Starting the Conversation “Manly, Yes, But I like it Too!”


Marianne & Tom Anderson

By: Marianne Reid Anderson

Growing up, this old slogan for Irish Spring® bath soap, pretty much said it all! Let’s break out of stereotypical thinking! Being born and raised a Pittsburgher, I always assumed that all girls were like me and were huge fans of professional sports, such as the Steelers and the Pirates. I was shocked when I moved and lived in other areas of the country to find out that I was pretty much alone. My husband, a Seattleite, once told me he couldn’t believe his luck in finding a girl that loved football and baseball as much as he did. Later, I got hooked on golf and introduced him to the sport.

Of course, my husband grew-up in the 60’s and 70’s too and has always rejected stereotypical thinking, as well. Shortly after we got engaged twenty-three years ago and were planning our wedding, we went out for dinner with his parents and there was a jazz band playing. At one point, my soon-to-be Father-in-law, asked to take me for a spin around the floor, just like in the movies. When we got back to the table, my soon-to-be hubby announced that he wanted to be like his Dad and know how to move his feet and me around the floor. Not being a fool, I instantly said, “Yes! That’s a great idea”! So off to ballroom lessons we went, we learned to waltz for the wedding, but we also learned how to rumba, tango and foxtrot. This was long before Dancing with the Stars brought couple-dancing back in style again. So initially, Tom had to put up with some teasing from his groomsmen but by the time the wedding rolled-around, everyone was duly impressed. I was so proud of him for standing up to his friends.

The best thing has been the willingness of each of us to embrace the interests of each other and not be afraid to try new things, regardless of what others might say. I think next might be kayaking or maybe cooking lessons, definitely a foreign language. What do you think? Ever break a stereotype or want to? Why do you think people tease or bully to stop people from doing what they want? I’d love to hear from you, please feel free to visit my blog and leave a comment or suggestion at