I hate how much I love to grill. It’s not that I’m inclined to vegetarianism or that I otherwise object to the practice itself. But I’m uncomfortable with the pleasure I take in something so conventionally masculine. Looming over the coals, tongs in hand, I feel estranged from myself, recast in the role of suburban dad. At such moments, I get the sense that I’ve fallen into a societal trap, one that reaffirms gender roles I’ve spent years trying to undo. The whole business feels retrograde, a relic of some earlier, less inclusive era.
I take food prep a little too seriously, curtly brushing others out of the way when I step up to the kitchen counter. In my online dating days, I tried to spin this fault as a feature, describing myself as “a finicky, meticulous cook.” On reflection, I’m probably just kind of a jerk, but when I’m grilling I worry that I’ve become something even worse. Am I shoving others out of the way because it makes me feel like a man? Have I become some sort of monster?