The House Situation

I have a lot of thoughts about the house situation.  Most of them have not quite risen to the surface in any kind of coherent manner.  The thing I keep thinking about is how many of the houses we’ve seen are just god-awful pieces of shit.  Not okay houses in sketchy neighborhoods.  Not even great houses in bad neighborhoods.  Though we’ve seen a few of those, too.

It’s just that I thought that, if we saw, say, 100 houses (Kathy and I think we’ve seen about 60) in my price range, 25-30 would be horrific jokes or houses that would be worth a lot more if you had money to rehab them (so horrific, but maybe not jokes) and say 50-60 would be perfectly fine but just not my thing or clearly not in places I wanted to live or with not quite the size or the amenities I wanted, but houses that you could see working for someone, if not me.  And there would be, I don’t know 20 or so that seemed like “Oh, okay, yeah, I do have to think carefully about this and not let my instant love for it blind me to this or this or this” and from those 20, we would narrow it down to something that would work out.

And I do think that we’ve ended up with, probably, about 20, give or take, that seemed like they might be possible and we put in offers on the two that seemed best from those.  So, this isn’t a post exactly grouching about my situation.

What concerns me is that there weren’t 50 or 60 perfectly fine but just not my thing houses.  There were probably 60 “oh hell no!” houses and 20 “well, okay, maybe” and 10 “Ooo, I don’t know, but I like” and 5 where I thought “This could be it.” (Well, that’s confusing.  I mean to be still speaking allegorically, so I hope y’all see what I mean.)

And it just leads me to continue to wonder–when we talk about there being a lot of affordable housing in Nashville, is that really the case?  Right now, for instance, there are 695 houses on the market under $125,000, which makes it seem as if there’s a lot of housing stock for working class people.  But if sixty percent of those are pits that need major help before you can get into them, are they really real possibilities for folks?  Because, even if you can rehab them–if you have the skills–if you don’t have the money, is that house really feasible?

77 thoughts on “The House Situation

  1. This is an excellent point —

    So, the real question is what would the house have to sell for in order for the total bill to be in the $125,000 range…

    and — if the people with those houses on the market expect to GET $125,000, then the market isn’t as bad as it seems.

  2. Keep in mind that a surprising number of the places that make you say “hell, no” make others say “OMG yes!” I’m still laughing about some people who moved onto my block last year and the house they moved into: the guy who was rehabbing it ran out of money and put it on the market with just pillars where walls should be, back-to-back fireplaces that not only didn’t work but also had huge cracks running across and around them, etc., etc. He priced it to make back the money he had put into it, period. It didn’t sell, because the local rehabbers didn’t want to spend that much on a house and no one wanted to live there. So he got a new real estate agent who increased the price by some huge amount, more than 50%, said “that’s not a bug, that’s a feature” about everything, and it sold in two weeks. To people who moved into it. I just can’t figure out how you live with cracks in the brickwork letting hot and cold air and snakes in all the time. So, really, there are more houses in the “someone else might like this” category than you are counting.

    But more generally, the loss of affordable housing stock for the lower 50th percentile of folks is the unmentioned scandal of U.S. cities.

  3. What concerns me is that there weren’t 50 or 60 perfectly fine but just not my thing houses. There were probably 60 “oh hell no!” houses and 20 “well, okay, maybe” and 10 “Ooo, I don’t know, but I like” and 5 where I thought “This could be it.”

    You sure you’re not talking about men. It’s cute, Aunt B being the Carrie Bradshaw of houses, looking for her own Mr. Big to live in.

  4. PS: Louisville: 1830 under 125,000. And that’s not counting condos. And I know where all the cool bars are….

  5. By the by, AuntB, if you can get you one of those $125K homes that need fixin’ up, round up the men folk, rehab it with a few thousand and a dab of elbow grease and flip your way up the property ladder. It’s a lot of work, but if you enjoy that kind of work, it can be extremely rewarding.

  6. It seems unfair for me to throw a one-woman/thirty-men orgy while the rest of Nashville rehabs a house for me. But like the plot of a porno I wouldn’t mind watching. That is the kind of reward we’re talking about here, right?

  7. Oh, ‘Coma, you are wiser than us all. Christian meant that all the good sex B could have would give her dabs and dabs and dabs of elbow grease. Alrightee, then.

  8. What good is rounding up a bunch of women folk to work up some elbow grease with unless you’re completely lesbians? If you like to mix it up, go for it. I would use men slaves who know wht a tidy garden is when they see it.

    I’m not stuck in 3rd gear. Put the men folk to work cleaning your tub, slap it on the YouTube, and then get busy flipping your way to victory.

  9. We bought our house several years ago for slightly more than you are looking at. The house is solid, on a large lot and needed no rehab (I like the retro 1978 kitchen).

    I think you are going to need to adjust the area that you are searching in. Remaining inside the Briley Pkwy belt is going to really limit your choices in that price range.

    Looking at market comparables between Smyrna, Lavergne, Brentwood and where I’m at was a 50-75K variation for the same house. Location, location, location.

  10. Mag, this will blow your mind – several years ago when I was living in a small town in east TN, I was able to rent a two bedroom, 1 1/2 bath townhouse with a balcony up top, patio on the bottom, and fireplace for $435/month. Of course, the median income in that county was about $10K less than the national average.

  11. I’m just going to say this. LaVergne is not that bad. And as Aaron says, it builds street cred. The kids we go to church with in Murfreesboro think Aaron’s the biggest badass around because he’ll be going to LaVergne high school and he’s not afraid. Little do they know, Aaron’s hella popular and the chances of him being messed with are slim, but I digress.

    You get used to the I24 drive. It’s not as bad as all that, once you get used to it. Plus, if you DID move to LaVergne, you could help us bust up the good ol’ boy network and boy, would that be fun as all hell.

    I bought my house for 117,000. It’s got 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths, a 2 car garage, and enough space for a small garden. And it’s 1200 square feet. People act like Rutherford County’s the ends of the earth, but it’s really not that far, especially if you live close to the interstate in LaVergne.

  12. I second, no third, no fourth what Ginger, Ivy and Christian said that Rutherford County definitely has some major perks. AND it would absolutely make my day to see the Good Ol’ Boys network go down in flames at our whim and fancy. :)

  13. What about in my neighborhood (Inglewood in East Nashville). This is a great area, inside Briley Pkwy, easy commutes, nice coffee shops, good neighbors, etc).

    Here is an MLS # for one that looks promising in your price range: 983805

    If you check out this house, let me know and I can show you some of what is great about this neck of the woods.

  14. Pingback: Real or Myth: Urban Affordable Homes - Real Estate Investing

  15. Hey Jackson, B. and I actually looked at that home, but the siding was put up (upon Mack’s inspection) directly on the frame in parts without the sheathing. I loved it, but… siding directly on frame was not good with no insulation or sheathing.

  16. What good is rounding up a bunch of women folk to work up some elbow grease with unless you’re completely lesbians?

    Oh. Dear. God. Sweet. Fuck. That is not even CUTE.

    For what it’s worth, this woman folk can fix minor plumbing, use a mitre saw, jigsaw and pretty much any wrench or screwdriver under the sun. And while it’s been awhile I bet she could still wield a nailgun. And of course she can prime and paint–no matter what her husband says.

    As to the sensible part of this discussion–the one which doesn’t seem to presume that women are incapable of construction work…

    Yes, Rutherford County has a lot of great housing and good deals. But, honestly, with the cost of gas being what it is, a $125,000 house in Rutherford Co. would wind up costing B. an extra $3K a year in commuting. Her work and her closest friends are either in Nashville proper or well north of there. Most of the places she enjoys going–from what I read here–seem to be on the northeast side, too. I don’t know that it would make fiscal sense to relocate so far from where she does her most vital living just because she can get “more” house. It seems to me like such a decision would leave her house-poor and resentful pretty quickly.

    As for affordable housing–there isn’t any for the starter group. All of the money boards and real estate boards which I read like crack are saying the same thing you are. And the same thing I might (not so humbly) add that I’ve been saying for five years now. Housing inflation has hit hard, and it’s the lowest tier of ownership that’s feeling it the worst. Of course I’m betting that 14 months from now you’ll see a lot of starter homes in that price range. Turnkey builders are going to have to return to that now that the market for the mansionettes is drying up.

    If it helps any, CNNmoney had a story about housing prices dropping a record 12.something percent. That might help.

  17. *sigh*

    Kat, I guess it was wrong of me to presume AuntB would prefer watching the sweaty men slaves tearing at her walls and scrubbing her tub. But I did always have a hunch she liked to mix it up a bit. Bring your toolbox, though, incase she needs you to strap something on and get busy.

  18. I’m on my way out to Wilson County. Mount Juliet is looking pretty good these days. The commute isn’t that much farther than from where I am now in Old Hickory, but I intend to ride the train.

    Ya know, northern Rutherford County isn’t actually that far away. Of course in LaVergne you’re more likely to have to settle for some ‘developer special’ instead of an older house with some character and history. I used to drive the I24 commute every day from Antioch. LaVergne is just a few miles more. It ain’t so great, but it beats coming down I65 from Sumner.

  19. Kat, that’s a good point about most of B’s life being in the northern part of Nashville, perhaps she could expand to look in the north suburbs. I know most of *my* life is based in M’boro and I’d hate to have to move farther away than I already am.

    Although I’m still entranced at the thought of B helping us bust up the Good Ol’ Boy coalition. It would be epic.

    W, I’m with you about Mt. Juliet looking pretty darn good lately. I went out there fairly recently to shop at Joann’s fabrics and was shocked at how much that place has been built up. Add the train to that, and it seems like a pretty cool place to live.

    And you’d be surprised at how many non-cookie cutter houses there actually are in LaVergne. Ginger’s neighborhood, for example, has a shit ton of really interesting looking houses that are somewhat on the older side. How old would you say your neighborhood is, Ginger? I’d say 70s at least.

  20. As someone who did the I24 commute for almost 20 years (and part of that was cutting across it to go to Brentwood), may I please endorse what Ms. Coble said and advise against a Rutherford County purchase unless you just find something you adore? Gas prices aren’t even as much of an issue as the massive soul-suck that rush-hour commute can become. I never minded the commute until my hours changed from 4:30 a.m.-1:30 a.m. to something more conventional, leaving me in traffic NO MATTER WHICH ROUTE I TOOK (and I know them all) for a minimum of an hour each day. Life is just too short, unless you have a private helicopter to run you to and from work. (My commute is now 20 minutes and I drive through farmland. Unless I decide to take the interstate bypass just to annoy fellow motorists. BWAH.) I could see the Mt. Juliet angle for the train, but you also have to remember that the train lets you off down at the river. (I’d ride it when it comes to Rutherford County, if they’d at least let me flag it down while it goes by a mile from our house.)

    Have y’all looked in the Ellington Parkway/Madison area? I know it might seem a little far, but it’s very nice out there and the commute would just be one big VRRRRT right down Ellington to Main/Charlotte to 21st. Here’s one I noticed on East Meade, and I’m sure Kathy’s seen more.

  21. Ahem. My hours were 4:30 a.m. to 1:30 P.M. I was dumb then, but I warn’t no fool.

    Anyway. Onward. And continuing good wishes on finding the house that deserves you.

  22. Ahem. My hours were 4:30 a.m. to 1:30 P.M. I was dumb then, but I warn’t no fool.

    Anyway. Onward. And continuing good wishes on finding the house that deserves you.

  23. Kat, seriously, lighten up. We’re not solving world hunger here, just giving suggestions. Christian was just kidding.

    Anyway, my neighborhood was built in 1987. There are homes of varying ages throughout northern Rutherford County. It is one of the fastest growing counties in the country for a reason, so it can’t suck all that bad, ya know? Yes, many days the commute bites…but yesterday I left downtown at 5pm & was in La Vergne by 5:25…it just depends on what’s going on.

    The thing is, I traded off renting for having a longer commute…you can’t have it all unless you’ve got the money to. If B is hellbent on being close to her friends up North then she’ll have to trade off other things to do so…it all a matter of priorities.

  24. I’m not Kat, but I have to say that I hate it when people just kid around about how incompetent I am because I’m a woman. On a feminist blog, no less.

  25. Well, I think if you’re looking to take a comment like that defensively, go for it; however, I interpreted it as B having a bunch of hot guys coming to help fix up her house…consider the source of the comment…

  26. Ginger, the comment, in response to B saying that she couldn’t afford to buy a fixer-upper, was:

    By the by, AuntB, if you can get you one of those $125K homes that need fixin’ up, round up the men folk, rehab it with a few thousand and a dab of elbow grease and flip your way up the property ladder.

    Exactly what about that is about having a bunch of hot guys come over? It says “if you can’t afford to pay contractors, surely you know some men who can do the work for you, since you’re a woman and obviously can’t do it yourself, nor do you know any women who can.” Now, B was kind enough to say that hot guys was the only interpretation she could stomach, and Christian went along with her to save face. I am considering the source, believe me.

  27. I’m not Kat, but I have to say that I hate it when people just kid around about how incompetent I am because I’m a woman. On a feminist blog, no less.

    I am Kat, and I agree with nm.

    Yes, this is a feminist blog, and I’m not the blog author. But I do know from reading this blog that (to me) it seems there are the serious posts and the joking posts. This post is a serious post about a serious issue that weighs on the mind of the author.

    Christian’s initial comment had absolutely nothing about suggestiveness or sexualisation about it. In previous posts about the same topic several of us–myself included–have offered our meagre talents to help her with exactly what Christian said to “round up the menfolk” about.

    I did construction alongside my dad from the time I was four. I helped build (in a small way) the house my parents still live in today. Before I got ill I did several projects around my current house. …

    Nevermind. The rest of this is just gonna be a post at my own blog, because it’s more about me than about B. at this point.

    Kat, seriously, lighten up.

    I’m surprised that you of all people think it’s okay to tell another how to “feel” about something.

  28. Pingback: “Round Up The Menfolk” « Just Another Pretty Farce

  29. Amazing. I interpret his comment like the “host” does and yet I’m wrong. Un-fucking-believe-able.

    Kat, if you’ve got an ax to grind with me I suggest you take it to e-mail.

  30. Well, yes, exactly. I think it’s clear that Christian was suggesting I shouldn’t fret because folks would pitch in and help and it’s clear that he’s saying that the folks who could pitch in and help would be men, because it’s man’s work.

    It isn’t unreasonable or overreacting for people to notice that and find it grating.

    Do I think Christian meant anything terrible by it? No. But a lot of people say crap that sucks without meaning anything terrible by it. So, other people say “Hey, that sucked” and the first person either says “Oh, shit, sorry” or doesn’t.

    That’s how it goes. It’s a feminist blog. You can’t come here and not expect to learn some shit about how women feel about the world and how you move through it in ways that bug us.

    It’s fine.

    He meant well. He still said something stupid. I chose to not make a deal out of it. But that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with people making a deal out of it.

    Here’s the thing. I believe you can either choose to engage or not when these types of things happen. More importantly, though, I think it’s incredibly disrespectful of Christian… I mean, it shows disrespect to Christian… to pretend he said something other than what he said.

    How can I or we or any women approach men on equal footing if our first instinct when they fuck up is to protect them from the hurt they cause?

    What good does it do any of us?

  31. Kat, if you’ve got an ax to grind with me I suggest you take it to e-mail.

    I’m given to understand that I should leave axe-grinding to the Menfolk. It is, after all, a type of construction work.

    How can I or we or any women approach men on equal footing if our first instinct when they fuck up is to protect them from the hurt they cause?

    But…it’s worked fine for the last few millennia. Or however you spell that word.

  32. Here’s the thing, B…I totally didn’t take it that way…is it because I’m not *looking* for anti-feminist statements in everything a man says? I mean really…Christian is a gay man who would see the fun side of “rounding up the men”…but even putting that aside, do you really think people always put that much thought into each and every off-handed remark? So perhaps the more appropriate statement would’ve been “round up people”. There…problem solved.

  33. Ginger, if that’s what Christian had written, we wouldn’t be having this subsequent discussion. What he wrote, in the context in which he wrote it, was worth commenting on.

  34. Ok, I’m going to say no to Rutherford County… well, at least M’boro/Smyrna because I don’t know enough about how close LaVergne is to where B. wants to be (and I don’t want Ivy and Ginger refusing to be my friends anymore!). You can find cheaper housing here, but it’s very, very rare to find a unique/cute house. For $125,000 you will get a vinyl siding house placed right up against your neighbors’. Or you will be in the boonies. Also, the drive. THE DRIIIVE. It will be the death of me. You will get used to it, but more in the sense that you get used to having your legs amputated so that you can save on shoes.

    I say this in full disclosure that Ian and I are considering staying in the ‘boro when we move, but ONLY because we have so many family/friends there and wtf happens when we have kids in a few years? Goodbye babysitters if we move. Also, we can live in a better neighborhood/nicer house for much cheaper than we could in Nashville. But is it worth it? Who knows at this point. I change my mind every single day.

    Which brings me to this: Fuck Nashville and its overpriced housing. I would love to move there but honestly, I am not paying $150k to live someplace I am afraid to walk around outside day or night. And I’m from Chicago, so it’s not like I’m one of those “afraid to git to the Big City” folk.

    Good luck, B. If you can find a nice house that’s not a shithole in the ghetto for the price you’re looking at, you will inspire me to not give up on Nashville. And I’ll bring you a bottle of wine or something when you move in. :)

  35. @Kathy T.: I shoulda known you had all the bases covered. I used to drive through that area a lot (over by TCMC) and always thought it seemed to be a very pleasant place. I like Inglewood, too, but getting to and from it can be a bear if there are road blockages.

    Continuing to send good house vibes to B, and apologies for the double post above. Our server is doing weird things today.

  36. meh, it’s all good…sorry I got all catty on ya Kat (hee)…

    Megan…exactly…you have to choose what you’re going to make the priority, whether it’s paying more for lesser traffic or closer to work or friends or work or convenience or whatever. Unfortunately, I don’t think you can truly have it all in this day.

  37. Whoa, folks. I mean really, whoa. What’s happening with you all?

    And come on, it’s not like we (as in the collective “we”) aren’t frequently talking about Mack could do this or Sarcastro could do that as well as them (and others) frequently offering to do various things. WTF is the big deal?

    (And PS to Megan – Nashville commentary duly noted but trust me, it’s a million times better up there than in Memphis. I’d give an extremity to be able to move up there right now.)

  38. And come on, it’s not like we (as in the collective “we”) aren’t frequently talking about Mack could do this or Sarcastro could do that as well as them (and others) frequently offering to do various things. WTF is the big deal?

    Well, from where I sit, it’s one thing to say “Have [this friend] or [that friend] come over and do the work.” That addresses the person rather than the person’s gender. Yes, Mack and Sarcastro happen to be men in some form or fashion (despite all the hatin’ on prog rock and not calling me back…) but that’s not the focus when someone says “Get Mack and Sarcastro to help you.”

    When someone says “Get the Menfolk” to help you it communicates to me that the first line of offence is to turn to the men.

    And I’ll admit one other thing….I’m not a big fan of sexualising every thing. Especially when doing so takes away from the tone of what seems to be on the questioner’s mind. B. is often jokey and sexual and that’s fine. But this post seemed to me to be clearly serious and beyond going down a jokey road. And when people (specifically nm) communicated that they were shocked by Christian’s remark he went further by implying that the only good of having people do work for you was to sexualise it.

    Regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman, objectification is objectification. That’s why I was as ticked off by the “lesbians” remark as the original.

    Of course, this is just a window into my own mind. Take that for what little it’s worth.

  39. Sorry, can’t help it, my peacemaking self just wants to bring peace back to today’s regional blogosphere.

    It bothers me when y’all argue and this just seems to me like a silly thing for everyone to be arguing and getting fired up with each other about, but I’ll step back out.

  40. Lynnster, the big deal is that we are also just as frequently talking about B or Kat or Bridgett doing those things. (Me, not so much, except for painting, because I have arthritis in my hands.) So going on the basis of what the collective we talk about here, the suggestion maybe should have been “buy Bridgett a plane ticket and put her up for a couple of months while she makes everything unbelievably wonderful,” but it surely shouldn’t have been about the menfolks alone.

  41. Lynnster, I wasn’t meaning to pile on here; I started my comment, got distracted by work, came back and finished it, and hit send. I wouldn’t have bothered repeating Kat’s points otherwise. But I don’t think it’s a harmful thing to thrash these things out, if it leads to a clearer understanding of the topic and of each other’s points of view. Now, I’d be happier if Christian were also participating in this discussion, since it was his comment that sparked it, but I don’t expect that. As I said above, I do consider the source.

  42. (Me, not so much, except for painting, because I have arthritis in my hands.)

    I suppose that’s part of my sensitivity, too. I’ve been dropping–literally– alot of things lately as my RA gets worse and there’s a part of me that has perhaps idealised my past when these tasks–painting and construction–were easier than they are now.

    But I don’t think it’s a harmful thing to thrash these things out, if it leads to a clearer understanding of the topic and of each other’s points of view.

    I guess I don’t either. I am sorry, though, that it upset you.

  43. Gosh, I go get a sandwich and y’all have rolled out the fainting couches without me! I can’t even be the center of my own drama. Sheesh.

    BRB, I gotta find a packet of ketchup.

  44. I keep referring back to sex talk on this here blog. Gosh, it’s like my real life. I feel like such the wallflower.

    (Naaa, I’m hot. What were we talking about? I do have a house for sale in Hooterville. Cool $42 grand which is payoff, as is (air conditioning unit is out and it’s been sitting empty two years. Four fireplaces. 1/2 a city block. Charms and hazards. Just saying.)

  45. OK, I’m back. I’ll have to settle for Mustard, but don’t cry for me. I like mustard on my fries.

    Who needs a hug? ;) No, you can’t have my fries.

  46. Yeah, back in January I started looking for a house. I’m single and didn’t want to go above $110K since I wanted to make sure I could afford the monthly payments. Even that would be pushing it.

    Most of the places I found were the “Oh hell no!” places. Others were too small, locations I didn’t feel comfortable with, missing multiple things I was searching for or needed considerable repair that I couldn’t afford. I got so discouraged at points that I felt like crying. Seemed like I wasn’t meant to own a home that I would be happy to live in.

    As of this month, I’ve put house hunting on hold. I’ve realized that I’m relatively happy renting my 3 bedroom duplex (1500 sq ft) for about $690 a month. It’s not a long commute and a nice neighborhood. Plus I’ve discovered I like the fact I can pack up and leave if I feel like it. There’s something a little refreshing about that.

    Maybe one day I’ll start hunting again. Till then, I’ll rent and enjoy it.

  47. y’all have rolled out the fainting couches without me!

    Did I miss some sort of memo? Is it “raise the feminists’ ire with time-worn digs at the gender” week?

    Women=the pit bulls of today.

  48. nm, I’m the genuine article.

    Kat, are you sure you want to continue the conversation here? I see you have this linked with your own thoughts at your blog. I just haven’t clicked it. Let me know!

  49. Well, my own thoughts at my own blog kind of went a different way. If you click through you’ll understand.

    Of course you’re welcome to come by but I’d prefer it if you didn’t junk up the comments with

    “round up the menfolk”
    “bunch of lesbians”
    “fainting couch”

    and the as- yet-unseen-but-waiting-in-the-wings-I’m-sure

    “time of the month”
    “need to get laid”
    “old axe wound”

    and other such lovely dismissives.

  50. Kat, it’s always good to see you making a fresh batch of lemonade at all the sour lemons people seem to intentionally throw at you. ;)

  51. Christian, I apologize for having treated you as a regular commenter. Now that you have confirmed that you see your role here as that of a troll, I can see that I was wrong to expect sense, respect (for the blog or for other commenters), or, heavens forfend, relevance from you. Just put your fabulous self right in the middle of everyone else’s conversation, and I’ll ignore you.

  52. I should probably be letting this die, but I’m a well known thread killer so I don’t feel too bad about commenting.

    For what it’s worth, I had no idea Christian was gay but I still took his comment as suggesting B get some eye candy to work on her house. After all, she does daydream about hot guys cleaning her bathroom from time to time.

    On a more serious note, assuming a woman can’t do that kind of work is bad and uncalled for, no doubt. But like it or lump it, most of the people who do that for a living are men. When I get out of my depth on a home improvement job and decide to pay someone it has always been a man that shows up. Plumber, carpenter, the guys that refinished our hard wood, the guy that fixed our siding…. I’ve been on a lot of highway construction sites and you rarely ever see a woman on those. The ones you do see are either the supervising engineer or the flagger.

    So my experience just indicates that there aren’t a lot of women in the construction fields. Should I interpret that as women don’t want that type of job, or as that there are barriers for women entering those types of jobs? I’m not trying to bait anyone with that question, I’m asking in seriousness.

    Come to think of it, my comments on highway construction sites may not be the best example. It probably says something pretty major that most women on highway construction are either in the highest or lowest jobs.

  53. My dad was a construction worker and both he as an individual and his union were less than welcoming to women, African-Americans, and Latinos. He believed that women were categorically unfit for heavy work (except my mom and me, who he left to run the whole damn farm) and believed them to be unreliable workers (would not be able to do most of what he did, would miss too much work, would be physically incapacitated by their periods, would introduce tensions between men competing to get laid). He also thought that as soon as a woman showed up on the job site, wages would plummet. And of course, the only woman who would want such a job would be a women’s libber bull dyke.

    I think he was pretty representative of the men of his generation. I know that he was very direct in purging the job site of non-white workers, so I doubt he had any qualms about driving off women and construing it the work of a “good union man.”

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