Nancy Roman

Hetero-normative Week: Fire

About six weeks ago, I posted an essay, “The Conspiracy” – a theory that men pass down from father to son the key to getting out of housework.  Basically, just screw it up so bad that your wife will never ask you again.

It was a relatively popular post, and I got quite a few appreciative comments.  But I also got one comment that read, “How heteronormative.”  This comment also had a little smiley face.  I guess the smiley face was intended to take the edge off, but even when I don’t know what a word means, I’ve lived long enough to be able to sense a dig.

So I looked it up.  Heteronormative has two meanings.  The first is not very nice indeed.  It states that sexual and marital relations are only appropriate in the most traditional way – a man and a woman.  It is definitely anti-gay and often anti-interracial.

Well, my post may have been silly and stupid, but it certainly didn’t portray anything mean-spirited.  At least, I certainly hope not.

But I also found a more innocuous definition of heteronormative. It can simply mean engaging in gender stereotypes.

Oh, in that case, Yeah.  I do that.

Gee, just a few posts ago (“Not Quite Einstein“) I said that all Men think the Three Stooges are funny, and all Women think they are stupid.

If I didn’t engage in gender stereotyping, I’d be posting once a month, instead of four times a week.

So instead of removing that comment, or even writing a “defense of blog” reply, I have decided to take advantage of my newly found vocabulary word.

I am declaring this “Heteronormative Week” on NotQuiteOld. (but only in the second definition, of course.)

All my posts this week will wallow in gender stereotypes.  Men and Women ARE different, and mostly in ridiculous ways.

It won’t be all at the expense of the ridiculous side of Men.  I promise to post at least one essay demonstrating something at which Men show superiority.  (even if I have to make it up.)

So here’s my first entry in the Heteronormative Week Celebration.


This weekend we went to celebrate the end of the season at our friends’ campsite.  Hubby-Friend picked us up, since even NASA’s GPS couldn’t find this place.

When we got there, Wifey-Friend had a nice little campfire going.  A circle of large rocks with some good size logs inside making a decent flame. Pretty. Ready for some girl-scout-camp s’mores.

My Hubby and Hubby-Friend immediately set to work “fixing” the campfire. They dropped the tailgate of Hubby-Friend’s truck and proceeded to unload a half-cord of wood (which made me realize why the boys had spent so much time in our shed before we left.)

Well, they built a campfire all right.  We weren’t talking marshmallow-toasting anymore.  No.  This was more like what Tom Hanks built in “Castaway” so ships could see his flames two miles away.

We all had to move our chairs well back.  Our eyebrows were getting singed.

And when the fire got to its fullest expression of fire-dom, Hubby-Friend got out the lighter fluid.


You decide:

  Gender Stereotype?  


True, Scientifically Proven, Testosterone-Related Phenomenon?

Lag BaOmer bonfire

Image via Wikipedia


  1. pharphelonus

    I was at Cub Scouts camp a few times, as a dad and Den Leader. Whether we needed one or not – it was, after all, July in Virginia – we had a fire each night. At one point, after we got it going, but before it was established, one of the other leaders told theboys they could stop throwing little sticks on the fire, but told them to start looking for bigger sticks. As the boys headed off, he added:
    “because we want to throw little sticks on the fire.” So very true.


  2. bigsheepcommunications

    It might be a stereotype, but it’s absolutely true. Looking forward to what else you have in store for us this week!


  3. Always bigger and better!


  4. Snoring Dog Studio

    I’m going to enjoy these upcoming posts tremendously. You’ve already warned the humorless readers out there what your intent is, so perhaps they’ll go somewhere else and be cranky. Of course, there’s hurtful, inappropriate gender-based humor, but I think you know where to draw the line.

    I know a bunch of guys who go on a yearly camping trip just so they can be alone to blow things up with potato guns and burn things up with all sorts of flammable substances. Frankly, I’d pay them to be allowed to go along just once! It would be a blast! (No pun intended.)


  5. Life would be pretty humorless if we every exaggerated stereotype was off limits.


  6. We men are destroyers. One of my favorite things to do as a child was burn ants with a magnifying glass, it was like magic. If I didn’t get the spanking of my life when I tried to set the curtains on fire with it, I would have turned into a pyro.


    • Yup. That’s what I thought. It’s a universal male thing.


  7. Sure true in my experience and I’ve got pictures to prove it, LMAO. Have fun. Smiles


  8. Great post Nancy. But here’s my question (and it is NOT a dig!). Why don’t you take pictures to go with these kinds of posts? I want to SEE hubby-man and his great big fire… not Wikipedia’s great big fire. Just a thought.


    • Good point. I did take a couple of pictures, but they were before the fire got really enormous. Didn’t do it justice. I didn’t get any pictures of the really big fire – mostly because I was hiding.


  9. That’s a campfire? Well, from my female-normative perspective, it looks more like a barn-burning. I’ve noticed that bigger seems better (male-appendage thing, extended to everything else? If you really look at your post image, the fire IS sort of phallic!) How many times have you heard a guy say, “Awesome! That’s HUGE!!!; now, how many times have you heard a guy say, “Awesome! That’s TINY!!!

    Good post. I look forward to this week’s blogs from you on heteronormative stuff! 🙂


  10. I think this is a marvelous way of embracing your new vocabulary word! Speaking of words…if this post were written by your husband, would it have just said, “Me like fire”? (Now who’s being heteronormative? 😉


    • Close. He would have said, “Fuck! Me like fire!”


  11. Pyromania is definitely a true, scientifically proven, testosterone-related phenomenon. Absolutely.

    Are you sure your husband and my husband aren’t brothers? ‘Cause one night the neighbours were so worried, they called the fire department to our backyard barbeque. Sadly, I’m not making this up.


    • Men are all brothers after all. They don’t come in too many varieties.
      And I think you’d be a fun sister-in-law!


  12. First of all, it always amaes me that people take the time to claim they have been offended by someone else’s writing in the blogosphere! Why on earth would you want to take the time to cry “foul” – especially at someone who has never before committed such a “grievous” offense – such as using definition 2 instead of definition 1. Oh well – it takes all kinds! I for one knew exactly what you meant, But I suppose that there are many hackles that rise at the very mention of the word “hetero.”

    Anyway, MEN! You are correct, my dear. I am definitely a Venutian, and Hubs is most often from Mars, although there are days I could swear he was from somewhere well beyond Uranus. . . Perhaps he just jumps out of our solar system and wanders around with poor once-a-planet Pluto.

    Anyway, I await your posts in re “heteronormative.” Isn’t that a rather female-ish heteronormative thing to say?


    • Well, I never even used the word, even incorrectly. My commentor brought it up first; said my post was heteronormative – and I guess it was – but only in the second definition sense that I laugh at the silly stuff I see men do. Of course, I make fun of my own ridiculousness and vanity all the time too.


  13. Christine Cooper

    Several years ago my MALE neighbors and their MALE dependents sat nightly around THE BIG FIRE in their small yard at midnight, in autumn, when the leaves on the trees were very dry, and our houses are all close together – the fire department came – at least twice – and I wasn’t the one who called them.


  14. I think it’s going to be an interesting week here on your blog!


  15. The thing with stereotypes is that most of them are based on real, observed behaviour. Only an idiot thinks that men and women are the same, and not just in the physically obvious.

    Heteronormative Pyromania and Testosterone Related Phenomenon sounds like a doctoral thesis.


  16. It’s soooo a man thing! We have a fireplace in our bedroom, and I know my husband is in the mood for hanky panky when he makes a fire right before bedtime for atmospheric effect. Unfortunately, his fire is so damn big that it makes the room about 90 degrees and I have to leave or asphyxiate.


  17. How postneanderthal-normative 🙂

    I don’t get negative comments on my blog, people just drop their subscriptions. Typically happens after a religion or politics post although someone dropped after I wrote about the skark nonsense on the Today show. Must have been too homosapien-normative.

    Just want to say I love your writing.


  18. Men are all absolutely alike — they just screw on different heads.


  19. So so funny. I have SEVEN brothers so I can relate!!!


  20. What a great anti-apology. I love your blog and love the way you are replying to the comment.


  21. I would say the “Y” chromosome is definitely at work here. Stereotypes don’t pop up out of nowhere – there is usually a basis for them – especially the gender related ones 😉
    I look forward to the rest of Heteronormative Week!


  22. Call it what you may, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Very entertaining.


  23. Delightful! Smart and sassy–just my kind of post. One of my favorite lines is: “Men like to cook only when there’s danger and fire involved.” (And I’m a sociologist who taught gender studies for years.) So sue me… 😉


  24. This is soooo funny. So glad you can write unhinged and unsinged! hahahaha…soooo true! This will take me into the weekend chuckling. I know, I’m late…but so glad I caught this one.


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