Tell a FriendLeigh AnneLeigh Anne Jasheway ~ Queen of Stress

Just Sit On It

It usually goes something like this: youíre browsing through a catalog and you spot a piece of furniture, maybe a great-looking sofa table. The price is reasonable and you can just see that table in your living room, so you whip out your credit card and have your finger poised above the toll-free number when you see those three little words that always make your pulse race -- "Some assembly required." You pause, momentarily, to catch your breath. But then you flex your bicep and say out loud, in case anyone is listening, "Hey, Iím a woman of the 90s. I have tools, hear me roar!" So, you order the table and spend the next 7-10 working days searching for your hammer and screwdriver, so youíll be ready when the UPS man arrives with the fourteen boxes that contain your purchase.

Itís funny how even the least handy woman can fool herself into thinking she can put together do-it-yourself furniture. My theory is that most of us think that we have to do it ourselves to prove once and for all that weíre equal to men. So, we muster the little testosterone we have, plug in our drills, and make like Rosie the Riveter. I donít think weíd feel this kind of pressure if catalogs sold do-it-yourself clothing. "Easy assembly. No button-holer required!" I donít know about you, but those catalogs would be in the recycle pile faster than you can say "Bobbin."

I must be really competitive because I have put together three different pieces of DIY furniture. I started off easy with a Mission end table (which my new puppy immediately decided to cut her new teeth on). Then I moved on to a small roll-top desk. This project took me two days and three bottles of Pepto Bismol. And then there was the armoire. It took over a week and itís still not officially finished, going by the number of pieces that I had left over. For weeks Iíd see convoluted assembly instructions every time I closed my eyes: "Wooden dowel nicely lives with glue."

Youíd think that by now I would have given up on do-it-yourself furniture, but no! A while back, I saw an add for bookcases, three for $49.50. Iím sorry, but Iíd have to be restrained in a straight jacket to resist that purchase. So I hopped over to the store, picked up the boxes and stacked them in the garage for a few months as I tried to summon the willpower to get started on the project. It didnít help that the box said, "Assembles in minutes." It didnít say how many minutes. Thatís the kind of trickery they use to suck you in.

But, when I finally bit the 3/8" screw and opened the boxes, I was delighted to find that there were NO TOOLS REQUIRED. This could only mean one thing: these bookcases were designed by women. No man would design anything that didnít require tools. At the very least, theyíll want to use a Salad Shooter on the thing. Not to mention that the wood dowels were labeled "A," "B," and "C." No 3/16", 5/8", and 7/16". So I didnít have to get out a ruler to see which screw went there. Men like to measure stuff.

But the clearest clue that the shelves were designed by women was the recurring instruction for getting the shelves together that said, "Sit on it." Thatís right, the only tool needed for the job was my backside. Now thatís a tool I always know where to find. And, unlike trying to use a hammer, itís almost impossible for me to miss whatever Iím trying to hit when using my backside.

Letís hear it for women furniture designers!

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