What do Carrie Bradshaw, Rachel Greene, Beyonce, Madonna and Michelle Obama have in common? At one time or another these real and fictional characters have all admitted they don’t (or don’t like to) cook. Recently, I’ve quit that club and started cooking for fun.
It’s weird because I was definitely one of those non-cooking single women that single male bloggers bash every chance they get. Unfazed by the opinion of men I don’t know, I held fast to my thought that if a man was looking to date Rachael Ray then he was looking at the wrong one. I could make a great bowl of cereal and my vegetables steamed in the microwave were delicious, but like Carrie Bradshaw, I kept sweaters in my stove and I was perfectly content with that.
It wasn’t that I couldn’t cook or hated cooking. I just wasn’t convinced that cooking for one was cheaper, healthier or the best use of my time. At first, my stance was nonchalant and not completely thought through. However, the more it was contested by men I wasn’t even dating, the more that I didn’t want to cook.
People who knew I wasn’t regularly firing up the skillet to feed potential suitors would ask me incredulously, “Well what are you going to do when you get married?” as if cooking was wifely duty number one. Cooking on a regular basis solely because that’s what married women do didn’t served as motivation for me anyway.
You see, I believe that the expectation for women to treat their boyfriends (official and unofficial) like husbands is problematic. Dating me was not marrying me and using the oft-repeated argument that a “wife should cook” as a reason why I should cook seemed ridiculous considering that I was not a wife nor necessarily angling for a ring.
The women who co-signed this nonsense always seemed to be those long-suffering girlfriends, foaming at the mouth for an engagement ring yet unaware of the fact that they were on a multi-year audition, checking off everything on their respective boyfriends’ arbitrary “what I want in a wife” list without a ring in sight. I figured the more excellent way was to ignore them and continue eating my steamed peas and carrots while spending my time and money how I saw fit. If I got married in the process, great, but my boyfriends knew that cooking was not high on my priority list and I refused to play pretend.
I use the cooking example because that was my thing, but I understand that there are some women who like to cook and don’t do it to prove that they’re “wife material”. It’s not about cooking at all. It’s about the fallacy that a single woman’s actions should always be in line with what would be considered “wife material”. Over and over women are admonished to lose weight, learn to cook, dial down the clubbing, step up your shoe game, get a graduate degree, buy an iPhone, don’t make more money than your man, stop wearing acrylics, sew in some weave, and the list goes on.
It also implies that men are all the same and all want the same things in a woman. There’s no compulsory list of what men want in a wife because men (like women) want different things and, in fact, the same man may want different things depending on his current maturity level. If I am working overtime trying to be what this guy wants, then what happens when I meet the next guy who wants something totally different? I’m back to square one without a clue what I want.
I figured that I’d rather just be who I am and meet a man who is compatible with me without struggling to meet the evasive “standard wife material” bar. Besides, I believe that the men who insist that a single woman should be acting like his wife, are men who want a wife without having to get married. What part of the game is that?
When I did get engaged then married, I didn’t intend to start cooking, it just happened. Marriage is a stronger motivator than I ever expected! In fact, I’ve found myself suddenly doing all sorts of things that I’m guessing a wife should do. In that way, getting married has made me discover a better version of myself. My husband got more than he bargained for and that’s always a nice surprise. As for the men who may have passed me over because I rarely boiled an egg back then?
What do you think? Do you think single women are pressured to make sure their actions are in line with what would be considered “wife material”?
Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink
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