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A Home Cooked Meal for the Boys

October 16, 2010

My sisters, my dear sisters, ain’t nobody told you you had to go and murder your boy child. However, I do need to know, really know, what makes you want to cook him (and his male roommates) a home-cooked meal when he is an adult and living away from home. What motivates your actions?

Two recent cases:

A woman’s son’s wife was having a baby. The wife lived in North Carolina and the husband lived in Virginia with the Navy. A week after the wife had her baby girl; the son supposedly could not get away from the Navy to visit his newborn child. Apparently, those 30 days of leave he accumulates a year had been used for other reasons. The woman traveled from Louisiana to visit her daughter-in-law and to help with the newborn baby. Afterwards she left there and traveled to Virginia to see her son. The poor fellow, all alone with his three other roommates had no food in the house, each just had a bottle of Cognac that they drank after work. Therefore, the mother decided she was going to be the good mother and cook those boys a hot and tasty meal. The next morning when they were all at work, she called a friend back home and asked if she could Google directions to the nearest Wal-mart. There was not groceries in the male-house and none of them gave her any money, but she had a Wal-mart credit card. The nearest Wal-mart was 1.8 miles away, with half of the distance without a sidewalk. Since she did not rent a car and the son drove his to work she set out on foot. From A to B was not on a bus line. It was quite the walk in the heat, but the mother didn’t mind. After lunch, as she did he son’s laundry that was strewn on the floor, she brewed, stewed, steamed, and baked all the fine groceries she carried home from Wal-mart. She imagined all the thanks and compliments she would get when the four hungry men came home greeted by the aroma of her hard work. The mother didn’t think much about the numerous condoms that surfaced in her son’s laundry. Maybe those pants had not been worn since two months before when he had last seen his wife. But, didn’t he pick his mother up from the airport wearing those pants, surely no, she must have been mistaken. Yes, yes, she was mistaken. Five o’clock came and two of the four men were home. They could not wait to have dinner. How lovely dinner will be. It has been nearly a year since either one of them ate a pecan pie, particularly, a homemade pecan pie. Six o’clock came and the third man was there. Three sat at the table cooked for four. The son called and said, “Don’t wait for me mom, I’m tied up at work. I will be home soon. Let them enjoy their hot meal.” One man wonder aloud what the son could possibly be doing because he worked with him and had thought he was the last out, he was quite sure he had locked the gate and turned on the alarms. After midnight, the mother took the leftover out of the oven and put them into the refrigerator. His car’s headlights woke her up just before 4:00 am. He told her to go back to bed, he was not hungry, and they will talk in the morning. But when she woke up, he had already gone off to work.

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A woman’s son plays college football. His child’s mother just had his second baby. His mother and his children’s mother live on the East Coast. He plays college football on the West Coast. The first grandchild was a boy. The grandmother only lives two houses away from the little boy’s mother. Since the little boy’s mother just had another baby, a sister, the grandmother thought it would be a good time to take her grandson and visit her son since there was a big football game the coming weekend. She doesn’t have much money, but she has a friend who works for the airlines, so she can get last minute round trip tickets for around $200. Of course, she had to take her 15- year-old son as well, because he cannot seem to stay out of trouble and is presently on probation at school. After $600 for tickets, they arrive on the West Coast. She then rents a car and pays for one night in a hotel. She could have stayed with her son but he is sharing a two-bedroom apartment with five other football players and there really isn’t much room. Even though the initial plan was for her to turn the grandson over to his father while she and her 15-year-old son go to Hollywood and Santa Monica pier, she had to keep the little boy, because, dad had football business that he could not desert. To be on the West Coast by 8:00 am, they got up and headed for the airport at 2:00 am East Coast time. By 6:00 pm on the West Coast, it had been a very long day for this mother/grandmother. The son was now free from his football duties and wanted to take his mother (and brother, and son) around to other places. After all of their sightseeing was over, the adult son whined about being hungry, again. He had eaten at an all you can eat pancake buffet earlier in the day. The mother decided that they should go grocery shopping and then she would go back to his apartment and make him and his friends homemade spaghetti, or maybe lasagna, it depended on what pots and pans the men had. Around 2:00 am West Coast Time, 5:00 am East Coast Time, the meal was cooked and placed in the refrigerator for the men to enjoy the next day. The mother/grandmother then took her 15-year-old son and 3-year-old grandson to the hotel room and went to sleep. They needed their sleep for the next day, the day of the big game.

21 Comments
  1. October 16, 2010 10:03 am

    Ugh, these stories are sickening. I’m on my way out the door now, but I will definitely have more to say later.

  2. October 16, 2010 9:35 pm

    So far, seems like two EXCELLENT ways to “murder your boy-child” to me – is there more?

  3. October 16, 2010 9:43 pm

    If there’s not – all I see is an absolute “massacre” in store for the women dealing with them – Moms included.

  4. joankelly6000 permalink
    October 16, 2010 9:45 pm

    Knowing the common-ness of these types of stories is what depresses me the most. Any woman doing this, going through this? Fucking ugh-and-a-half. It being non-exceptional? Death can’t possibly be as dark a place as this.

  5. October 17, 2010 5:31 am

    These stories certainly make me want to bake and cook for someone I love – MYSELF. In my own house, while my (hypothetical) adult son is learning how to be a frickin adult somewhere far away instead of being a manbaby. Or screwing women besides his wife. If he did that, though, I might just kill his ass. And he wouldn’t get leftovers, either!

  6. theunmarrieddaughter permalink
    October 17, 2010 6:04 am

    I love food, and I love cooking. (Carmel Pear gingerbread cake is cooling as I type).I also love food blogs and cook a number of recipes from those blogs.

    But one thing on these blogs that absolutely infuriates me is how it is the women..and yes always the women who are like…”Oh, I am vegetarian but my (insert male relation here) hates green things and only eats brown gravy and mashed potatoes, what can i make that will satisfy both of us?”
    And the response is “oh, well try this and that for him” No one talks about how self-centered this guy is, or why the woman is responsible for what a grown man puts in his body. Oh no, she gets kudos for wanting to take care of the man-child.

    The one time I typed a response pointing out that this man was a grown up who could
    a)read cookbooks
    b) operate as stove
    c) cook his own damn gravy and mashed poatoes and hamburger
    d)drive himself to his own freaking angioplasty because he’s an idiot who can hold down a job and play complicated games on his Xbox but somehow becomes a helpless baby in the kitchen and can’t manage to open a bag of frozen vegetables and dump them in the boiling water

    Everyone jumped over me, because I didn’t get that it was the woman’s job to make the food and make sure he ate healthy.

    Anyway, just something sort of along the topic.

    • Liberate-her permalink
      October 17, 2010 9:51 pm

      ”Oh, I am vegetarian but my (insert male relation here) hates green things and only eats brown gravy and mashed potatoes, what can i make that will satisfy both of us?”
      And the response is “oh, well try this and that for him” No one talks about how self-centered this guy is, or why the woman is responsible for what a grown man puts in his body.

      YES! This. Ugh.

  7. Mary Sunshine permalink
    October 17, 2010 1:24 pm

    A female on this planet is required to be a feeder when she is no longer “marketable” as a fuckbot or breeder. She is otherwise accorded no social connection to the hetero-hegemony.

    • October 17, 2010 5:22 pm

      What a precise statement, Mary. It made me think of the movie “The Boat that Rocked,” renamed for the U.S as “Pirate Radio.” The only female on-board (at all times vs periodically, the females brought on board for sex/rape) is a lesbian cook. Since the movie is chock full of frat boy humor there are numerous jokes about her being a lesbian. I am thinking the whole time, how in the hell do I supposed to believe she is not raped. The men talk about little else but sex, and here she is, and it is in the 1960s when one was not so openly lesbian and if so, all the men (and I do mean all on the boat) or happily tolerant and supportive. Whatever.

    • October 18, 2010 1:06 am

      That’s exactly what I was thinking, Mary, that’s a way around being obsolete. I know a lot of women who don’t want to face up to the realization that their sons see them the same way every other man sees them – too familiar/old/ugly for fucking and therefore only useful as servants.

      And I’m not even talking about just adult sons, either. Even the youngest boys see their mothers as maids (not least because so many mothers of sons revel in that servitude).

    • Liberate-her permalink
      October 18, 2010 4:18 pm

      I think even daughters come to see their mothers as maids, which is why they have to develop a whole host of imaginary constructions that separate themselves from older/mother-type women if they value other things about themselves besides “maternal” qualities (if they are intellectual or talented in some sort of activity, like a sport, for example. Women that don’t feel good at anything will commonly accept themselves as their mothers for self-esteem–“oh, I am so maternal [which is where my ‘identity’ and self-esteem comes from!]). The reality of what’s really going on doesn’t hit those women (like me) until later (in my twenties).

      If the cognitive dissonance is extreme enough, and the thought process simplistic enough, she may even come to the conclusion that she must be a father-figure, not a mother-figure, in her soul to maintain this false separator between her and her mother.

      I valued myself and had high self-esteem growing up, so I rejected the internalized misogyny and the internalization of my mother. I never made the leap that I was innately male, though. But I did start hating performing female gender more and more the older I got, even though I reached a frustrating point when I realized in my teens I’d have to perform it to some extent if I ever wanted to have a sexual relationship with a man.

    • Liberate-her permalink
      October 18, 2010 4:20 pm

      The reality doesn’t hit the former type of women until later, I should have said–I mean, the ones who reject their mothers as themselves, and create an imaginary constructed difference between that KIND of women and herself.

    • October 19, 2010 4:23 am

      Yes, I think daughters do also see their mothers’ lowly social status, and either come to identify with it or reject it in ways. But, of course, it is one thing to realize that your mother’s status is, or one day will be, your own; it’s an entirely different thing to see your mother’s status as being entirely in service to yourself and others like you. The implications are very different for daughters than for sons.

      As a girl, I always wanted to see my mother rebel against the injustice. It was, and is, very disheartening never to see her muster that rebellion. It has certainly affected the relationship I have with her.

    • October 19, 2010 6:24 pm

      I had a similar experience with my mother – seeing her cater to the men in her life in this way made it hard to find a connection with her. Not only that, but I think that daughters are expected to cater to their brothers in the ways mothers do – I remember being told to give food from my plate to my brothers, being told to tidy up after them, even taking punches for my youngest brother when he was bullied in school.

    • Liberate-her permalink
      October 19, 2010 6:25 pm

      Exactly. Even rejecting girls internalize it to a degree, though they sort of act out against it. It’s intense denial. “Non-identification,” just like “identification,” is always a delusion.

  8. Edna permalink
    October 17, 2010 9:20 pm

    Stories like those are the best argument for separatism…and it doesn’t even have to be lesbian. What if we plowed all that energy back into each other?

    • Mary Sunshine permalink
      October 17, 2010 10:30 pm

      Edna: exactly!!!!

    • October 18, 2010 1:05 am

      I agree. If women collectively stopped metaphorically making our man-children dinner, and instead focused on taking care of ourselves and building up our own resources, we would be so much better off. Unfortunately that is much easier said than done.

  9. October 18, 2010 3:40 pm

    Heartbreaking. Yet so unremarkable, these stories. And we can all come up with similar stories, too, eh. When I was a small child, my mom had a frustrating day. She decided she was going to go on strike. She left the clean laundry on the table, and my brother and I had to eat our lunch surrounded by piles of the laundry she had asked us to fold and put away. My brother thumped his little fist on the table and exclaimed against the injustice. I cried and apologized to my mom, afraid of her anger and refusal to further cooperate with our entitlement.

    We’re grown-ups now. My brother is a good guy. He is loyal and attentive to Mom, who lives a few blocks away from him now. He drops in on her or calls every day, makes sure her car is tuned up and in good shape; brings her stuff she needs and invites her over for visits and dinner. He does not, however, cook, and has never done so. For a little over a year now he has had type two diabetes. He doesn’t eat vegetables, and when he married my sister-in-law, she had to learn how to cook “like Mom”. Except for the vegetables, he doesn’t much like vegetables. Did I mention he has type two diabetes?

    I am sure that it was all Mom could do to make sure her son grew up to be polite and respectful toward women, and to be loving and attentive to his partner and to Mom. He’s a man, though, and has that same sense of entitlement and fear of women that men have.
    sigh.

  10. October 19, 2010 8:48 am

    As a girl, I always wanted to see my mother rebel against the injustice. It was, and is, very disheartening never to see her muster that rebellion. It has certainly affected the relationship I have with her.

    Me too. My mom left my cheating, violent sperm donor after I was born to protect me; she kept our humble home almost entirely male-free until I was fifteen, and, whilst men preyed on me sexually outside the home from the age of four onwards, it made her very angry but never once surprised her. She also fought off a male intruder who broke in one night.

    At the same time, this is someone who lives and breathes for male approval, including having numerous plastic surgeries. Now that I’m an adult, she is constantly on at me to ‘tone down the man-hating’, and if I critique any of the very behaviours that she struggled so hard to anticipate and shelter me from, in a larger social context, that is just ‘exhausting’ for her.

    • Liberate-her permalink
      October 19, 2010 6:34 pm

      Sounds like she suffers from “learned helplessness,” a psychological condition which is pretty much indistinguishable from the woman/girl gender role. Transwomen, of course, don’t have this learned helplessness that is part and parcel of what it means to be a woman who had a misogynistic upbringing.

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