The XX Factor

The Prince and the Frying Pan

Liza, your post on ” The Well Educated Monarch ” sent me back to reread the NY Times announcement , whereupon I found something new to go all femi-Nazi about: men’s continuing privilege to be helpless at home while competent in the workplace.

“William works as a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot for the Royal Air Force,” yet “the prince had tried to impress [Middleton] with his cooking early in their relationship, but that, as he admitted, ‘I get quite lazy now.’ ”

My outrage-Spidey senses all a-tingle, I started Googling. The Telegraph prints the entire quote, including the part that gets my femi-goat: “I get quite lazy about cooking because when I come back from work it is the last thing I want to do, really is spend loads of time cooking. When I was trying to impress Kate I was trying to cook these amazing fancy dinners and what would happen was I would burn something, something would-overspill, something would catch on fire and she would be sitting in the background just trying to help, and basically taking control of the whole situation, so I was quite glad she was there at the time.”

So, let’s recap. He admits, with a blinding lack of introspection, that, once he was making headway with Middleton, he quit trying to cook, forcing her to choose between a kitchen fire and taking over dinner prep. Kinda like a bad, very bad sitcom: The Prince and the Proscuitto . Even if he’s attempting self-deprecation here, it’s still sexist and insulting.

Here’s why: He bothered to master searching for and rescuing Brit GI’s in extremis, under enemy fire, but shepherd’s pie or bubble and squeak ? Too hard, just too damn hard without lives hanging in the balance (i.e. public recognition). Something tells me he didn’t get all “lazy” and burn, overspill, or catch anything on fire on his harrowing job. On the other hand, in Penis World, when women get home from work (Middleton is middle class and, like, worked), or want to collapse on the couch after 12 hours of child care, “spending loads of time cooking” is no problem at all. Likely because no one will ride to the “search and rescue” if they burn, overspill … you get my drift. But they will look down on women who punt and serve take-out. left overs, or microwave fare too often.

Doubtless, neither of these two we’re all swooning over now will likely ever touch a frying pan again, but it’s no different with a Prince or a principal: Men still too often get to pretend cluelessness in the home while mastering their much more complicated workplaces. And the beat goes on.

Photograph of Prince William and his fiancée Kate Middleton by Getty Images.