Friday, March 10, 2017


Scott surprised me with a wok on Wednesday. Extra kudos to him for the fortuitous timing because I think it was the perfect – some say controversial – gift to celebrate International Women’s Day. A wok on this particular day could be easily misinterpreted by some as reinforcing the delusional notion that a woman’s place is in the kitchen. But a woman’s place is wherever she wants to be – at a desk, by the ocean, on the moon, in the kitchen, anywhere! This wok was something I wanted. And here was a man kind enough to give it to me.
Why didn’t I just get myself the damn wok? I dunno… I guess after some thought, I agreed with Scott’s “why do we need a wok? We’ve survived without one the past year” logic more than my “but I’m Chinese! I need a wok” logic. (To be fair though you can fry, steam AND STEW in a wok!) But the real question is this: why don’t I just get myself equal pay and reproductive rights?

My mother sent me a quote on International Women’s Day by William Golding which goes, “I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men. They are far superior and always have been. Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she will give you a baby. If you give her a house, she will give you a home. If you give her groceries (or a wok HEH!), she will give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she will give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit!”

The quote got me thinking about why any man should ever want to withhold anything from a woman, especially since she is able to “multiply and enlarge” what she is given. The only excuse for men who say No to women, who do not give to women, is that they operate from a place of fear.

There are men who want you at your absolute best, and there are men who don’t. That’s just the truth. I didn’t realize how important this distinction was when I was younger because the men – my dad, brothers, brother-in-law – I grew up around were always empowering. But now that I am older and have encountered different kinds of men whether at the workplace, in dingy bars or through the news, I’m learning that there are men out there who don’t always like a woman who upstages them, who is more competent and maybe even braver than they are.

So many women can relate to the experience of being with a man who resented their prowess and felt small whenever they felt big. And too many women know what it’s like to give up their power and independence (and consequently their happiness) in a bid to soothe a man’s ego. Don’t do it. Don’t compromise yourself to prop a man up because it’s not worth it. Downplay your strengths for long enough and you will start feeling insecure in your career, angry at the world and miserable in general.

Find a man who appreciates you when you’re firing on all cylinders. You want someone who’s confident enough to say, “That meat dress is whacko, for sure. But it looks terrific on you, and I bet they’ll still be talking about it 20 years from now.” In the meantime, try not to get too discouraged when they say No and continue to make magic with what’s given.

As Beyoncé said (did you think I was gonna talk about women being amazeballs without quoting Queen Bey?) at the end of her astonishing Lemonade medly at the VMAs last year, “thank you, ladies.” But also, thank you men who have empowered us to make magic throughout our lives.

Oh ya, we also tried to cure salmon that evening:

Dill and parsley

Massage salt, sugar, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and pepper into the salmon

Pile on some cans to weigh the salmon down and then refrigerate for at least 3 days

"Hey wait, how does it get its smoky flavour?" I asked. "Errrr... It doesn't? It's not smoked salmon, love" Scott replied. Excited to taste it over the weekend.

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