Domestically Disinclined

I told a lie this week, and I’m still thinking about it. 

I was in a training, and the facilitator used the following strategy to pair us up with someone new: 

“Think about a typical work week—Monday through Friday. Of those five days, how many days would you estimate that you DON’T cook? Perhaps you order in or get take out. Hold up that many fingers. Then stand up and find someone at another table with the same number of fingers as you.” 

I did a quick scan of the room, and everyone around me was holding up either zero or one fingers. A couple of people—looking sheepish—held up two fingers. 

Instantly, I felt shamed. 

What about eating an orange for dinner? Does that count as not cooking? 

What if I stop for a venti latte on the way home and then I’m not hungry for dinner until it’s too late to cook dinner and so I skip it? Does the latte count as take out? 

If the take out is healthy food—like a salad—does it still count as take out? 

There was no time for these types of clarifying questions. 

I held up two fingers—obviously an underestimation of the number of nights in a week that I do not cook. 

Even though no one else knew I was fabricating my answer—and even though I realized it did not matter—I felt judged.

Even though I live alone, and so no one else suffers on the nights I opt out of cooking, I felt pressure to pretend cooking is part of my weeknight routine. (What is that??)

There was only one male in the room, and I didn’t notice how he responded, but later I thought about how gender might be playing into my reaction. Would I feel this same way if I were a single man? Would a single man be embarrassed to admit that he doesn’t enjoy (or have time for) cooking, if that were the case?

I may have to simmer a bit on that one.

It’s March, so I’m participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge with my colleagues at Two Writing Teachers Blog. Join us!


  1. evarkaplan

    You wrote such a creative slice on a topic that I often wonder about. If I lived alone I’d do the same thing as you on nights that you choose an alternative dinner. When you have others depending on you, you are forced to think about dinner in the morning (defrost) and prepare in the evening. It gets routine and BORING. Sometimes I just want to eat a bag of popcorn and call it a night. So consider yourself lucky that you don’t even have to do takeout to feel like you’re having take out! (BTW: taking in a salad for dinner counts as takeout!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski

    It’s amazing how the things we think might be creative ice breakers do end up leaving people out or making people feel a sense of shame they needn’t feel. I appreciated this post and your honesty about the lie you told. It made me think more about how we need to be thoughtful about these types of activities.

    Liked by 1 person

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