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BBQ: sexist season has just begun

By João Lopes Marques (Eesti keeles)

Sometimes I feel guilty just because I prefer to prepare mozzarella salads instead of a nice BBQ. Sorry. A short email I received last week renewed this feeling. Why manhood and BBQ are synonyms?

Of course I have my personal story with the dish: it was one of the reasons why my Brazilian exile didn’t work out.

Truth be told, there aren’t many human practices so sexist as this outdoor grilled experience. Unlike Europe, BBQ in Brazil is a weekly practice year round where everybody sticks to a very defined role. Like a stylish performance:

  • Men supervise charcoal drinking beer and speaking about cars and football;
  • Women prepare the side dishes and have small talk about children and nasty neighbours.
“Hey, João, what are you doing here? Go back to the garden and help the boys grilling the veal...” I still remember the astonishment of Cláudia, my Brazilian girlfriend then. The chat was quite boring outside and I felt free enough to join the female group in the kitchen... Sorry again.

Cláudia meant it: I should leave the kitchen immediately and return to the garden. I blindly obeyed her. After all women were gazing me and a true man has to fight hard to defend his own reputation. Bear in mind the worst danger in life is the gossip about our manhood. Masculinity. It can turn into an unstoppable spiral. You see? I was right: when I returned to the grill there was a guy already commenting I looked like a Portuguese Sissy...

Such conventions are not a Brazilian exclusive. Far from that — they are universal. The only big difference is the fact in Europe gender roles are a bit shier than in the tropical latitudes.

Needless to say, the email my friend Francisco sent me last week triggered my introspection. Consisting of ten usual BBQ stages, made me reflect about the symbolism of such an ancestral ritual:

1st: Women go shopping and buy all the ingredients;

2nd: She prepares the salad, peels the potato and innovates with a new dessert;

3rd: She marinates different kinds of meat and brings them outside, where the man is already drinking beer and getting concentrated to his big mission;

4th: Hey, more respect: this is the moment man puts meat on the grill;

5th: Woman returns indoor and lays the table for a dozen of guests;

6th: Woman realizes men keep telling jokes and runs outside in order to avoid meat to be burnt;

7th: Since she came outside, men ask her to bring more cold beers, stupidly cold, meat can’t be left alone;

8th: Meat seems ready and he proudly delivers it in a tray women swiftly brings from the kitchen;

9th: After the meal, she washes the dishes and cleans the grill;

10th: All the guests thank the man for the unforgettable lunch he has just cooked.

More than an anecdote, these 10 steps are a brilliant caricature of some human conventions invloving a certain level of risk. I also acknowledge it can be slightly unfair for certain types of men.

However, one of the things that pisses me off most often is a machist woman. “What’s the problem, Cláudia? I just love to prepare the salad...”, I still insisted.

“Nope. Go!”

Thirteen years and hundred of BBQ’s later, I propose a small game. A therapeutical experience. Challenge. What about exchanging roles this BBQ season? To grill meat is not riskier than frying an egg on the stove. Dear ladies, charcoal is not rocket science and of course a generous glass of rose wine can also be served by the grill.

I just prefer to prepare mozzarella salad, OK?


Assim, em inglês, já está bem.
sónia disse…
Love it!
Try to prepare some bruschettas with your mozzarella salad, OK?

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Foi interessante (e interessante é uma palavra interessante). No dia em que saí à rua com suíças tive de regressar a casa com estas canadianas. Ou melhor: com as canadianas amparando-me a mim e às suíças. Felizmente que não são mutuamente exclusivas.