A heat wave had crashed into our beloved Toledo, leaving us sweat-soaked and grumpy all week – I even let Betsy turn the air conditioning on. Thursday was an especially busy day, and when we got back to the apartment, we crashed into our beloved couch and chair.
Then the rain started.
We made a dry potato soup (recipe forthcoming) and sat on the porch to eat. The food was good – warm, uncomplicated, spooned from my grandfather’s bowls, comforting. The rain cooled the air and our bare toes curled around the wet stone porch steps. We laughed and reminisced (already?) about how much we’ve grown in the past month.
We’re planning to write a cookbook, and we talked about how to market the book to everyone, not just thin, vegan, environmentalist, outdoorsy women.
“Guys have to be able to cook from this, too,” I said.
“There’s nothing unmanly about cooking,” Betsy said. Her boyfriend is a stellar cook, from what I hear.
“Right, but there’s a difference a young, respectable Italian man and a big, muscular football player who probably smokes pot.”
Just then, the door opened – we both jumped. We turned around and saw a big, muscular guy with a cutoff gray T-shirt.
“Scared you guys, huh?” he said, and (I bet his little brother adores him) smiled.
A Cottage Inn van pulled up, and we watched the guy pay for the contents of the white Styrofoam box he now held. He turned and came back toward the building as the Cottage Inn van drove away.
“Hey,” said Betsy, just before he reached the door.
He turned around.
“Do you think it’s unmasculine to cook vegetables?”
He smiled and gestured a little with his free hand. “Well, me, I don’t really like vegetables,” he said.
“No, no, but what if they were really good?” Betsy and I were both saying something along these lines. “What if they were really, really good?”
He smiled (I bet he loves his little brother) and nodded a bit, ready to go back inside.
“Do you think,” Betsy clarified, “if a guy cooks vegetables, does that make him less manly? If they were really good vegetables, I mean. Is that beyond gender?”
Neither of us is really sure what he said after that. He mumbled something maybe, still smiling (I bet his little brother is really annoying) and went inside to enjoy his Styrofoam-box dinner from Cottage Inn.
I looked at Betsy. “Beyond gender”?
Score one for the Hillsdale Bubble.