In my bid to achieve absolute equality in my relationship, I think I may have tipped the scales to over-balance.
And no, they have not over-corrected, but sent me sailing right out, domestic-chore weightless, into the breeze of indulgence.
I realised this last week when I cooked dinner for the GL. Yes, of course I have cooked for him before, I’m reticent to say many times, but indeed, a few.
Last week though I cooked two meals – one for him with meat and one for me, without meat. This is something he does very frequently. This was the first time I had done so.
I had pasta, with burnt onions and overcooked veggies. He had steak, seasoned with pepper and salt, cooked to medium, and accompanied by mash with garlic. All made by me. Bought by me. Returned home by me. And then made by me. I said that already.
It was a first: the first time I had ever cooked him meat, just for him.
We were both so impressed and surprised it had actually occurred, I don’t think we really knew what to say about my culinary feat the entire evening. Instead, he rubbed my back, sprouted with thank yous, while I grinned with glee and stared repeatedly at my most functional, able hands.
While we (he) digested the meal and I topped up by grazing on chocolate, I tried to convince myself this had surely happened before.
Mid-way through a Boost chocolate bar I realised, no, it most certainly had not.
In my feminist quest for balance, for equality, for fairness and the sisterhood, I had sailed right through the giving side of the relationship and surfaced at a point where I cooked less, cleaned less, washed clothes less, bought less and organised less. It was a rather fabulous position to uphold, but one I now found myself questioning.
How on earth did I get there, to a moment of first meat meal, five years in and importantly, what did it say about me?
Years ago, when we thought of Steve and not Nick ‘underbracks’ when we heard the surname Bracks, I read an article in which Steve Bracks had been asked his opinion of an all-female gathering of Ladies of the Victorian Labor Party (LOTVLP).
He said something similar to the following: it’s a nice chance for the LOTVLP to get together; that it wasn’t a case of reverse sexism; that it was a wonderful opportunity for women of the LOTVLP to band together. Or something like that.
The above is not exact and may well be glossed with my particular memory and meaning filters. Nevertheless, it’s what I took away and recalled as I finished that Boost bar.
Yes, of course, things were not quite equal in
my our home. Things may have tipped to my favour. But, and it’s a decent-sized but, it’s been a long-time coming for women to get it so easy in the home and why shouldn’t I be the one to take it to advantage? As those LOTVLP enjoyed the chance to mingle, to network, to share and cajole, they also nurtured camaraderie and it was something Bracks senior could recognise as being of great value.
I’m not sure I deserve such credit, but I have potentially nurtured, most likely struck gold, with my current arrangement and I hope it will be one to inspire others to sit back, put their feet up and watch as their partner takes responsibility, takes a plate, and takes an interest in what are tasks too often left to the lady of the relationship.