While my husband was away on his [Asian sex tour], I invited my friends MM and KC over for a barbeque. (In case you were wondering, my husband’s back now and complaining of fatigue and blisters on his feet. I mean, what the fuck?)
However, when they arrived bearing sausages and booze, I had to admit that I didn’t even know how to turn the damn barbeque on. It was a low point in my afternoon.
Now, I should say here that I’m sure I’d be a very competent barbeque-er if I’d ever been given the chance. The way my husband goes on about it, it’s like some kind of Secret Men’s Business – a complex, time-consuming task that can only be done by a man with a beer in his hand (“in case of sudden fires”) and no kids underfoot (“It’s a matter of Health and Safety, ma’am.”) and a group of onlooking males. I mean, let’s face it: a dozen sausages on a hotplate need constant and careful adult supervision. Obviously.
When I’ve challenged him on this, my husband admitted it’s all just an opportunity for the menfolk to talk about things that they really want to talk about but can’t when women are present. Apparently, those ‘things’ can be summarised as “cars, chicks and guns”. Oh, and complaining about how their wives are always complaining about how difficult it to be looking after the kids all the time – all while the wives *are* inside looking after the kids.
Honestly, it’s amazing I agree to host barbeques as often as we do.
Anyway, turns out that MM – the Heir Apparent to the Barbeque Chef role simply by virtue of his gender – didn’t want to touch my husband’s barbeque. Apparently it’s akin to drinking another man’s beer, sleeping with his wife or, worse still, wearing his underpants.
KC, however, had no such hesitation.
“Come on, we can do it!” she said, and we went out to look at the barbeque where we helpfully found instructions printed on it. Yes, instructions. We followed them carefully (“switch on the gas bottle, push in the knob and turn it”) and lo! we had ourselves a sizzlin’ hotplate in no time.
“And he makes it seem so complicated… Ha!” KC said fifteen minutes later, as she brought inside a tray of perfectly cooked sausages.
And indeed, those were the best sausages I’d ever eaten. They were the Sausages of Gender-Equality, despite their phallocentric appearance and all. Some might even push things too far here by saying those sausages represented the emasculation of generations of Male BBQ Oppressors, but not I. I am far too tasteful to go there.
Anyway, the day after my husband had returned from his [trip], he found an excuse to cook something on his precious barbeque. I took this opportunity to boast about how KC and I had managed to light the thing and how KC had cooked all the sausages and even cleaned the hotplate for him after she’d finished.
“She seemed to think it’d been a while since you’d cleaned it, which I thought was being rather generous. I mean, have you ever cleaned it?” I asked.
“No way! If you clean it then when friends bring ’round vegie burgers, they won’t taste like meat,” he said. I couldn’t tell if he was joking or not.
“Anyway,” he added. “She might have done it, but she didn’t do it properly. I found a serious breach of Health & Safety regulations. She forgot to turn the gas tap off.”
“It didn’t say that on the instructions!” I protested.
“What instructions? We menfolk don’t need instructions!” my husband exclaimed, reminding me of the time he’d tried to put an Ikea Vika Furuskog desk together without the instructions and ended up making a Bjärnum shoe rack. “Also, you only need to give it a quarter-turn and not virtually twist the whole cap off. It took me half an hour just to twist it all the way back on!”
Or rather, it took half a minute for him to twist it on and the rest of the time to stand about and drink some more beer. And ain’t that the truth.