There’s only one time in my life that I actually wanted to stay in a kitchen, hunched over a cutting board and stirring over a low flame. It was during junior year, the prime of my undergraduate struggle. My bro-friend invited me to come and chill with him in a mutual friend’s room, this friend being one who I had a minor “thing” for at the time. Let’s call him Chef. We all chitchatted idly for a few hours until my bro-friend left for whatever reason, leaving me and Chef in the suite. This is all rated G, I swear. He’d mentioned that he was going to a party later that evening, and I’m not sure how my lack of culinary skills came up, but he began a tutorial on how to prepare curry chicken, the dish he planned to contribute to the affair. We seasoned, stewed, talked and taste-tested in the kitchenette, laughing about everything and nothing in between steps. It was innocent and adorable, and I’m a sucker for cute, non-sexual stuff like that. My afternoon felt perfect…that is until I received the most deflating compliment I’ve ever received from a guy. “Man, Stacy,” he said with a sweet smile and honest eyes, “You’d be the perfect wifey type if you could cook.” Imagine the high- pitched whooshing noise a balloon makes as it slowly deflates. That, my friends, was the sound of my ego withering away. I smiled back an awkward thank you, finished preparing the meal with him, and walked back to my suite two floors down. Since then, the butterflies in my stomach for him have long flown away, but the question is still etched on the inside of my mind like a fresh tattoo: What exactly is this “wifey type” and if I don’t necessarily fit that mold, am I doomed to single life and friend status?
Of course, the short answer to that is, “No. You’ll find someone eventually.” I know that much. But who wants to depend on the premise of “eventually”? That doesn’t sound very promising. The adverb is defined as such: in the end, especially after a long delay, dispute or series of problems. Series of problems? Is that what I am? Look, I’m only non-domestic because I’m missing the gene that makes me naturally want to be. I didn’t really see myself as lacking until it was brought to my attention. I’ve graduated from junior high, high school and college with honors, I’m focused when it comes to my career, I love the Lord, I don’t do drugs, I have no criminal record, I’m not a h*e, and I have a great relationship with my family. Up until recent years, I have been pretty content with myself. Plus, I’ve been told before (by an annoyingly excessive amount of people) that I have a natural motherly way about me. However, according to Google, my inability to throw down in the kitchen, disdain for washing dishes, and internal rejection of a “Cater 2 U” lifestyle is problematic. So while I may end up a good mother, my wifey material standing is still on the rocks. Wonderful.
Chef is not the only person that pointed out my shortcomings in the marriage-material department. My dad even playfully sneaks hints at me from time to time. One day when I was thinking out loud about how amazing the feeling of washing my hair is (because it truly is), he inquired smugly, “What about cooking in the kitchen?” Thanks, Dad. Not helping at all. This is the age where all such questions and discussions are valid and all those games of house and tea party hostess come into play. You can’t really blame me for fretting. Aside from birthday reminders and Farmville requests, every Facebook login comes with sonogram scans, engagement announcements, wedding albums and other pesky reminders that I’m absolutely NOWHERE near being some man’s wife. Heck, I don’t even remember how to be a girlfriend anymore, since my last relationship was six years ago (eons, basically). Instagram feeds me posts of fiancées whipping up wicked meals for their soon-to-be-hubbies, and I’m like damn. Right now, all I can offer you is breakfast (my scrambled eggs, omelettes and tea with milk are bangin,’ though). I’m not saying I have no desire to learn how to cook. I’d be lying if I said that. Before a “he” even steps into the picture, a girl’s gotta eat! I can take care of myself with no problem if I’m living on my own. I keep my personal areas tidy, my clothes clean, and if mom wasn’t still cooking for the household, I’d do more web searches for beginners’ recipes. But how patient will a man be with me if I don’t already come with this seemingly mythical total package — good looks, great sex, better food? How willing is he to teach me some of these things or better yet, for us to learn together?
I’m all for the bosso, I-can-do-bad-all-by-myself modern-day Superwoman. Gon’ head girl, more power to you! But for me, a relationship is only as good as how much the couple can grow and improve together. I’m not expecting a Lance Gross lookalike to ride over on Pegasus, take a knee, and put a damn near supernova on my hand, promising that I’ll never have to lift a finger again (and I pray he’s not expecting some sort of Beyonce/Superhead/Betty Crocker hybrid from me either). I pray that when it’s that time, a guy won’t scan me for “wifey,” but will see an irreplaceable lover, cheerleader and best friend, the only one he could ever see as his wife.
Stacy-Ann Ellis is a New York-based writer and photographer whose work has been featured in VIBE Magazine, VIBE Vixen, Hearts Converse, The Root and The Washington Post. Follow her on Twitter at @stassi_x.