He’s Handy! Carpenters & Their Big Sexy Tools


You see two scruffy dudes.  I see guys who know what to do with a drill.

You see two scruffy dudes. I see guys who know what to do with a drill.

I love my husband and so do other women.  Even our lesbian neighbors across the street light up when his name is invoked.  Is it his height, his his flowing locks, his worldly sophistication? No, for he has none of these.  His wit, intelligence, charm and his abilities as an excellent provider? No–Instead they marvel over our new raised bed or custom build closet shelves.  “He’s handy!” they gush.

Face it, everybody loves a carpenter guy.

Clean Sweep Guy--a genius with plywood.

Clean Sweep Guy–a genius with plywood.

It’s true.  I live with a guy who knows what to do with a drill.  Mentally I give thanks whenever DH aims himself at a problem, tools in hand and says, “don’t worry about it.” This is the man for whom–as Jimmy Carter would say–“I have lust in my heart.”

Was it back when Clean Sweep started that our cultural reverence for the handyman carpenter dude started? I sat through an entire commercial break for Cupcake Wars trying to remember.

Then the commercial for Carter Oosterhouse came on.  Built like a hot hockey player, Carter can fix things just by smiling at them.   The Clean Sweep guy was a genius with a two by four, some plywood and paint, but Carter can make a project perfect just by taking his shirt off and thinking wholesome thoughts.

The Cupcake Wars dudes aren’t bad either.  Twins in plaid, they make your fantasy cupcake display dreams come true.

Cable guy--man of our dreams.  Not!

Cable guy–man of our dreams. Not!

We don’t seem to have the same kind of reverence for other kinds of delivery men.  I don’t know what it was about milk men of yore that had women so hot and bothered, but he has not been replaced by the mail man, the cable guy, or the dude who comes and mows the lawn.  (At our house that happens to be DH too.  While the women on our street never chased after him while he mowed the lawn, once time our neighbor’s overly affectionate pet turkey did.)

So what’s extra special about carpenters?  I’m not sure, but when my husband was a carpenter for a while, I learned a few things about them.

A) Measure Twice, Cut Once.  It turns out that there’s a lot of precision that goes into carpentry.  The devil’s in the details, DH likes to say.  I lick my lips thinking over these words and imagine running my hands over his taut abs under that tool belt.  Perhaps it’s the display of absolute competence that thrills ladies to the core.

Carter the carpenter.

Carter the carpenter.

B) Carpenters Are All Over Educated.  My husband after going to grad school worked for as a finish carpenter.  No one working for the contractor had less than a master’s degree and a few had Ph.D’s.  Even the painter had an advanced degree.  Carpentry is one of the few manual labor jobs in America that tends to garner as much respect as being a ‘professional.’  Why? See ‘A’ above.

C) Carpenters Are Conscientious and Patient.  It’s the nature of the beast in their job.  They have to keep track of everything–there is are all kinds of little things that have to be done at the right time and in the right order for projects to work out right.  Meanwhile, most people have a hard time visualizing changes to a space in advance.  Then there’s trying to imagine what the trim and knobs will look like when the cupboards are complete, and the floor is in. You think people can visualize this in advance and pick out exactly what they want? Fuhgettaboutit.  So Carpenters are used to people changing their minds. They are patient and understanding, remain

Oosterhouse--pant. pant.

Oosterhouse–pant. pant.

flexible and are willing to do something over from scratch.  (Of course they put the hurt on you for all this when you get the bill, but that’s a different story.)

Ultimately, the fantasy about having your own carpenter guy is the dream of having control over your home, and not letting strangers come in, rip it apart, and leave it that way for as long as they like.  I’m living that fantasy people, and I (mentally) fall to my knees thanking the good lord every day for it.

On Cupcake Wars some finalist will ask one of the carpenter guys to build her  a twelve foot high replica of Mt.Rushmore from recycled materials with the words “All We Want Is Peace” spelled out in fairy lights and native plants across the bottom of the rotating display.  In an hour.  The carpenter dude usually takes a second to give her a kind of “really?” look and then he says ‘okay’ and makes it happen.

Love you, handy man.

Love you, handy man.

That is the number one reason why we love carpenter guys.

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19 Comments

  • Lucy Lit
    May 20, 2013 at 8:20 am

    I am so-o-o-o with you on this one! I call my resident carpenter ‘garage guy’ and he comes to the rescue more times than I can count. What is it about a man with a tool belt, and a saw, and a tape measure? *pant pant* Nice to know that others appreciate the brain behind the *ahem* brawn.

  • madelineiva
    May 20, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Yes Lucy– it’s all about the brain, totally! ;>

  • Liv Rancourt
    May 20, 2013 at 9:57 am

    My husband’s nickname is McGuiver…he can fix anything – and like yours, he’s got a degree in English but works as a carpenter. Unlike yours, though, it can be hard to get on his schedule to get stuff done around here!
    😉
    Nice post…

    • madelineiva
      May 20, 2013 at 4:39 pm

      Hi Liv! I talked with a friend about this, actually. I can get my husband to do projects around the house much more easily than I can get him to do projects in the yard. But a friend of mine always seemed to be getting her DH to do these big yard projects, and I asked her what her secret was. “Big, exciting new tools,” she said. Pick a project that requires a new tool — he’ll get excited, and then he wants to start the new project so he can try out the new tool. Ya!

      • livrancourt
        May 20, 2013 at 5:00 pm

        I’m SO going to try that!
        😉

      • Sofie Couch
        May 21, 2013 at 7:30 am

        Brilliant! I’m in on the “game”. I’ll try it next week. (I see a chainsaw in our future.)

  • Elizabeth Shore
    May 20, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Fun post, Madeline. I have to say, I’d add the Canadian guy on Income Property, Scott McGillivray to your carpenter list. He’s cute, and what he does with those basements! 🙂

    • madelineiva
      May 20, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      Ah! I haven’t heard of him– will have to check it out. 🙂

  • Misty Dietz
    May 20, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Crazy that you’re writing about this because a few days ago I started working on an article about the appeal of men who work with their hands. And I started a lively and heated (in a good way!) discussion about this on FB. Believe me, WE ARE NOT ALONE in “appreciating” MacGyvers. 😉

    • madelineiva
      May 20, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      That is soooo funny — Haven’t we had this crazy mind-sync happen before Misty? I swear Lady Smut runs in your veins. You ever want to join another group blog you let me know!

  • ellaquinnauthor
    May 20, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Interesting, I’d heard that a lot of carpenters had degrees. My husband is very hand to have around the house, but he’s not a carpenter. Maybe it’s because he didn’t finish college. Fun post. I tweeted.

    • madelineiva
      May 20, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      I was wondering if you get out there and do stuff yourself, Ella. You’ve got that totally can-do spirit going on. I LOVED helping out with projects. It felt so bad-ass. 🙂

      • ellaquinnauthor
        May 28, 2013 at 11:36 am

        I do some stuff. When I was younger, I did more.

        • madelineiva
          May 28, 2013 at 2:03 pm

          I was up on our roof last fall. Beautiful views, but my hands hurt from using the nail gun all day. Though boy did I feel bad ass.

  • Sofie Couch
    May 20, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    Fun article! I’ve often thought it was a no-brainer re: the hunkier of the two – the guy who has the credentials to preach from the pulpit or the guy who built the cathedral in the first place. Give me the cathedral builder any day, (although I won’t complain if he has a brain too.)

    • madelineiva
      May 20, 2013 at 8:05 pm

      Let us not forget the influence of the plaid flannel shirt. I LOVE a plaid flannel shirt on a guy. I wonder if there was a mediaeval version of the pfs?

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