The other day I was scrubbing a cookie sheet that had gone from gun-metal gray to mottled brown from years of hard use. I couldn’t tell if what I was attacking was cleanable dirt, or if cooking alchemy had transformed it at the molecular level to a new kind of metal.
I paused in my labors, still clutching a soapy Brillo pad, and took stock of my kitchen. After more than 30 years, 80% of my utensils, pots, pans and towels wouldn’t pass the Goodwill test: even poor people wouldn’t want them.
I need a shower.
I’m talking about a wedding shower. The custom started back when a young lady moved straight from her parents’ home to her husband’s, and friends and family gathered to give her the small, practical things she would need to outfit her kitchen and linen closet.
Times have changed, and current customs no longer work. Today’s bride has often been on her own for years. Chances are that a 30-something woman already owns basics like a cheese grater. Her gift registry is a wish-list full of move-up items like $500 Baccarat high ball glasses. That’s not my idea of a shower gift.
What about women who don’t marry? They are totally neglected by the current system. If they want a melon-ball-maker-doohickey, they have to go to a Pampered Chef party and spend $74.99 to buy one.
I propose a change to a two-tier system:
Leaving the Nest: When a young woman gets her first place.
This is typically at graduation; high school or college. Loved ones will gather to outfit a young woman with the little things she will need for her home, whether or not she marries.
Re-feathering the Nest: When a young woman turns 50.
Everything in the house is now old and broken down. The once-fluffy bath towels are scratchy as sandpaper, the business end of the potato peeler is attached to the handle with twist ties, and the kitchen towels’ formerly bright, yellow chickens are so faded and stained it looks like the poor birds are molting. Time for another shower.
With my new shower system, no other woman will ever suffer the pain I have known; that of having her husband mistake her once-fancy, powder-room hand towels for rags suitable for use while fixing the lawn mower.
I’m free most Saturdays next month and my bathroom is blue.
Postscript: I didn’t forgot about the guys; that’s deliberate. Since men can “get the milk for free without buying the cow” nowadays (to quote my mother,) they need an incentive to get married. I’m confident that if marriage is the only way men can snag kitchen towels with a button crocheted on one end to hang on the door of the fridge, wedding rates will skyrocket. The number of couples enjoying wedded bliss will soon be right back up to June Cleaver-era levels.