It was recently brought to my attention that the first Thursday in November is now also known as National Men Make Dinner Day.
Whoever comes up with this stuff must have a lot of time on their hands. I wish I had that much time. I’m a single dad trying to help raise three little kids (ages 6, 4, and 1) and trust me, I only wish I wasn’t always busy running my kids to school or wiping the snot off their top lip (third time in 11 minutes!) or … wait for it … waaaait for it! … MAKING THEM FREAKIN’ DINNER.
It doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things who dreams up these days of mystical celebration. I’m sure they mean no real obvious harm, and chances are there’s marketing and money behind it all. I understand that. People have to survive. Somewhere out there some lucky people managed to land themselves the gig of a lifetime.
“Jack! Michael! Michelle! Barnibus! You’re hired! We want you four to head up our CREATE RIDICULOUS DAYS FOR HIDDEN PROFIT DEPARTMENT! Congratulations! Think up a day more asinine than you have ever dreamed possible and let’s make some cold hard cash! Now get to work!”
Nothing is sacred, people.
But for me, this whole National Men Make Dinner Day particularly stings. Okay, no it doesn’t just sting, it shoots. It fires a big, old, hot hunk of lead straight down into our collective national foot.
See, as a loving/hard-working/modern-minded dad living in the 21st century, creating some kind of cockamamie day when everyone will unite in the name of Lord-knows-what by watching dear old dad march into that very foreign land known as “the kitchen” and tie on an apron as he gets himself all covered in flour like some helpless, bad-biscuit-making, door-to-door salesman moron straight out of 1957, reeks of good old-fashioned sexism.
DAD IS MAKING DINNER?! WHAAAAAT? ARE YOU SERIOUS?! DADS CAN’T COOK! DADS CAN GRILL A BURGER IN THE SUMMER, BUT COOK IN THE KITCHEN??!! I GOTTA SEE THIS! WHERE’S MY PHONE?! I HAVE TO RECORD THIS!
Ugh. Stab me with my lemon zester. (I own three by the way.)
Now before you start to tell me to mind my own business, let me just tell you this: I’m not one of those people who goes around hollering about every politically correct this or that. I don’t get my kicks out of telling folks that they are offending me with their ignoramus ways. Most of the time, to be completely honest, I figure that if someone is past the age of 20 or so and they don’t get it when it comes to how to be an intelligent progressive member of modern society, then I just figure that they’re probably never going to get it. Even if I try and show them the proverbial light.
But sometimes enough is enough. Sometimes someone says something or does something so downright offensive you simply have to speak your mind.
And so this is my time to shine.
Dear whoever came up with this idea, check me out. By shining a light on dads in the kitchen as something “special” or “exceptional,” what you’re actually saying is that dads don’t make dinner. And I’ll go you one further, and this is a doozy, because what you’re also saying when you say that we need a special day to “get dad cooking dinner” is that only moms cook dinner.
And by saying that only moms cook dinner, well, you’re just this far away from saying … you guessed it … “Women belong in the kitchen.”
Now there’s a day I’d like to watch paraded out into the streets of America! National Women Belong in the Kitchen Day! Oh how pleasant the Yahoo! comments section would be under that little article.
You see how this all works? Or doesn’t work?
Men cook! Dads make dinner! They do! I do! And I’ve been doing it for years now, since way before I was even a dad. I’m not alone either. There are tons and tons of men who already spend just as much, if not more time than women, in the kitchen. And they’re not just in there tinkering with the fridge motor or digging around in the cabinets for some beef jerky either, OK?
Men aren’t all chauvinistic, pigheaded cave-dwellers anymore.
I’m proud of who we’ve become the past 50 years. A lot of us guys have fought hard for equality and civil rights and women’s rights and just plain decency.
And along the way, we started cooking dinners too. A lot of them. Good ones. Really good ones. For our girlfriends and our boyfriends, a lot of us have cooked up a storm. Because we love it. Because we want to be cool and we want things to be equal.
For our wives and husbands, we have continued to make dinner. And breakfast and lunch too, y’all! (*GASP*)
And for our kids, we keep it up. I cook hundreds of meals for my own three kids a year. Sometimes I cook up omelettes and salads. Sometimes I cook up spaghetti and clams (they love it). Sometimes I cook up TV dinners. It doesn’t matter. I do it because I understand that it’s a show of everything I believe in when I show up in the kitchen to make food for the people I love.
Millions of men do that, too. Every single day. Every single night. Not just single dads, not just bachelor dudes, but all kinds of men, for all kinds of really good reasons.
But hey, you want to know one reason men don’t cook for?
We don’t cook for goofball days that honor dumb ideas we helped kill off ourselves a long, long time ago.