December 23, 2005


The man with whom I share this new house is out of town for the holiday, and though the living-together is still so new, the house feels "empty"--which makes me feel like some I'm in the Pajama Game, or some equally socially prescrptive 50's film where the well crinoline'd women make pork chops for men who carry briefcases and tip hats. Supplanting the "house is empty" feeling (which is actually more like a "where are my keys" feeling), I invited JR over for dinner because I prefer to cook for two, I prefer a bit of direct duty. I have some shadowy sense of shame about all of this.

Later, putting up dishes while the kitten chewed at the hem of my pants, thinking about Aerial , the best-ever stoner mom concept album about domesticity; I meditated on the idea that struck me earlier this week-- about how I have the option of domesticity and home-venture. I have the option to be sated by it and enjoy it even (which I do). My mother was the first woman in her family with the option, though she was married and a mother by 23. I'm almost 30, and I choose to make dinner for the man I love most every night. We live in sin and I do not have to iron Matt's shirts.

My dad's mom stopped working when she got married. She loved working. The last job she held at 22, she was the assistant for an accountant, she loved doing math and was good with numbers. She was a catholic girl in a small town in Southern Indiana. She was raised by the nuns and she married the first man she dated. She got pregnant the first time she had sex and spent the next few decades starching and ironing doiles, going to mass and being a mom. There was no option or choice in any of that.

When her husband died a few years ago, and she moved into assisted living, she said the strangest part was having someone cook dinner for her --and not having to cook dinner for anyone herself. She had been married for a week shy of 60 years when he passed, and she had cooked dinner for him, she said, most every night, unless she was in the hospital with illness or childbirth, or unless he had dinner at the K of C. She was dutybound to fix supper for a man who had no idea how, nor the inclination to, cook for himself, because ignorance of such was in his job description. He was not socially prescribed for anything other than being entitled to dinner.

Knowing this is what I am a generation removed from, and the fact that it's 2 am, I'm blogging in my kitchen while listening to Best of Gucci Crew II "for work", and the only obligation-to-feed that I have is filling Wyatt and Monkee's bowls with kibble everyday, as corny as it sounds, it makes me understand that feminist liberation was/is a revolutionary act which, put simply, allows women to live.

Posted by Jessica at December 23, 2005 02:37 AM | TrackBack