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.