Just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean that I’m supposed to adhere to your standards.
Just because I’m a black woman doesn’t mean that I’m supposed to adhere to your standards and make a swine-filled meal of pigs’ feet and ham hocks like we’re still on a southern plantation. (If you don’t know what these are, consult your older family members please or click here — Section “Barbeque.”)
Just because I’m a black woman in 2017 doesn’t mean that I want to relive those old-school standards during the holidays and be your cook in the kitchen but be cool and hip enough to laugh and joke and play hostess with your friends.
Throughout my journey as a blogger — and vocal black feminist — I’ve mentioned multiple times about my duties with cooking. To be completely honest, I don’t do it often. I can’t even lie about it, but I do enjoy it when I have time. As a 20-something living in New York City, who has a strenuous and busy job, who has multiple duties outside of my 9-to-5, who despises grocery shopping in a tiny supermarket that doesn’t always carry the necessary items that make me happy as a consumer, who loathes shopping during busy times when everyone else is coming home from work, who gets annoyed with a store full of people and only three cashier lines are open and one of those cashiers has a stank attitude and doesn’t want to be there and messes up my purchase by adding something extra on my bill, who then has to wait in line and look at how gentrification is quickly changing the neighborhood I call home, I really don’t have time to even MENTALLY PREPARE to cook. So, as many other young adults in NYC, I order in. It’s convenient and satisfies my need of: I want food RIGHT NOW.
However, time and time again, men ask, “Can you cook?” I’ve learned to answer that question with questions of my own: Can they build a house, can they change the oil in my car, can they build a bookshelf completely from scratch — like actually go out and “timber!” the tree with an ax, bring it home, chop it up, sand it, and build it in time over the weekend? Many times, they have some smart ass answer. Other times, they get the hint and try to back-peddle and say how they enjoy cooking and blah blah blah to try to clean up their gender-role mistake.
Nonetheless, this questionnaire has taken a new tone with it being the holiday season. Rather than a man asking if I can cook simply to see if we can play house and if I can fill his belly, it now seems as if he’s asking to see if I can host a massive holiday dinner. I assume it’s because he probably wants to invite his friends over and laugh and joke and watch football or Think Like a Man with all of the other couples while drinking coke and Crown and acting like the big shot king of the castle.
Well, sir, yes, I can host a holiday party. I will have a great time with a box of wine and close girl friends while we have a potluck dinner. Oh, you don’t have plans? That’s unfortunate. Well, it’s NYC; I’m sure you can find some options. Good luck.
It’s not my goal to be an ass to these men, but it’s also not my goal to be their mother. (If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you will see that this has become a reoccurring trend.) My priority list does not include impressing a man on Thanksgiving with my rendition of what I consider to be good macaroni and cheese. (This specifically pertains to a man who’s trying to pursue me when I have no interest in his ambitions.)
Why would I make you sweet potato pie, sir? I don’t like sweet potato pie my damn self. So, why do you think my oven is magically going to produce a slice for you with whipped cream on top?
The holiday season is supposed to be of thanks and family bonding. Magical moments that can be shared with those you love. The origins of Thanksgiving are crap (the Pilgrims were thankful for a victorious battle against a group of Native Americans), but I’ve managed to turn it into a theory of graciousness — at least for me and my family.
My family just so happens to not include a pest of a man trying to lure me into getting him a home-cooked meal. Not only is it annoying, but it slightly upsets my holiday. Here I am, enjoying my time with cousins or my nephew or laughing with close friends, and then some dude decides to text me. Not necessarily because he misses me. Not necessarily because he cares. This fool is asking if I made dinner so he can try my dressing and cranberry sauce.
I don’t think men understand the amount of selfishness that is wrapped up in this way of thinking. Yes, men may think that they’re very simple and basic. That they don’t ask for much. Feed a man and he’s happy. But sir, I DON’T CARE IF YOU’RE HAPPY. YOU’RE NOT MY MAN.
I absolutely love the holiday season. There’s a certain energy in the air that makes the environment seem crisp and fresh. I reminisce on memories as a child, preparing the holidays with my mom in the kitchen. I enjoyed rolling dough and making cookies, or we would go to the Christmas store outlets and get large ornaments for the tree. My dad filling the house with Christmas music during the twilight of early mornings. Growing up with my brother and we would play and annoy each other on the mornings when Santa was supposed to have arrived. I always overslept and my brother would come in and do something insanely irritating to wake me out of my slumber, but I would be so happy once I saw the tree with a massive amount of presents draped beneath. Large family dinners, holiday movies, my step dad celebrating with a bottle of Hennessy and those cool little sausage and cheese platters, our dog looking at all of us like we were crazy throwing wrapping paper everywhere, my mom trying to pry everyone to go to church after waking up at 3 a.m. to open gifts. Sequins and velvet, toile and ribbon, glitter thrown about.
These are the holidays I happily remember; they’re the reason why I still look forward to seeing my family and celebrating new memories. I don’t look forward to random messages from men two days prior to the holiday asking my plans and if I’m going to cook as the anchoring topic of our conversation.
Better yet, don’t ever randomly ask if I cook at all.
Even better yet, if we want to relive gender roles, send me flowers first before you question my cooking techniques or lack thereof.
Even better-better yet, don’t be a creep.
And don’t come and cry to me unless you know how to deep-fry a turkey.