First and foremost, I'd like to say FUCK BETTY DRAPER. Not January Jones, the actress who plays her, who is possibly having Jason Sudeikis's love child--but her "Mad Men" alter ego who is perfect. For those of you who don't know, Betty Draper is the archetype of male fantasy, beautiful, accommodating and understanding in regard to her husband's extra-marital affairs, stylish, and the keeper of a flawless household. She can make a dry martini and a wet souffle with equal ease. Her pie crust is impeccable and flaky. And I can only assume, her nipples taste like a 12 year old Scotch. Thus, despite the fact that she doesn't exist, I feel I am in constant competition with her. As if it's a competition. I lose.
While it might seem insane to be threatened by an imaginary woman from a nostalgic TV show, let me tell you why I am. It's because men actually think such a woman exists--and even worse, other women actually think they should be such a woman. So the fact she doesn't exist and no one can be like her is irrelevant. For instance, my guy friend the other day was talking about how frustrated he was with his girlfriend and how all he wanted was to "find his Betty Draper." I said, "So basically a fem-bot?" And he smiled as if it was a big joke, and said, "yeah, actually." Another example of idiotic male fantasy, the country song, "The Perfect Girl," which list qualifications for the perfect girl:
She gotta be five foot eleven
She smells like heaven
She measures thirty six twenty four thirty seven
She got full intention of financially supporting me
She got some big ol' boobies
A countrified booty
And she don't get mad if I watch dirty movies
If anybody knows where the perfect girl might be
Won't you tell her bout me
Gross. So with this standard in place, no wonder I feel self-concious about being clumsy, loud, and chubby. I don't care if I sound feminazi, every woman in the world understands how much pressure there is to be that "perfect girl" instead of the real versions of ourselves, which according to public opinion are naggy, flabby, ball-busting bitches. Ever notice how many "My bitchy wife," commercials there are? It is every woman's ultimate fear to be that. I realized just how acutely I feel the pressure to be perfect and how absolutely inferior I felt to Betty Draper and all those like her this weekend when I was attempting to celebrate my boyfriend's birthday.
Firstly, I love birthdays. As a kid mine were always so special; the family room would be decorated with balloons and streamers, my mom would make a special breakfast with a candle in it, and I would have a pile of beautiful presents to open. I wanted to give Matt that feeling of birthday magic (especially since he's such a grumpy Gus about birthdays) so I tried really hard to buy nice gifts and took it upon myself to make sure everything went perfect. I also wanted to prove to him, that I could be domestic, because in the past I've been really nervous about cooking for him and things go wrong. Like the first time I ever made him dinner I sliced my hand with the knife while chopping onions. Or, another time I didn't drain the taco meat because the recipe SAID NOT TO and I had to defend myself to Matt, saying I knew that typically one drained the meat first. It's just my life. Mind you, I'm nervous in the first place because I know there's a rubric up to which I'm being held, the one that dictates all women worth anything can cook--preferably naked and in heels.
So anyway, back to Matt's birthday. He and I are trying to kind of eat healthier, so when I asked what kind of cake he wanted he said, "Angel Food." I had been planning on making something else, my mom's banana cake, so I sent my mom an e-mail saying I was just going to buy an angel food cake and I didn't need her banana cake recipe anymore. From my mom's respsonse, one would have thought I told her, "Surprise, I'm really a man!" My mom sent me back a disgusted e-mail saying, "Don't buy a cake! Just borrow a pan from someone, use the Betty Crocker Mix, cut the cake into layers (dental floss works best!) and fill it with whipped cream and berries!" As if this was the most natural thing in the world. Like really, I can't just buy a cake and put strawberries and cool-whip on top?
So my mom basically shamed me into making an actual semi-homemade masterpiece for my boyfriend. The next few pictures will illustrate how this went:
|Every domestic goddess knows Angel Food Cake cools upside-down on a bottle--in my case however, I had to chug the last of the wine's contents.|
|With the cake intact and cooled, I attempted to start cutting with my dental floss....|
|I then added my blueberry, banana, and whipped cream filling. Layer by Layer.|
|Tada! The end result is this lopsided monstrosity. Shit.|
So much for my culinary prowess. It tasted AMAZING but I was actually really humiliated to serve it to any living human because it looks like Michael J. Fox did the frosting.
So... I was already feeling like a complete female fuck-up, but I reasoned, "I also made potato salad and it turned out picture perfect. I can redeem myself." Nooooooope. As I was leaving to go to Matt's, I banged the glass dish against the door as I was juggling my purse and keys and the cake and the potatoes, and the glass dish shattered. Since typically people don't like shredded glass with their roasted potatoes, I had to throw it out for fear of it cutting up Matt and I's intestines if we ate it. So let's take birthday inventory, shall we? One lopsided cake and some inedible glass-laden potato salad. Watch out, Martha!
I was really upset and I felt like I really let Matt down. I worked so hard to make his birthday special and it was a disaster. He couldn't understand why I was so upset about things, because in his mind, the only thing that mattered about the cake was how it tasted and we didn't need the potatoes. For those of you guys reading this...imagine something essentially and fundamentally male about you failing to operate as it should. I don't know, something very symbolic of your own masculinity, not getting off the ground the way you intended (Ok, for those not catching on I'm talking about some E.D. issues). That's how I felt, my fundamental femaleness (cooking skills) had failed. Translation: I had failed as a women.
Over dramatic? Maybe. But my take on this whole situation? If the stupid, sadistic Giadas and Betty Drapers in the world didn't make every other woman feel so domestically inferior, and if there wasn't all this pressure to the perfect domestic woman, I wouldn't have felt less-than for just buying a stupid cake at Kroger and getting ore-ida french fries.