Is Lawn A Reflection of Manhood?

From time to time our doorbell rings as it probably does for most people, and 95% of the time it's someone trying to sell me something I don't need. Saturday this happened again.

First off, with Misaki things have changed quite a bit when the bell rings. With Ruby she would bark like crazy - and her barks shook the house - so we'd have to hustle her outside before answering the door. Then she would be on edge for about an hour or longer, yipping at the smallest little thing that normally wouldn't bother her. Why yes, this was extremely annoying - thanks for asking!

But with Misaki, she'll just let out one little bark or two and that's it. There are no lingering yips and the only thing I have to worry about is her darting between my legs through the open door. Saturday she let out a surprised yip when the doorbell rang and then she raced upstairs to let out one full-on bark (which, no, does not shake the house). I think she's convinced sometimes people come in through the attic; not sure if I should find this cute or worrisome. It's cute because it's not true, but it could be worrisome if, well, it is true.

Anyway, I open the front door and it's a man from Scott's Lawn Service. He is completely confident in his pitch to me, assured I will take him up on it.

And why is that?

Well, honestly, our lawn is nothing special at all. It has patches of dead grass, weeds, all the fun stuff. I've tried to care in the past and I just can't maintain the excitement over working towards a putting green quality lawn. What's the point? The only time I ever step on it is to mow it anyway.

So the man (let's call him - oh, I don't know - Scott) makes his pitch, and the conversation went something like this (these are not exact quotes - I didn't record it):

Scott (thrusting a pamphlet in my hand): I'd like to talk to you about our very affordable lawn maintenance program. It's only a few dollars a month. I'm sure you've seen our trucks in your neighborhood.

Me (trying to hold Misaki back with my feet): Um, no, I haven't.

Scott (surprised): No?

Me: Uh-uh.

This part killed me. It's funny he should assume I have seen his trucks, when those trucks typically are out working during normal work hours. Those are the same hours most people are, well, at work. I wanted to point this out to him, but decided I'd rather keep this short.

Scott: Oh, well, we are all over. It's very affordable and I was wondering if I could have a few minutes of your time to talk about your lawn. (At this point he gestures towards my lawn filled with dandelions and in need of a mow.)

Me: I'm not interested.

Scott (surprised again): No? Are you thinking you'll just mow it and water it a bit this year?

Me: Pretty much. (I didn't say the watering part might actually be a stretch. I do mow it though.)

Scott: Well, okay then. If you change your mind, give us a call.

Me: Okay, bye.

And I closed the door. Now, before I closed it I got a good look at his face as he turned away. Oh my, did I see contempt? Have I been watching too much Lie to Me?

This slays me. At some point having a golf course quality lawn apparently became some kind of male measuring stick. If your lawn is green and lush it's apparently an indicator you are a strong man, one who can master his own corner of nature.

That's all well and good for some people. As far as manly indicators it's probably better than beating your kids and having the ability to shotgun 17 beers without throwing up.

But what people never seem to realize - and this isn't just with regard to "Scott" and the lawn - is that even if that thing is important to you, if you think that's a manly indicator, it doesn't mean I do.

I'm not saying I'm above it - that would be an outright lie - but I am saying the lawn thing I just don't understand. It's grass, who the hell cares? My lawn is just more natural, I suppose. Nah, I shouldn't even say that, because that would indicate I care enough in that direction.

No, for me, all I care about with my front lawn is I keep the weeds cut so they don't spread anymore than they do already when the seeds blow.

Is a man's lawn and the care he puts into it really a reflection of manhood? Or is it, instead, one (or more than one's) idea of manhood, and that has been then applied to all men? Watch a Scott's commercial and you'll see what I mean - a green lawn is right up there with bench pressing your own body weight now.

And what's my answer to all this? Shrug. I have other things I'd rather be doing.

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