Everyone knows who does the work at these holiday things.
Men yawn with pretty much satisfied grins when they have managed to erect a tree in the living room and taken the last-minute but obligatory trip to Walgreens and had some teen-aged clerk pick out a suitable bottle of bubble bath and that thing that “makes perfect scrambled eggs every time.”
Women spend days if not weeks, planning and baking, cooking, cleaning, shopping, and ordering, mixing and matching, writing, and wrapping until they are ready to drop dead of exhaustion.
On Christmas morning while everyone is playing with the new gadgets, women are in the kitchen getting the ham or turkey or whatever into its pan, and putting together seventeen side dishes, with relish trays, and rolls. Then comes the china, all washed days before. And the silver, polished and shined. Beds made, people properly dressed for company (no you can’t wear your frayed and holey old sweater today!).
And they, the men, have no duties at all on THE day, except that pretense that they know anything about carving the roast, turkey, or ham. And then, they eat like ravenous wolves, barely stopping to stay that “this is a wonderful brussels sprouts dish darling” before they are back in the lazyboy moaning and listing to the left as they nap. While you, of course, attend to the train wreck that is your kitchen.
And then, insults of insults, there is a freakin’ FOOTBALL GAME ON THE WHOLE NIGHT LONG, BUT THE PRE-GAME STARTS AT 3 IN THE AFTERNOON, AND GUESS WHAT? THERE IS GOING TO BE A 24-HOUR CABLE SPORTS SHOW ON STARTING IN JANUARY, JUST KILL ME NOW.
And all I ask for, all I ask for is one little two-hour stretch on Christmas Eve, to sit and watch something cultural, something of beauty and art. And what do I get?
Some history is in order.
Last year, my dear Contrarian recorded Balanchine’s NYCB (New York City Ballet) rendition of The Nutcracker. Said ballet has been done for about sixty years. It is a classic, and a wonderful, beautiful delight.
Even though he HATES ballet, he did this for me.
And I loved him for it.
But then . . . There is always a then.
It came on, and we watched it. Or at least I watched it. He fell asleep.
And at the intermission, I got up to do the things one does during intermission.
And I came back, and he was awake.
And he asked: “Well what do you want to watch now?”
“The rest of the Nutcracker, of course.”
He looks at me in bewilderment.
“But I thought it was over–there was no more dancing.”
“It’s just intermission, before the second act.”
“Well, I deleted it. I thought it was over.”
So, THAT my friends was the state of my Nutcrackery enjoyment as of last year.
So this year of course, he carefully recorded it. And Saturday afternoon, he called out to me from the other room:
“How many groans am I allowed during this ballet thing?”
“TWO!” I yelled
“And how many sighs?”
“ONE!” I bellowed.
And so I watched it, and he sighed once, and only groaned once, and that was during the ballet mistress’s explanation of how she trains the children. The groan was accompanied by something that sounded a lot like “Biotch.”
And I enjoyed it.
And I have the last revenge.
Because my freakin’ holiday begins today. I made enough food to feed an army for a month. Don’t talk to me about cooking until a week from today. If you are hungry, open the fridge and dig in. Don’t bother me about warming anything up. And wash your own dishes, and feed the dog.
I’m on vacation.
And NO, we are not watching any JOHN WAYNE marathon. NO, NO, NO.