I went to a presentation last week, the topic, “We Are Losing Our Young Men.”
The speaker talked about how boys these days are growing up without the thirst for first place, they're becoming complacent with second, that they're now crying in baseball. That men today are just not what they used to be.
I almost raised my hand, almost asked about today's young women, where they are, what type of state are they in, how do they compare to my mother's generation, hell even his mother’s generation.
I almost raised my hand, but didn't, I realized I didn’t care what he had to say. I got caught up in a film-reel of Disney classics and Mother Goose picture books read over a soundtrack of, “What do you want to be when you grow up? What do you want to be when you grown up?” stuck skipping.
I thought about the first things we teach young girls, what they dream about before going to bed, the role models we give them. We tell them they can all be princesses and to dream of fairy godmothers. We give them Cinderella, tell them there's no hardship a rich husband can't solve. We give them Belle-Beast relationships, and we fail to mention that if a man is an animal, do not kiss him harder or love him longer, you leave and don’t go back no matter how much he says he’s changed. We show them Snow White, teach them men will only love them for their beauty, teach them women will hate them for it. We give them Ariel, encourage them to give up their passions and talents and family to the first guy that promises them love. We give them Prince Charming rescues, kisses that awake them from eternal sleep. We do not tell them when they should become wary of slick mouths with a penchant for vulnerable women. I guess they're meant to figure it out on their own.
And we wonder why society is obsessed with the Kardashians.
The film reel stopped. I wanted to raise my hand then, wanted to give this pompous speaker my own two cents and tell him I’m not totally buying this whole “earnest, honest, father like figure” who wants us to “seize our potential” act. His talk has been aimed at the fraternity men that paid him to be here.
I want to raise my hand and address my fellow “modern women,” but when I turned there were only six females in attendance. So that’s why the joke about his wife got such a poor response.
Had they been there I would have stood on my chair and told them this- One day we’ll be mothers, raising little girls of our own. Throw away your fairy tales and grab yourself a cookbook. Sit down at the edge of the bed and open to the dog-eared page. Tell them, “yes, you are made of sugar and all things nice, but you have this inside of you,” and point her to the bay leaves. Tell her how she has traveled from Russia to India to France. Give her black mustard, perfume made with caraway. Teach her the history of chicory, its medicine, its bitterness. Give her licorice. Give her tarragon. Show the vanilla that runs through her veins, the lavender. Teach her wasabi and her ability to make men weak from her strength. Paint her lips red in celebration of cayenne. Make her a *** of puttanesca, have her taste the oregano, the parsley. Tell her about the recipe for the rub of a pork shoulder that’s been guarded for generations. The black pepper, the white pepper, the cumin. Celebrate her complexity, the bitterness paired with sweet, the anise and marjarom, the cayenne, who cannot help but cry at the overpoweringness of cayenne. Show her the history of nutmeg, her trek through the Sudan, Egypt, Italy. Give her the religions she spread, the languages she introduced to India. Show her the slaves that worked for her discovery, the passages she created. Give her the empires she built, the ones she flattened.
Tear down the castles and open the spice drawer.
Paint her lips cayenne.