and I kind of hate all of the dudes who work there because the gender roles are so solidified in their heads, it's probably as close to time traveling to the 1950's as I'll ever get.
So, we reach the store and go in and my husband immediately goes to the bathroom. I walk up to the customer service counter and ask the guy, an old, fat, white man, "Where are your jerky guns?"
He blinks at me. "You want to buy a gun?"
And the thing is, I have guns for hunting. But I certainly don't want to have to talk to one of these guys about buying a gun. The only time I'm willing to get mansplained is when I'm at work getting paid, and even then I'm not happy about it. Usually though, while being mansplained at work, I like to calculate how much I'm making by the minute to pretend to listen to said mansplainer. But, I wasn't at work, and I certainly wasn't going to spend my free time shopping for guns when I knew it would entail me getting mansplained.
"No. A jerky gun. I want to make jerky."
Like meat? No, actual meat.
After a moment he tells me to go past the slicers by footwear and look there.
I immediately walk there knowing, because we were in this gender defining store, my husband was not going to ask for directions, and I would try to call him, but he wasn't going to answer, and instead he was going wander around for at least ten minutes before coming over to the slicers and jerky guns.
Which is exactly what happens.
But while this is happening, I find the jerky gun, actually labeled as a jerky pistol, and while waiting for my husband to not answer his phone and wander by, I find a nice hat that kind of has a Hemingway on the beach vibe, and decide Hemingway would approve of a jerky pistol, so I was not only getting a jerky pistol, but also a new hat.
Eventually my husband comes over. We agree on the low end jerky pistol, and my husband says he wants to look at the guns.
But, since we are in this store and gender roles are so important, they have situated the guns right next to the women's clothing, which is helpful because as a woman I can easily look at all the ways you can make pink camo blend in with more pink camo while my husband browses the bullets and bang sticks.
Despite this, we go to the gun section, and a skinny bro with one of those smiles that implies he is smarter than you, except you look at his facial hair and know that's not the truth, slithers up to my husband and asks what kind of gun he's looking for.
Now, my husband also hates sales people, but I am having an allergic reaction to the fact the man isn't even considering my existence, and I bail back into women's clothing, wind my way through ammo and end up by the shotguns, where my husband reunites with me.
I ask him, now that he has ditched the salesman with the limp mustache, "Do you think they have women's shotguns?"
And my husband says, "They probably can show you the youth section."
And then thing is, he knew this would result in the end of our trip. Suggesting that I either try a youth size or a unisex size is always the end of the party, and we walk to the front of the store to pay for our jerky pistol and Hemingway hat.
Our check out guy, a soft kid of maybe nineteen, looks at the jerky pistol and says, "Nice chaulk gun. It's very important you pronounce the H in chualk. Or things can get confusing."
Aaaand, my trip to this insufferable store has ended with a nineteen-year-old dough boy making a joke about cocks.