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12 May 2013

The Dishes that Continually Diss Women or “Why It is All Right to Hurt Your Spouse or Some Family Members If They Do Not Wash Their Own Dishes”

First published in “Sardonique” on May 21, 2011

Our Mother's Day Post: 
The best way to a man’s heart is to his stomach. This is not entirely true.  The stomach is just a stopover, the best way is further south but that is another story. My other theory is the best way to turn genteel women into violent men-killers is to have a messy kitchen and a clueless male partner. 

In my family, the men are always the best cook but we are often the worst people in the kitchen because we are messy and a tad bit emotional and obsessed as amateur chefs.  My mother was not always particularly happy whenever my father cooked.  He would come out with the best dishes but with the messiest kitchen. On top of that, the sink ended up looking like a miniature leaning tower of soiled plates and utensils.  My dad cooked the best Filipino dishes; when I was a little boy, I particularly remember his kare kare or ox tail stew (or ox tail in peanut sauce).  It was the only kare kare that I almost love and that is something considering I have never like this famous Filipino dish.  After my dad passed away, my younger brother wore the family toque and he is a genius in the kitchen.  He can create restaurant-style dishes with just the boring ingredients found in any house full of lazy grocery shoppers.  With just a few pieces of tomatoes, some inconspicuous herbs, onions, garlic and eggs, he can create a sumptuous egg dish that you probably would pay around 300 pesos in an expensive Italian restaurant in Makati.  The drawback is the kitchen becomes messy and that often turns my mom into Glenn Close ready to boil a rabbit.


Ever since I was a child, I often hear angry women bellowing from the kitchen, may it be our kitchen, one of my aunt’s kitchen, or one of my best female friend’s kitchen. I have seen disappointed women fuming about the unwashed dishes and the leftover food strewn on the kitchen table.  I understood this so-called madness after my parents separated and I briefly took over the wifely duties at home. I would come home from work tired holding a bag full of groceries around my arms.  Lo and behold, the dirty dishes that I saw in the morning before I left for work had remained unwashed under a new set of dirty dishes.  On top of that, the kitchen floor was grimy.  Right there and there, I swore I grew ovaries and started yelling while I put groceries on the shelf. 

Now, have we reduced our beloved women into suffering screaming women longing for clean dishes?  If so, shame on us men.  I often wonder why women ever bother marrying men in the first place.  Sure, we can be charming and quite smoldering-ly dashing when we are young and all put together.  However, aren’t the inanities that we commit enough to turn women into lesbians? 

The ovaries that I grew years ago have now shrunk, and they continue to shrink every time I pump iron at the gym. On the other hand, once in a while when I wake up around 5 in the morning to prepare for work, I see our sink full dirty dishes.  Suddenly, I become Wanda Sykes and say, “now I remember washing my own plate last night so I know this sink was empty before I went to bed.  Unless those pesky chauvinistic elves had a beer and barbeque party while I was asleep, then someone’s gonna die.”

When I was in elementary, we were required to watch the play Why Women Wash the Dishes by Filomena Colendrino. I am sure some of you have read or seen the play.  The version that I watched was different but the ending was still the same, the wife lost the bet and ended up washing the dishes forever. In retrospect, the play reminds me of the twisted logic of why women menstruate: “because Eve ate the apple.” If you are a woman who has been suffering from washing the dishes at home, please get a copy of this play and burn it. Consider it a witchy act. 


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