I was scrolling though Instagram last night and the scenario to the left was posed. As I expected, there were varying responses, primarily from women, regarding how to handle a situation of a woman offering, then actually fixing, another woman’s boyfriend/husband a plate at a social function. The answers mostly stayed along the lines of 1) An ass whoopin’ for disrespectfully and shameslessly flirting with another woman’s man 2) Shame to the girlfriend/wife for not making her man a plate in the first place because clearly, this is what women are made to do 3) Asking the woman if she would be so kind as to prepare both a plate since she is feeling so damn helpful and 4) Expecting the man to simply say, “No, thank you” to the offer of another woman overstepping her boundaries with him in front of his woman. Truthfully, these were answers I expected and though they ran the gamut, none of them were quite the answer I had.
Why Is This Even A Question?
One issue for me with this scenario is the idea it might be a problem or fodder for such detailed discussion. In my mind, no man I’m with would accept that offer, but most importantly, no man I’d be with would announce his hunger then automatically look at me to take action to remedy his pronouncement. What about my existence as a woman makes folks think I’m predisposed to diaper changing, cake baking, and plate making? What is it about testosterone that enables some men to feel sitting in a chair waiting for food to magically arrive in front of them is all they have to do when they are hungry? And who the hell set the precedent for any of this? Who are the folks perpetuating these ideas simply based in gender? Now, don’t get me wrong – I’ve made a few plates in my day and I know plenty of folks who subscribe to traditional ideas of gender roles of their choosing. I think that’s just fine, providing it’s what both parties want and believe, but that isn’t how I believe and it isn’t what I want. Every kindness I extend to folks I like and love comes from a pure desire to do something nice. It’s an extension of my love, not an obligatory action based on my possession of ovaries. Sometimes, I might make a plate and other times, I might not. Sometimes, I might ask him to make me a plate, and that shouldn’t be a problem because putting food on plates is not, and won’t ever be, a gender specific action. I’ve met a lot of different people in my day and outside of literally missing limbs, I haven’t met any adult incapable of holding a serving utensil and using it to dish up food for a plate.
If You Don’t, Cousin Faith Will
In all the fussing and laughing, I was the only woman who wondered why his significant other making him a plate would be the automatic option. In the good old movie, Soul Food, the main characters’ cousin, Faith, seemed to step in and fill some sort of void one of the husbands felt his wife wasn’t filling. As a result, they had an affair. Several women spoke the perspective of it being the girlfriend’s/wife’s fault another woman made her mate a plate because she didn’t fix it herself, therefore creating the opportunity for “Cousin Faith” to step in and do it instead.
*Imagine me letting out a big ole’ sigh right here.*
Listen, I can’t speak for any other woman’s relationship or how she handles it, but I have absolutely no belief in existing within a relationship under constant fear of “losing” my significant other. My assumption is a man is with me because he thinks I’m awesome (I am pretty damn cool for real) and if my entire existence with him is spent worrying about him leaving me if I fail to cook dinner, don’t feel like making him a plate after I failed to cook dinner, gain a pound, get a pimple, or express my beliefs one too many times, then I need that man to go on ahead and leave me immediately. My actions within my relationship are always true to who I am and again, my shows of affection are at-will, not based on some crazy antiquated ideas about what I “better” do lest I be left. Besides, if Cousin Faith comes through and he leaves with her and her plate makin’ ass, it is not because of me but because of that man’s choice. We ALL makechoices.
I suppose I can file my feelings on this in the Why I’m Single folder, along with my disinterest in cooking everyday or most days, my mostly covert but sometimes overt ratchetness, my disinterest in backing down when I’m talking about something I really believe, and the idea I should actually enjoy the sex I’m having, and I’m ok with that. I make plates when the spirit of love moves me and if Cousin Faith wants to try to plate up some food for my man in front of me and he allows it, I’m just going to ask her bring me back an extra fork – to stab the man who doesn’t know when to tell a broad to exit stage left. Bon appetit.