In which my femininity does not suffer

We grew this.
We grew this.

I am the lax gardener in this household. But I did grow that succulent little watermelon in the photo above. (And by “grow,” I mean plant the seedlings way too close together and leave them to their own devices for two months and then take credit for the beautiful harvest.) We had it for lunch yesterday and it was perfect.

Guion, it turns out, is the better homemaker. He is the champion gardener. He is the master chef. He is the kitchen sink doctor. And I am perfectly OK with him being all of these things. My femininity does not suffer a whit.

I thought it would. When we were first married, I wanted to follow those traditional Southern-woman housekeeping roles. I had to be the better cook. I had to have this instinctive green thumb. I had to fold hand towels in thirds. If I couldn’t or didn’t, I would be a bad wife. Many women imply this, even today. They see this 1950s housekeeping mold as The Gold Standard of matrimony and domestic living: The proper wife stays home, gardens, tidies rooms, makes 95% of the food (leaving only the grilling and the slicing of meats to the husband); the proper husband goes to work, mows the lawn, and fixes broken appliances. These are the roles and you stick to them.

This, obviously, is a fading archetype in modern America. And yet I wanted to follow it. Sometimes, when I do spend time with family (particularly my maternal side of the family), I feel like the lesser wife, the domestic failure. I was raised, after all, by and among these paragons of domestic virtue, the hostesses of wide repute, the kitchen gourmets of local renown. And so it is astonishing to my relatives that my husband is the one in the kitchen, whipping up some chutney from the tomatoes he grew in the backyard. Isn’t that women’s work? The men in my family can barely wash a dish, much less follow a complex English recipe from produce they harvested. And here is my hard-working, housekeeping husband, the culinary trailblazer. He is pure mystery to them all. They stare at him with bemused wonder.

I have always thought that my attainment of true womanhood, of authentic femininity would lie in my inherent ability to whip up a pound cake, hem a skirt, and grow daffodils. I cannot do any of these things. I despise DIY home decor projects. I cannot improvise a marinade. I have never learned how to cut a man’s hair myself. And for the first time in our marriage, I am not ashamed to admit any of these things. I do not feel like a lesser woman or a bad wife anymore.

All this to say: I don’t know what kind of wife I am. I am not the traditional model. But I do know that I found myself a very, very good husband. And we make it work.

I still really want a dog

Kelsey and Alex are coming to spend the night before they dash off to Virginia Beach to run a half-marathon together. Cute. (One of the many differences in our approaches to dating… exercise did not equal romance to us.) Regardless, can’t wait to see my little Spartans!

Kelsey keeps talking about playing speed Scrabble with us tonight. I think this is because she knows she’s going to kill all of us in it. Even though I am generally known in the family as the resident wordsmith, Kelsey is generally known for being smarter than everyone–and she OWNS at word games. My dad does, too. The two of them compete like fiends over the weekly word jumble in the paper. Blood may have literally been shed over the last Boggle match. So, it’ll be an interesting night. For sure.

Back to the exercise comment. I feel very vindicated by this article: Why Going to the Gym Is a Waste of Money, Time, and Resources. They also cite that Time magazine article that came out a number of months ago, which says basically the same thing: that what we eat is way more important than what we do on the treadmill. Not that exercise isn’t important–it’s just not the cure-all for poor health and obesity. Something my wise mother has been telling us for years.

But my wise mother is also Superwoman, so it’s kind of unfair to be taking advice from her. She works out every day, eats tons of stuff from the earth, grows a killer garden, and teaches full-time. And she’s super HOT. Probably the most unfair thing in the world is when your 51-year-old mother is better looking than you are at 22. 22! This is supposed to be IT! Sigh. C’est la vie.

Still. I’ve been craving some physical activity lately. I’ve been paranoid ever since I read that article about people who sit for more than six hours a day (titled, cheerfully, “The Longer You Sit, the Earlier You Die”). Gah! I need to get a job wrangling wild horses or running a daycare for boys with ADHD or SOMETHING. I try to get up and walk around and stretch at my desk. The morning yoga has helped.

I should actually try running, though. It’s just… it’s still hard enough for me to get up at 6 a.m. every morning. Imagining getting up at 5 a.m. is another thing entirely. And it’s not like I’d be getting up to eat a bowl of blackberries and sip a cup of tea with a novel… I’d be getting up to RUN. No motivation there. This is why we need a dog. If we had a dog, Guion and Joy-Crushing Landlord*, we’d have to be active every day. I just want a sweet dog I can walk around Charlottesville. But that, unfortunately, is neither here nor there. For right now. (Also because the dogs I want are notably unsuited for semi-urban life.)

Also, this is great. I just died laughing when I read the caption. Maybe it’s not that funny, but it was to me today, chained to a desk in a taupe cubicle.

Monday Snax will be Tuesday Snax this week, because of that glorious, mourn-the-loss-of-the-summer holiday, Labor Day–or, as we now call it, Belmontonia Day. Maybe I’ll take some photos of our house’s annual hipster soiree?

See you then, chickies.

(*Our landlord is not actually a joy-crusher. He’s just being a responsible property owner. We think he’s a great landlord. Hi, Mike!)