Gender Roles

The youth with whom I attended church in high school were a tight-knit group. We had the kind of friendship that outwardly seemed cruel but inwardly was based on love and respect. The biggest joke we had going was a rivalry between the boys and the girls as to whom really belonged in the kitchen.

The boys started it, of course, with their faux-macho-chauvenistic, “get in the kitchen!” when they were tired or frustrated with us. It was said without malice and without meaning and became our most beloved standing joke. Before long the result of any debate or wager was that the loser had to bake something for the winner. We understood that the joke was sensitive and were careful with whom we joked and even who may overhear. We knew that although it was an idle joke within our group that it could cause great offense outside. It was also a time-sensitive joke. As we all graduated and moved away the banter stopped and as we’ve seen each other since we have not picked up the old jokes, now very inappropriate. I’m pretty sure none of our spouses would understand.

This year on Christmas day I was chatting with Mum, who had asked what we had given each other for Christmas. As I listed the kitchenwares we had received as a family (including new dishes!) and the cookbook and crepe pan I had personally received I cheerfully told her all the reasons I was thrilled for each item.

“Why did the mother cross the road?” My mother interrupted.

“uhhh,” I stammered, confused. “Because her family was on the other side?” I had no idea where she was going with this.

“That’s not the right question. The question should be, what was she doing outside the kitchen?”

“Mother!” I exclaimed, completely taken aback. Surely she was making reference to the jokes of my youth because it was certainly not an opinion to which she particularly subscribed.

“How do you feel with all these kitchen gifts?” She asked. Ah-ha. I finally knew where she was headed, but I was barefoot, pregnant, in the kitchen, and making cookies as we were speaking.

“Couldn’t be happier.” I replied.


3 thoughts on “Gender Roles

  1. This might be a long story, but it was the first thing I thought of after reading your post. You’d have to know my brother, though. He’s different from me, outgoing, gets along with anyone–which helps him out when he’s working on the line at an auto manufacturer. Anyway…

    One Christmas we chose names from a hat and my brother got my sister’s name. She had her gift all picked out and told him the exact pan to buy. Cooking is a science to my sister–she loves to do it and she loves to have the right tools. This was a relatively expensive pan. According to my brother (he tells this story so well, I won’t be able to do justice to it), as he was standing in a very long line waiting to buy this pan, an older woman behind him said, “You ought to be ashamed! If you were my husband and that was what you bought me for Christmas, I’d beat you senseless with it.” Without missing a beat his reply was, “Lady, if you were my wife, I’d be glad to be beaten senseless.”

  2. You’re so cute! I love your stories, they are always so cute and most of the time funny. The ones that aren’t funny always have a good lesson in them too. Thank you for your blogs!

  3. Heh! 🙂 That joke made me laugh. 🙂 I’m sure it will make Paul laugh even harder. Here’s one on the other side for you:

    The man ALWAYS has the last word:

    “Yes Ma’am.”

    That is a joke from Paul’s family… 🙂

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