It was late Saturday morning, Memorial Day weekend, and we were at all home, puttering. The kids were upstairs doing their thing, and Jenny was at the kitchen table, her face buried in her MacBook. I opened the refrigerator, and then the freezer.
“We have any butter?” I asked.
Jenny looked up. “Why?”
“I think I’m gonna make some snickerdoodles with the girls,” I said.
“No, you’re not,” she said.
“You can’t make snickerdoodles,” she said. She actually looked serious about this. ”And you definitely can’t write about it.”
“What are you talking about?” I said.
“Snickerdoodles?” God, just the way she pronounced the word: chilling. “I just can’t let you do that. Too emasculating.”
I’m not going to get too deep into the subtext here, or any latent impressions Jenny may or may not have about men who bake — let alone bake snickerdoodles – but let’s just say it felt a little like the person I love very much and with whom I have had two children, was calling my sh#t out. Like, seriously? A guy wants to do something fun with the kids on a sleepy Saturday morning, and he gets hazed by his wife? The thing is, there’s a lot you do as a parent — or, okay, as a father of two daughters — that carries an unmistakable whiff of the surrender-monkey to it. Printing out and memorizing the lyrics to Lady Gaga’s new single: that would definitely be one of those things. Enduring Ryan Seacrest in silence: yup. Nursing a lifelong grudge against musical theater and yet pretending, without complaint, to be Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music when it is called for*. Getting a (small, cute) dog and naming it Iris. Applying toenail polish (no smudges!) in rainbow colors on one tiny foot, and then doing the other tiny foot in the opposite color progression. Over the past several years, I’ve done all those things and so, so much worse and — apologies in advance to all the bros out there who may be reading this — the truth is, I never really gave any of it a second thought. Don’t you kind of check your manly bona fides at the door when you have kids? I mean, isn’t that part of the point?
Given all this, was making a batch of cookies so bad?
“Yeah, I don’t know,” she said. “I don’t think I can be married to a guy who makes snickerdoodles.”
She is now married to a guy who makes snickerdoodles. (more…)