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Three generation family sitting around the dinner table

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It seems like every year or two, we have a community-wide debate about the tradition of “fixing plates.” For those of you who have never heard of this concept, fixing plates is something women often do for their male partners. Most of the time, it’s reserved for married couples. But there are quite a few men who like to see if girlfriends will fix their plates at family functions. It’s a bit of an antiquated—slightly sexist test to determine what “type of wife” a woman will be.

I say slightly sexist because rarely do I hear men talking about fixing their wives plates as an act of service to their loved ones. And the thought that an adult, able-bodied man can’t fix his own plate—especially after said woman may have been the one to cook it—is a problem.

Anyway, the topic came up again, when a man on Twitter shared a dilemma a friend of his found himself in during the holidays.

The series of tweets read:

“My homeboy called me…He never calls me… He asked me if he was wrong…Here’s what happened. A thread.

My homeboy said his wife’s family came over to his crib yesterday for Christmas. His wife cooked. He said when the food was done, his wife made her father the first plate…He had a problem with that. He voiced that it’s his house, he pays all of the bills & he should get the first plate & not only that, he had to eat with a spoon bc she gave the forks to all of the guests…

He told me he talked to his wife, she said ‘That’s my father & I can’t promise you’ll always get the first plate. And it’s not a big deal.’ He told me he left the house bc of the blatant disrespect…I told him he isn’t wrong & to stand his ground…Y’all agree or disagree?”

Now, we all know that people on the internet have a penchant for fabricating stories just to get attention. And that’s all together possible here. But for the sake of this article and any further argument, let’s pretend that this story is true so we can dissect.

I have to disagree with the original poster. No one is “wrong” for their feelings. What was wrong was the way he reacted to not getting a plate first and having to eat with a spoon. Why is that cause for you to leave the house—on Christmas, when you have guests in your home?!

Furthermore, the husband wanted to talk about being the man of the house, paying all the bills and providing  but he didn’t even have enough forks for people. There’s a chance homeboy might be slacking.

Someone on Twitter noted that the idea of feeding the man of the house first, came from a time when families were poor and food scarcity might have been an issue. So in that case, it was important that the person who needed the energy to go out in the world and work—often doing manual labor—get the most nutrients.

But that doesn’t appear to be the case in this family. The wife was attempting to honor her father as the eldest and instead of discussing this later or helping his wife to serve, when the two of them were hosting, the husband threw a fit and left…literally over a plate of food.

Maybe this type of childish behavior speaks to the reason why she served her father before her husband. Or perhaps she was taught that as an elder—someone who paved the way for the both of them to be there—that he be honored first.

And seeing as how she was the one who both cooked and served the food, I’d say the decision is her’s. If he wanted his own plate at a certain time, he could have been rude and fixed his before the rest of his guests had a chance to eat. Still, rude and not proper etiquette for a host; but it would have caused less of a scene than leaving the house altogether.

But that’s just me. I feel like in a loving and healthy relationship, we should both be in service to one another. I can make your plate. And you can make mine. It’s not a big deal. But I know some people are hellbent on holding up tradition.

For those of you who are, what do you make of the wife’s decision? Should she have served her husband before her father? And what do you make of the husband’s reaction to all of this?

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