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She Said, Z Said: Meatheads, and the Thrill of the Grill
She: So what’s the deal with men and grilled meats?
Z: I’m a man. I like grilled meat.
She: Yes but you also like to grill the meat, as in take actual action to make it into food. Don’t you find that rather odd?
Z: There’s fire. There’s meat. I don’t understand why you’re confused.
She: You’ve never had an inclination to make anything else become food. What it is about men and barbecuing?
Z: You can’t see the fire or the meat when it’s inside an oven. How would that be fun?
She: No matter what the male/female division is of every other household task, in every family I know the man is the one to rule the barbecue. My dad — who until about a year ago didn’t even know where the salt was stored in his very own kitchen cabinets — totally rules the barbecue. I don’t understand it at all.
Z: It’s evolutionary.
She: So men are just natural-born meatheads?
Z: We’re hunters, killers and even cookers when that involves standing around with beers and poking at something meaty with something sharp.
She: Exactly. Why? Every time we go to a party the men all stand around and stare at whatever’s cooking on the barbecue. I’ve never seen so much backseat grilling going on. I’d bet anything that back in the cavemen days the men would stand around going “How many minutes do triceratops steaks have to cook on each side?”
Z: And now we can look that up on our iPhones. Seven.
She: But what I really don’t understand is how this seems to be the only domestic duty related to entertaining that most men have any interest in.
Z: I also make margaritas.
Z: If I could get meat and fire into a margarita, then I’d always make them.
She: My parents had us over for a dinner the other night. My dad decided he would barbecue, which meant my mom had to call everyone and invite them over. Then she went to the store, probably two or three stores and the farmers market, and eventually bought everything for dinner.
Z: Which she could have actually gotten at one store.
She: Then she made a salad, corn on the cob, appetizers and dessert.
Z: Again, she volunteered to make all of that stuff.
She: That’s not the point. After that she marinated the meat, then put it on a tray along with special cooking utensils and sauces, and took it to my dad, who was already hanging out by the grill, cold drink in hand.
Z: Yes, but he lost a few manpoints because it was an O’Douls.
She: Then my dad placed the meat on the grill, while my mom went inside to set the table and arrange flowers, clean the house and come back outside a few times to tell him when the meat was burning.
Z: He should have used an iPhone.
She: Eventually my dad took the meat off the grill and handed it to my mom who cut it and plated it and made it look pretty, and eventually we ate.
She: It was. So then everyone praised my dad for his amazing cooking. Everyone’s so impressed and they make a big deal of it. All kinds of strokes, about this amazing dinner that he cooked just for us ... I’m beginning to see why men like to barbecue so much.
Z: Low effort, high return. It’s classic Man Math.
She: And completely unfair. Maybe you aren’t such meatheads after all.
Z: Yes, dear.
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