Cave Life

Elizabeth Peters once wrote that there was something about a pair of hairy legs next to you in bed, even if they were attached to someone completely useless.

Last week there was a discussion between myself, another woman, and a couple guys in uniform, about why so many women like men in uniforms. The person I was with said it was because the men represented safety, someone who knew what to do in an emergency and could take care of you when zombies attacked. I said it was because I coveted their guns.

Another woman, a while back, told me she thought my husband was ‘hot’ because he looked like the type who would know what to do when ‘the world went to shit’.

All of this has made me think about something other than writing. Such as:

Hey, I know what to do when the world goes to shit. I know what to do in an emergency. I might be terrified, but I know what to do. In most emergencies. I admit to not knowing how to replace a transmission in a car.

The kid.

The kid.

But hey, I got ‘Firefighter of the Year’ once. My pantry is stocked. I can bake bread. I know how to shoot. I may not be able to hit much, but that’s why I have a shotgun.

But if I’m honest, I do feel safer when Art is around. More secure. I do trust him completely to hold it all together. He told me once on a fire I was nervous about, that I was his highest priority. I asked him how he’d tell me apart from everyone else in bunker gear. His response – he’d look for the shortest firefighter.

I am not someone who believes women are helpless little women, and I dislike it when women think that. One of the stupidest things I heard a woman say, during a boat fire at Disneyland, was ‘I don’t know what to do, I’m a woman!’. Seriously. She said that. While the boat’s engine belched smoke and the boat was full of children. While she was the tour guide responsible for those children that she ran right by to get to the far end of the boat. My husband put the fire out.

So if I feel self-sufficient and capable, why is there still that tiny piece of me that wants the scruffy guy to save the day? I mean, I don’t even read romance novels. And obviously there are a lot of women who think the same way, even if we are ashamed to admit it. Look at the post-apocalyptic movies out there. How many have women saving the world? I wish there were a few more.

Is it some sort of inherited genetic programming from cave-man days when reliance on the hunter meant survival? I’ve read that the male who could guarantee survival of offspring was the preferred one.

Is it that women are not as independent as we think we are? I refuse to admit that. Not only because I don’t think it’s true, and for reasons above, but also because there are plenty of guys out there who wouldn’t have a clue how to fish.

I don’t get it. I can stand on my own two feet, but admit to admiring a man in a uniform. Heck, I’ll admit publicly to admiring scruffy men no matter what they’re wearing. Just like I admire a nice looking truck when it goes by.

Seriously though, I wonder what the reason is. My personal opinion is that this has nothing to do with gender or uniforms. I think it has to do with companionship, a sharing of responsibility, a person to take away our fear and tell us it’s all going to be okay. A deep-seated desire to not face life alone.

What are your thoughts?

Or maybe the dog saves the day...

Or maybe the dog saves the day…

6 thoughts on “Cave Life

  1. I hear you on this. I was raised with particular gender expectations. I do love romance novels, but only certain ones. I’m not helpless, but there are many skills I don’t have that would definitely render me so if I had to survive in the wild (or post-apocalypse). I don’t like men in uniform, though; I distrust the power and authority they represent. On the other hand, I like men in well-fitted suits — so clearly it’s just that I prefer my power and authority displayed differently than these other uniforms.

    “I think it has to do with companionship, a sharing of responsibility, a person to take away our fear and tell us it’s all going to be okay. A deep-seated desire to not face life alone.” Yes yes yes. This is why I do feel safer with Erik around, even though I’m more thickly built than he is, more quick-reacting in many situations, and generally more willing to speak to strangers. It’s about two being more of a force than one. I have female friends who give me that same sense of camaraderie + backup.


    • ‘Two being more of a force than one.’ That’s it exactly. Not so much to watch our backs, but to stand beside us. Or to carry the heavy load! And I, too, have female friends who give that same sense of back up. In particular my friend Sabrina – a very strong woman, a nurse, a wild forager, and fearless about heading out alone into the back country. She’s probably worth a hundred men in uniforms!


  2. I agree with you on the last part, to have someone to face the danger together with and not alone. But then I do not have a guy in my life and I know I would be okay to survive to a certain point. There are other things for me though. In general men are physically stronger then women as a fact. I know I could do a lot more things when in danger and there are always exceptions to the rule, but in general its just like that. So it is at a certain point that we do need more strength and men usually are the typical picture for that. Men in uniform are mainly police, soldiers and firemen, which as a group are supposed to be strong and fit and healthy and smart too. So they represent power, physical and mentally. They are trained to help, save and protect under difficult circumstances and in threatening situations. To me the uniform shows all that and its something that I am attracted to. I trust them to keep me safe when I am done with my strong part. I know they will be better equipped and physically stronger than me, even if I dont need help just because I am a women. So to circle back to the beginning. I would want them on my team and as backup to not face danger alone. Natural selection, survival of the fittest, with or without the sexual part… 😉
    And to add to my former commentator, I personally do trust police more then suits and I know its because we have a different background. I connect suits with politics, false information and misuse of power. I do not trust a nice groomed men in a suit as I would a uniformed one. To me its a costume and show they put on, or thats what it represents to me.


    • Jenni, I get that with the suits too. I guess it’s particular men in suits who appeal to me, but I haven’t bothered to parse out which types read to me as attractive and which as untrustworthy.


      • This is an interesting twist you and Jenni have brought up. I’d never thought of suits as uniforms but they are much the same way as makeup becomes a uniform for women. There is a difference in suits – some I like and some I don’t trust, and I’m not sure I can put my finger on why. I loved the suits that men wore in my grandfather’s generation, with the fedora tilted just so. But back then they wore suits easily, casually, as every day wear, and so it looked more natural. Now I like to see a man dressed up for a special event, but if a guy came by my place of work in the middle of the day, wearing a suit, have to admit my hackles would go up. So maybe it’s the environment the man is wearing a suit in? The context? And maybe also the type of suit. Art looks pretty sharp in a kilt and formal ‘tuxedo’ style jacket with silver buttons that goes with formal kilt wear!


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