I made dinner tonight for the bf and his dad. His mom has been told by the doctor to have a cure at a thermal spring. So she’s gone for three weeks. Poor guys hanging out, not exactly helpless, but not really capable of cooking spaghetti either, or even scrambled eggs. Ah Greek men, what can you do?
Yesterday I wasn’t done with work til nearly 8, and I looked at my phone and notice two very hungry-looking missed calls at around 6pm from the bf. When he picked me up from work he was a bit dejected that I got off too late to cook, like a boy whose ice cream had just fallen off the cone, and miserably informed me he had eaten a tasteless frozen pizza. In fact, he later rooted around my fridge to try to get the taste out of his mouth. At least I had beer and an eggplant spread he likes, but HORROR no bread.
Well I took the responsibility upon myself. I don’t like hearing that they are surviving on doner kebab, frozen pizza, fast food, white bread and whatever extra his very pregnant sister can whip together. I don’t need to feed his dad, per se. Certainly no one asked or expects me to, but I can’t very well feed the bf and leave poor dad out of it.
It’s a community mindset. You know I’m relieved to see that all the things I had to learn and for lack of a better word, put up with, in my weird so-called Greek life are finally paying off. It’s been years and years of study. I don’t just mean growing up in the Greek Orthodox Church, cause for all my years there, it only taught me the tip of the iceberg of cultural information I possess now. I mean all that time in Greece, watching, the friends who were so strange but so familiar, the language that never seems to be uttered at anything softer than a joyful roar, the food, which is at once comforting and exquisite and not to forget my going on two years of after-school English lessons, Greek style.
I guess the next natural step is the whole dating a Greek guy. What’s funny in all this, ok, yes my childhood in Greek Fest and Sunday School and folk dance certainly led me here, BUT I am actually of the opinion that it’s the Greeks who are following me.
This morning in the market, who do I see in the square on my way to work, but a whole gaggle of my students. I walk two more feet and a few men are having a rousing discussion in Greek at the cafe above me. After work, the same route, more Greek is trailing off behind me. I am constantly jerking my head around to see if these are my students. Whenever the bf and I travel or do some sightseeing, I’ll be the first to say psst, on your left. Before the Greek syllables burst forth into the stillness of the bus or train or museum. When I take the train, who will sit down across from me, but noisy Greek kids or a Greek man explaining loudly his whole tedious life story?
It’s quite amusing for my bf. I told him in the beginning that I would have met him eventually, even if we hadn’t met that one time in a cafe after church, and he had the nerve to laugh it off as me being romantic. But oh he doesn’t doubt me now. I am a Greek magnet. Probably most of you know personally, but hey just for the sake of the interwebs, my job teaching Greek children came hurtling out of the blue, in the form of my friend’s house guest happening to buy a paper, my friend happening to looking at the want-ads that mentioned only wanting a native speaker in my city, passing it on to me and me nonchalantly sending out a quick email.
I am a magnet for the Greeks, but we’ll debate this another time.
Anyway back to cooking today. There is no pressure, but as I said after all these years, I just know what I have to do. His parents already like me, but they will worry about their son less if I do certain things, so I do these certain things. Today that was sending food over. And I do it happily, to make them happy. His parents make practically no demands of me and look after me so I really like making them happy.
Then I called up the bf to say he could inform his dad not to eat any junk today. Ha! He loved it. He loves any excuse for me to take care of him more. I prepped the veggies; it’s a great recipe. I love my oven potatoes, but I love so many more vegetables than that! What’s great is that this can be instantly modified for whatever ingredients are on hand. I’m going to play around with ratios til I achieve oven potato perfection.
By the time the veggies were nearly finished, I had smashed up the pork for schnitzel and I was just about to put the schnitzel in the pan, the bf rang and I let him in. He went straight past me, sniffing in excitement. Maybe he just wanted to get home and changed from his work clothes, but he couldn’t keep still. He debated whether he should call his dad or not, and once he finally did, learned his dad was waiting for him to go get a kebab. But was instantly excited and also made fun of me a bit asking if I could make schnitzel by myself or not.
My bf was grinning for the both of them. I made him wrap up everything in tin foil. Then he bounded out the door thanking me about 20 times and looking like he had won the lottery. I closed the door with a ridiculous grin on my face.
And that to me is worth all my effort. Cause I’m not implying that I’d happily be a domestic slave to a guy. Cooking relaxes me. Trying out new recipes stretches my creativity and I love giving things and I love that someone I love gets so much joy out of something I’ve made.
I want his dad to be pleased for him and I want the bf to be proud of me and himself. These are family values. I guess it seems weird sometimes from all the other messages that modern society throws at us. But because he doesn’t demand or even expect it, I make more of an effort. With him it’s cooking. I guess with other guys it might be something different. I don’t think it’s so backwards as feminists revolting against kitchen enslavement would like us to believe.
At any rate I also don’t understand what all this rush is about. Everyone’s after me to either get married or move-in together. One of my acquaintances (Greek) ironed all of her bf’s shirts and cooked and spooned out his meals on his plate, cause the tasted better. Man I’ve got enough stuff going on to worry about that for someone who might never take that next step with me. I’ve wasted enough time on people who are no longer in my life (subject for next time) to use all my spare time looking after someone who’s essentially a roommate. Marriage isn’t the fairy tale movies insist it is, but for those of us who believe in it, it’s a serious commitment and it should mean something.
And besides that really anti-emancipated opinion, I’d also like the anticipation to build. It should be change to look forward to. It should be something special, to join your life with the person you love. The waiting and build-up are often times better than the thing itself. I wouldn’t have any problem with the bf going home today and thinking hopefully that once we’re together, I’ll cook every night. I won’t but what’s wrong with imagining all the wonderful possibilities of something you are just starting to realize you want. Can’t I pretend for a while that our whole lives will be perfect and happy before I have to deal with reality? Why must every single thing in our modern life come instantaneously? I’m fed up with instant gratification. Meat tastes better when you’ve fasted all of Lent. The wait for Christmas and holiday good feeling is obliterated in a 15 minute present frenzy. Thanksgiving dinner tastes better when you’ve been smelling it all morning. I want to enjoy the moment that the two of us are at, without being pestered by other people’s ideas about what we need to do to be a good couple.
And right now the moment I love is the ecstatic little boy face my bf makes when I cook for him.