Ah, summer—the season of perpetual cookouts, outdoor eating and family reunions. Weekends in July and August are filled with one feel-good moment after another and when friends and family gather by the grill with full bellies and big smiles to groove to a great playlist, it’s almost impossible to get a side-eye from anyone. Unless, you jump up to make your man a plate of food before you make your own.
I know because I’ve already caught some heat from a few acquaintances this summer for doing just that—something, to be honest, that I hadn’t ever thought that much about before. The first concerned cookout-goer I speak of wondered aloud why I “bothered” to make my husband a plate of food from the buffet-style offering because he’s a “big boy” who could “make his own.” The other pulled me aside inconspicuously later on that afternoon and asked me straight up why I “spoil my husband so” and referenced the hefty plate I’d prepared for him as evidence.
I laughed out loud both times. These women had given more thought to this moment than I ever have, but since they want to talk about it, I’m down. Lets get a few things straight first: I’ve never once jumped up with any haste whatsoever to prepare a plate for my husband, nor has he ever asked or expected me to do so. I do have my reasons for making his plate, but they’re ultimately more about me than him. They are as follows:
I'm Happy When He Is, and He's Happy When I Am
Whether you consider it to be a little old school, good manners or just plain silly, the truth is, when my husband looks up and sees me handing him a plate full of food, he smiles real big. He feels catered to and loved when i do this simple gesture, which is how he makes me feel all of the time, so I'm always happy when I can return the favor in a small yet meaningful way. At home he cooks for me, makes my plates and caters to me in so many different ways. We cater to each other back and forth as best we can. That's what love is. My favorite is when he hangs up and organizes my laundry with such tender love and care. In those moments, I smile too.
I’m Actually Doing Myself a Favor
He likes to really relax at a barbecue or cookout affair. He finds a good spot in the shade, stays there for a good part of the afternoon and enjoys a cold beer or two and lots of good conversation. If I don’t fill up a plate on his behalf when I make my rounds, two things will happen: 1. By the time he gets up to do so, the potato salad will be gone—that’s his favorite—and he’ll talk about it the rest of the day. (Yawn!) 2. He usually eats from my plate when I rejoin the table. It wouldn’t be a big deal if he only stole a few bites, but he’s a sturdy guy who’s usually hungry, even when he says he isn’t, so he’s guaranteed to eat all the good stuff on my plate. If I make his plate, i avoide all of the above.
It’s My Thing
I like to keep busy, and making plates, moving around and capturing Instagram moments is how I like my afternoons at these events to flow.
I’m Always One Step Ahead
If your family and friends throw down on the grill like mine do, you already know that three hours into a good summer cookout with enough neighborhood crashers there are no such thing as leftovers. I like to make our plates a little heftier than most so we can wrap up our own leftovers for later. My husband, like I said before, would be figuring this out by the time the good stuff was gone.
So, there you have it: I make my man’s plate at cookouts, but it’s less about him than meets the (judgmental) eye. I’ve never side-eyes another woman or man for doing the same for their spouse, but I also never really though if it as “spoiling” them either. But, you know what? So what if it is? I love my husband and I love myself, and I want us both to be happy when we wind down and enjoy one of our favorite summer weekend pastimes. If making his plate gets us both there, then so be it.
Ladies, have you ever been given the side-eye for doing the same? Do you make your man’s plate? Maybe at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner? I know my auntie and grandmother have told me to do this at least onc or twice. Let’s discuss.