Last night, I decided to make chocolate chip cookies (the natives rejoiced). I used to bake cookies on a regular basis. Due to a combination of lack of time and acknowledgement that, as the only adult home all day, I was consuming the majority of them, I just don’t make them very often anymore. But, there was a very long period of time in my life where making chocolate chip cookies did not require pulling out a recipe because I could do it without even thinking about it.
As I looked at my recipe and made my cookies last night, I started thinking about a guy that I dated shortly before Sean came back from serving a two year mission in Hungary. I was twenty-one at the time, and was enjoying the most active dating life of my entire existence. Jared and I went to church together. He was a nice guy with a really outgoing personality. He was creative the first time he asked me out (he rewrote Where the Wild Things Are to ask me on a date to the zoo). He was likable.
I don’t remember exactly how it started, but on our first date he told me that since he had taken me out to dinner, I needed to cook dinner for him. I kind of brushed it off. Our second date, we went bowling. He decided that we would be playing for dinner–as in, if I lost, I had to cook one for him. Umm, see a theme developing? I did. And I suddenly felt less like I was out having fun and more like I was auditioning for the position of Future Happy Homemaker. I honestly suspect that some man in his life at some point had cautioned him not to get serious about a girl until he knew if she could cook. Because, you know, you don’t want to be stuck for eternity eating Hamburger Helper.
Here’s the thing–I can cook (although I confess to the occasional lazy pleasure of a box with a smiling glove on it). Frankly, in addition to those cookies that I could have whipped up off the top of my head, I can put together some pretty tasty (and even healthy) meals. It really wouldn’t have been a big deal to cook for him. There was just no freaking way that I was going to. I wasn’t going to let him pester me into feeling like I had to prove myself as a woman to him.
If memory serves me, I was careful to never outright lie to Jared about my cooking abilities. I just let him make his own assumptions. And he made those assumptions to the point that he quickly decided that I was incapable of even boiling the water to make a box of macaroni and cheese. After a few more dates, I was convinced that I wasn’t interested in auditioning and he was convinced that I was completely inept in the kitchen. We stopped dating.
A few months later, he was engaged to another girl. I’m guessing she cooked him dinner on the first date.