Written by Paul Goodrich
Abby introduces me to her “gay friend“, Jack. He’s five foot two, balding, and built like a hobbit. Before I can get a word out, he’s dashing through her apartment scribbling in a hot-pink notepad that reads “Sexy Bitch” in red glitter.
Abby whispers in my ear that he’s the best designer on the East Coast, and I ask her why she doesn’t just design her apartment herself. She hits me with the squinty eye and says, “When would I have time to do that?”.
And it’s a good question. She works fifteen-hour shifts as a Senior Manager for American Express. Her nightly routine includes a glass of Chardonnay, a box of takeout, and an after-meal Ambien to smooth the edges.
As Jack swoops past us, squealing things like “Persian sitting area!” and “Calico beanbags!”, I sneak a glance at Abby’s figure. She’s five-five, a hundred and twenty-two pounds, and definitely attractive, but she just joined Jenny Craig so she can, as she puts it, “maintain her girlish physique”.
I think she really joined because she can’t cook. Nothing. Not a lick. I made the mistake of opening her fridge once, and all I found were some leftover carrots and a bottle of Vitamin Water. But if she wants her meals delivered in bulk, I can’t hate on her for it. She just suffers from the plight of the modern woman.
Female evolution is directly responsible for destroying the stale ideals of old marriage, and also reshaping what it means to be “single” and “independent“. The “Sex and the City” generation hasn’t ostracized men, they’ve only re-prioritized where men belong in the equation. And the same goes for cooking.
The concept of the “traditional” housewife is dead. Buried. Rotting in a frill-laced coffin padded with lilacs and shreds of apron. In 2011, children view moms as half of an effective, working unit, and the kitchen has morphed into a unisex room where most meals are prepared in twenty minutes or less, and dads are required to know the locations of necessary ingredients.
Very few women are happy staying at home with vacuums and dusters, cooking and cleaning and waiting for their husbands to walk through the door after a long day of work. The modern woman doesn’t just gain value from her sexual freedom, she gains value from “earning”. Earning what she has, and earning what she wants.
Daughters aren’t gathering culinary experience from grandmas recipes or Home-Economics classes anymore, they’re gathering their knowledge from Rachel Ray and Giada De Laurentiis and the food network channel.
Conventional female roles are dinosaurs of culture rather than captivity. Women now have the monetary capability to influence the economy, and shift social opinion, but that capability often comes with a much different cost.
Abby hasn’t taken a vacation day in seven years, and the only reason she decided to move in the first place is so she could be closer to work. She constantly uses words like dedication, passion and commitment, but never in the context of her personal life.
She isn’t single because she can’t cook. She could easily have a guy if she wanted one. She’s single because she doesn’t have time to be otherwise. Being a woman, and being successful, require a delicate balance that can only be attained by trial and error.
Unfortunately, Abby wasn’t taught the basics of relaxation or fundamental food prep. She burns scrambled eggs, murders steaks, and cooks chicken so dry that it literally explodes into a cloud of dust. But so what? She’s driven, and extraordinary, and one day she’ll get the hang of it all like everything else she does.
Because she’s a modern woman, and that’s what modern women do. They adapt. They adjust. They persevere. They’re more than just caretakers and maids, and they’re proud of saying so. They won’t be stifled by convention, and they strive to become something more than girlfriends, housewives and homemakers.
And as a strong, modern man…I consider that a very beautiful thing.