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to take the mick out of male colleagues who bring in shared food that their WIVES have made

(720 Posts)
morningpaper Sun 14-Dec-08 22:34:47

this makes me both scornful and slightly depressed and I resort to extreme sarcasm

Only last week I was nibbling lemon cake from a colleagues WIFE.

What IS that ABOUT?


Habbibu Wed 17-Dec-08 22:37:17

Yes, I think I do agree with that to an extent, but I think that blanket approaches to anything are not very constructive.

What I mean is for me, in my situation, it is just only a cake. And for some women it isn't - it's something born of insecurity, maybe, or a feeling that it's expected, or required, and yes, lots of stuff like that.

So where does that leave me? In some ways a model of feminism - well-educated, confident, articulate, in a very well-balanced and respectful relationship.

One the other hand, I work PT, but in a senior level in a professional role. I like to bake, and am happy for DH's colleagues to eat anything I have left over, or to help him out with something for a party, say. It doesn't occur to me that they'd DARE think less of me because of it.

And I don't - and I imagine this will sound stupid - but I really don't get why you would bake a cake if you didn't want to, or felt that you should, etc etc. I just wouldn't. But I really don't have much of a sense of duty...

onebatmotherofgoditschilly Wed 17-Dec-08 22:38:51

It's not a freaking hot-potato! It's a mildly interesting social question.

I am arguing with Habbs arguing now, which I enjoy, but which is upsetting her because it implies that I am hugely disapproving of cross-spousal workplace-baking, which I'm not, in particular grin

I think the principle ideas are interesting though, because they can be applied to a great deal of what we do.

onebatmotherofgoditschilly Wed 17-Dec-08 22:39:50

bollocks principal ideas or principles

LadyG Wed 17-Dec-08 22:41:56

Hmmm I know it just feels wrong to me (re mp's original post)

We used to have Friday morning bake offs at work
(I never participated-only bake as a rainy day activity with toddlers-results only sometimes edible).
It would not have been acceptable for a man or a woman to bring in something cooked by their partner. It would in fact have been cheating. This seems right to me. Don't know why.
DH does absolutely love it when cook or bake something though-have accused him of weird Nigella fantasies but think it is actually because food is very important to him-nay central to his existence. I cook more currently because I am on maternity leave but he is definitely the better cook.

BellaNoir Wed 17-Dec-08 22:46:35

<peeks back into thread>

Did somebody mention dissection? Of a penis cake?
<settles back in for catching up>

Mmmm, sachertorte. I'll have a slice please swedes. smile

onebatmotherofgoditschilly Wed 17-Dec-08 22:57:49

OK Habbs, I've thought about it and you're right, I really need to lighten up. I've made this cake for DP to take to the office tomorrow. Hope it tastes as good as it looks!

onebatmotherofgoditschilly Wed 17-Dec-08 23:00:25

I'm toying with a plate of these for next week?

poinsettydog Wed 17-Dec-08 23:02:21

hmm. Dh says to colleagues, 'would you like to taste one ofmy wife's dolly parton's?

twitteringbirds Wed 17-Dec-08 23:03:46

Hokay, OBM - no need to knot your kecks.

I retract my hot potato.

onebatmotherofgoditschilly Wed 17-Dec-08 23:03:56

my wife's muffin?
It must be a very informal office.

poinsettydog Wed 17-Dec-08 23:05:28


poinsettydog Wed 17-Dec-08 23:05:46

are they nice and moist?

onebatmotherofgoditschilly Wed 17-Dec-08 23:08:26

Can I assure everyone that no kecks are knotted round these parts? Well they are, but that's a story for another day.

GoodWilfToAllMN Wed 17-Dec-08 23:11:17

Oh more raisin and currant jokes please.

Cake-baking is not like racism. But its cultural significance might be. A bit.

When people go 'oh god, it's just a farking road, who cares?!' about Whiteladies Road and Blackboy Hill in Bristol, they are, obv, just roads.

But their meaning is part of a cultural history, which leaves an aftertaste. So cakebaking is an act of cultural symbolism (which is why you Habbibu can have it mean summat different to someone else) no?

Tis just food, and being kind, and part of your household 'deal' that you're quite happy with.

But cakemaking has a wider set of meanings too. I seem to remember old Roland Barthes saying the same about a right load of old toss such as jeans, and red wine, and steak. It is never just 'food'. It is expressive of relationships. Food, sex and death are the usual anthropological battle grounds in 'how things are done' in social groups.

onebatmotherofgoditschilly Wed 17-Dec-08 23:15:50


Can I please just have it acknowledged that I did not say cake-baking was like racism? Please?

Habbibu Wed 17-Dec-08 23:16:58

Yes, I can have it mean something to someone else, and I have no objection to someone not baking/giving out baked goods in public because of that.

What I am objecting to is the idea that somehow I am worthy of scorn to quote mp's op (and yes, I know it was hyperbole, but it's a handy enough quote in a long thread) - that the presumption is that it's expressive of an unbalanced relationship, in the absence of any other evidence. I find this lazy.

onebatmotherofgoditschilly Wed 17-Dec-08 23:17:14

I just offered my floury baps to dp, and he looked scared.

sneezonyerarcticrollguv Wed 17-Dec-08 23:21:24

It makes me feel vaguely uncomfortable, and it's because of the resonance, as onebatmother says.

Of course many people baking for a partner's work colleagues will be doing it for the sheer pleasure of making nice cakes, but that doesn't change the fact that at one time, and in some circles, this would have been seen as a wifely duty - him owning her labour and directing it in support of his career. Think of the sitcom classic of the wife having to entertain the boss to dinner and her husband's success depending on how well she did - it wouldn't be a joint effort to entertain the boss - she would be the hostess and in charge of feeding them, and her specific duty would be to help her husband succeed at work through her kitchen prowess. Baking cakes and sending them in seems perilously close to that, even if of course it isn't necessarily actually done for that reason by anyone posting here and doing that these days. We're not far enough from the time when that was more expected IMO for it to be free of that association, which is what makes it feel a bit odd.

Habbibu Wed 17-Dec-08 23:24:48

Oh, I give up. Let me know when it's legit, will you? <weary>

onebatmotherofgoditschilly Wed 17-Dec-08 23:27:06

Habbibu, I think that when most of us look around we see that a far greater precentage of relationships are unbalanced than aren't.

And so, if we come across cake-sending, we might make an assumption which might be wrong in that particular instance, but which is nevertheless a reasonable assumption to make based on general observation.

I'm sorry you're upset in a personal way about this,i thought it was all a bit of silly theorizing and piss-taking but I can see that if I were a cake sender I mght be getting a bit fraught.

sneezonyerarcticrollguv Wed 17-Dec-08 23:29:28

So you would like to know when sending in cakes for a partner's colleagues will have no associations for anyone else? (Is that what you mean by 'legit'?) That answer is: probably not in your lifetime, tbh. But why let that stop you? Just go ahead and bake what you want to bake, but accept that for some people your actions will make certain past roles and duties come to mind (whether or not they think you're actually being driven by that) - you can't control the resonance your actions will have for other people, unfortunately. That doesn't mean you have to change what you do as a result.

GoodWilfToAllMN Wed 17-Dec-08 23:29:35

Anyway. Habbibu, I know it's all embargoed till tomorrow but since we're all pretty anonymous, does it matter? But how did your/your DH's place get on today?

Our official line overall is 'as well as we could have expected' and my particular unit 'did slightly better than last time'. Though they're all waiting to see who did better than us before really committing. grin

With such resounding, er, confidence and the Icelandic situation, I think I can probably look forward to a redundancy notice come January, no?

ThePregnantMerryYuleWitch Wed 17-Dec-08 23:30:56

Message withdrawn

Habbibu Wed 17-Dec-08 23:33:30

Um - didn't see ours, Wilf, as I had to go home early to get dd as DH was in his RAE meeting! His uni did pretty well, dept not quite as well as expected, but the lack of an intensity measure confuses the issue, I think. The scoring system sounds weird - they rounded up or down before doing the average - does that sound right to you?

Will have to look at THE tomorrow...

onebatmotherofgoditschilly Wed 17-Dec-08 23:35:13

why did no-one laugh at my sexual harassment cake? Why?

I am trying to imagine a situation in which that seemed a good idea.

I mean, if you had a sexual harassment problem at work, would you want to try and tackle it through the medium of cake?

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