Let’s be real shall we. If you’re a woman, you really do have to learn how to cook. There’s really no getting around that and yes indeed by golly there is a huge double standard between men and women on this issue.
When a man doesn’t know how to cook, no one really thinks of him as a failure as a man. When a man can cook, he gets bonus points for it. For a woman though, the inability to cook kind of marks her as deficient as a woman, certainly by the time she has kids there’s a major expectation that she knows what she’s doing in a kitchen reasonably well. If she wants bonus points for raw cooking ability, she needs to cook very well.
And don’t get me wrong on this one either – I’ve advised men to learn to cook multiple times on the blog and pages 54 and 55 in The Primer advise it as well. Men really should know how to cook, it’s not really a task that either sex have a clear advantage at over the other. It’s just that the whole home and hearth thing runs very deep in the culture and frames you as the default choice for cooking. I’m sorry about that, it’s not my fault, I’m just explaining how it works.
So the questions for women are: (1) “If I’m not really going to get many points for cooking, and can only lose points for not being able to cook, how can I not get taken advantage of and lumbered with the task of cooking every meal forever?” (2) “Okay he just told me to go make him a sandwich like I’m his bitch and I don’t think that was any version of playful gaming, just him being an asshole so what should I do I do about that?”, and (3) “No really, this is bullshit! If I have to be the kitchen queen, I want a way to earn points for cooking.”
So lets deal with (1) first. One approach is to take the long term view and say “I don’t mind leading in this area, but we’re going to spend the rest of our life together, and it’s just too long of a time to do it all myself, I’m just going to start hating you for it and that’s going to be lose-lose.” Then you slowly teach him how to cook. For most guys that can’t cook, it’s not that they are against it, they just had a lifetime of being told to get out of the kitchen. Now that they are grown, it’s embarrassing to even admit they are beyond useless in the kitchen.
So start small. Show him how to make pasta. It’s near impossible to screw up. Then once he gets pasta down, do another meal, and so on. If he only learns a new meal a month, after a year he can make twelve different things. And lets face it, most of us really only make about 12 different dinners over and over anyway. Then you figure out together what the ratio of nights cooking is for the two of you.
Another idea is to to actually take him to the supermarket when he’s skilling up cooking. You’d be surprised at how more interested in cooking a guy can be if he can actually pick out the food that he wants to cook. Then having picked it out, he’s already committed to cooking it later in the week… which sidesteps an argument later on about his need to cook one night. “The beef you picked out needs to be cooked today or tomorrow before it goes bad.” If you do this routine, never cook the food he picked out, unless you want to have the chef job forever.
Make sure you reward him as well. You reward the behavior you want to see continue, so while he may not be an Iron Chef just yet, if he’s trying and gaining skill, then that’s progress. So verbally praising him works, touching him when he’s cooking works (arm touches and back rubs) and obviously you can have sex with him too. That last one may seem a little devious and evil, but if you’re basically both comfortable with sex three times a week, and two of those three times just happens to match up to his two nights to cook… well whats the problem with that? He’ll just think that my advice for using Cooking Game is working… so just lay back and let the pussy do the work.
In terms of Jennifer and myself, I could cook when we married, Jennifer not so much. We’ve been together sixteen years and we both can cook far better now that we did. At first I played the role of teacher, but that’s all far in the past now. Neither one of us is stellar, but we’re both quite functional and good at it. Overall though, Jennifer just started assuming control of the kitchen and she cooks more than I do. We usually shop for food together and we plan meals on the fly in the supermarket based on what’s on sale and what she has coupons for. It’s a game for us now.
Okay… so question (2) where he tells you to go make him a sandwich and is being an ass about it. Just ignore the request, he’s just testing you. Just say “Get your own sandwich” and walk away. The other option is that you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, cut the crusts off, put apple juice in a sippy cup and just be done with it. Tit for Tat.
And on to answering (3)… “How can I get points for cooking?”
The key here is to understand that cooking – for both men and women – is a Beta skill. So it’s about building relationship comfort rather than sexual attraction. Your cooking will not make his cock hard unless you’re shoving a viagra tab into a piece of cheese and calling him over. So to win points with cooking, you need to cook something that is going to go beyond just a meal on the table, and actually trigger him feeling warm fuzzies about whatever it is that he’s eating.
The simple trick here is just to ask him what his favorite foods are and then purposely work them into the rotation. You just frame that you personally may not be excited by this particular food, but you know that he is, and it’s for that reason that you are making this particular dish. It’s not really about the food. It’s about showing him that you want to please him, for no other reason than that you like him. It’s that attitude and emotional behind the food that creates the relationship comfort. Sometimes you have those special Christmas or Thanksgiving dishes that he loves that you never make the rest of the year. So why not bust one out in April?
Sometimes those favorite dishes are special or ethnic foods that you can make. For example I’m from New Zealand and the humble sausage roll is a traditional New Zealand party staple. I went about ten years without eating a sausage roll before I off hand mentioned them as something that I missed. Since then I’ve had a fair number of sausage rolls courtesy of Jennifer and I always eat too many. I always love her just a little more each time she makes them.
The other way to build relationship comfort with cooking, is to pay attention to him at times he’s getting hungry when he’s working too hard or too long. Back in the pre-kid days when I was working double shifts, Jennifer would fairly often stop by my work with food and a kiss. During the long drag of writing and editing I very frequently would lose track of time and on several occasions she brought me sandwiches. It’s not really about the Turkey Club BLT though, it’s more about her saying “Go you!” with a Turkey Club BLT.
Of course if all else fails. Just squirt Reddi-Whip on your boobs and ask him if he wants pie.