Restoring furniture and faith in male decency in equal measure.
Will Kirk is an antique furniture restorer who appears in a television show called Repair Shop. Recently, Netflix acquired a couple seasons of the show, and given my penchant for low-impact TV, I dove in. On the show, a team of conservators and experts repair beloved heirlooms and make us all think much more carefully about our next trip to Ikea. I watched the entire first season, and began the next, before I realized why I found it so comforting. There is sweetness here. There are manners here. And they’re coming from a person I don’t recognize. He is male, attractive, employed, and not a horrible person. Will Kirk is a good guy, and we don’t get many of those around here.
I spend a lot of time, offer a lot of support, and create a lot of work for single women. I know what this community is dealing with, and it isn’t pretty. Beyond that, it isn’t kind. It’s rude and dismissive and thoughtless, generally causing feelings of anger and sadness in the short term, and absolute apathy and hopelessness over time. I think Will Kirk is an amazing reminder of what’s still possible in the world. I also think it’s important to celebrate and appreciate those reminders where we find them. I found mine on Netflix, but you should also feel free to like…go to a park.
Yes, he’s got a gorgeous British accent. He’s also very tall and very handsome. I could even show you a photo of him holding some puppies if I felt like it. But I won’t, because that’s not the point. Because plenty of guys are physically attractive, and plenty of guys can build things. Where my concern lies is in the fact that we aren’t seeing many men in the the ether these days that are, above all other things, good. Will from Repair Shop is reminding me that there are kind, respectful, even sweet men in the world. We haven’t run out of them yet, and until Repair Shop, it’s possible that on some level, I’d forgotten that.
In a world filled with dating app screenshots that make us feel we need at best a shower and at worst a blessing from a clergyman, it is so rare to see, much less absorb in half-hour increments, respect, care, and kindness from a man. (The entire cast is like this by the way but I’m a single, straight woman in my mid-30s, so Will is where my eyes go.) Seeing him interact with his cast mates and clients with such niceness and seemingly genuine interest is like you telling me they still make dial-up internet, phones with cords, and Crystal Pepsi. I was pretty sure all that was extinct.
To be fair, I have no idea what Will is like in his personal life. I don’t know if he’s single, in a relationship, polyamorous with an entire punk band down the street, no idea. And I don’t want to know. Because right now I know everything I need to know about him, which is that he’s a living reminder that good guys still exist, and if they exist, I can have one. I’m afraid I’m just an Instagram rabbit hole away from this expansive, healing human being becoming like the rest of them, so I’ll just watch the show if you don’t mind.
And who could blame me? I’ve been so reinforced for so long with the idea that if I come into contact with an attractive single man in an age bracket comparable to mine, he’s going to let me down at some point, and probably some point soon. And I don’t want that to happen here. I’m allowing Will to open my mind, and maybe even crack open the rusted iron cage around my heart. (He might need Dom’s help with that — seriously you guys, watch the show.) I want to continue to let this happen, because I find it optimistic. So I watch Repair Shop, and Will, and remind myself that good is still a possibility.
I was recently interviewed for a podcast, the host asked me a question that had come in from a listener. To quote her, “Are all men just shite?” My answer was a safe one, I told her I didn’t feel comfortable saying that “all” anything could be one way or another. But my gut reaction was, yeah…actually—I think they are. According to my research, men are dismissive, mean, crude beings who treat me like I’m nothing more than an option in an ocean of available sexual satiators, and a poor one at that.
And then I remembered Will. I remembered that there’s a guy in England who builds things out of wood and is kind to people and seemingly not arrogant or mean. When he smiles, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know how wonderful that is to see. He doesn’t look like he’d text me in one word responses or make me feel like he was doing me a favor by having a drink with me. And for someone who’s known little else in the last decade, I will take what I’ve seen of him and let it grow, reminding me of what exists, what’s possible, and what’s good. Will Kirk from Repair Shop mends broken things. Indeed.