What’s cooking in your cross-gender relationships?
Rob is frustrated with Celia and her limited employment prospects as a music teacher, and the stress is beginning to get to him.
Celia had made tuna casserole, salad, and bread for dinner. Her schedule as a piano teacher was more erratic during summer, but since many kids had their lessons during the day, Celia was home more often in the evenings than during the school year. As a bachelor Rob had not minded living alone and coming home to an empty apartment, but since he was married it seemed fair to expect his wife to be there on occasion.
“This looks great,” he said, as Celia lifted a gooey-cheesy slab onto his plate.
That a meal was his fair due this felt vaguely Neanderthal even as he thought it, but he had been having some interesting conversations with Lucy at work lately. Lucy believed (and stated rather straightforwardly) that part of her “job” with her boyfriend Rocco was to “service him regularly” by preparing meals, giving massages, keeping his beer brand in her refrigerator, and being sexually adventurous. That some of these conversations were awkward for Rob did not detract from their fascination. He was not sure how Lucy accomplished all this while living with her parents, but for all of her big hair, throaty voice and thigh-high boots, she was really a practical person. If something made the people in her life happy, she did it, because if they were happy so was she.
“And they do nice things for me too,” she said. Turning back to her workstation she laughed quietly at a private thought, presumably about some return on her investment Rocco had provided.
Visions of Rocco and Lucy and their extramarital servicing of one another did not help Rob in his struggles with Celia. It was not fair to directly compare the two women he spent time with daily, but Celia, with her ethnically neutral recipe file and insubstantial earning power, seemed slight. It did not help that she seemed nervous as she sat across from him and served herself.
Rob tried to summon some empathy for his wife, who was shattered that she could not find full-time work in her field as a music teacher.
“I’m glad you like it,” Celia said about the food. “I would love a job with regular hours, so we could do this every day.”
“Lucy cooks for Rocco every night,” Rob said. “He loves this really garlicky lasagne so she chops up all this garlic and onion and sautés it in olive oil with a little sea salt and mixes it in with the ricotta”—
Celia was looking at Rob with a mix of surprise and dismay.
“Lucy really likes to cook, so she talks about it all the time,” he said, explaining his newfound interest in the rudiments of cooking.
“What else does Lucy talk about?” Celia asked. He could tell she did not like the idea.
What does Rob say?