Grill Power

By Hilary Winston

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Grill Power:

It’s summer—the best season, because I get to see something unique, beautiful and rare, like a flawless diamond or a comet or the Mets winning a game. I get to see men in aprons. That’s right, men in aprons. Standing over a hot grill. On a hot day. Bending meat to their will. It’s awesome for multiple reasons: One, I don’t have to do the cooking. Two, the cleanup is easy (just brush those dried chicken bits between the grill cracks). And three, it’s extremely attractive.

It’s the middle of summer and the height of barbecue season. Dips are being made. Lemonade is being stirred. Backyard charcoal fires are heating up. And men are bringing out the monogrammed grilling tools their moms gave them for Christmas. The sweet, simple beauty of the grill and its master. I don’t know who came up with the name “grill master,” but I bet it was a man; a lady might have valued different things and I’d be sitting here right now as a “laundry master” or “feed-the-cat master.” But whoever came up with the name was masterful; to elevate the grilling role and make it acceptable for a man to mix a marinade 24 hours in advance and tie an apron around his waist was genius. I tip my sun hat to him. I love it. A man cooking meat he procured for you (prepackaged, with a coupon from the Sunday paper, but still…)—it’s attraction on the most primitive level. I once hooked up with a guy just because he was the grill master at a friend’s party. Unfortunately, when that apron came off, so did the attraction. He was all apron, and the summer is only so long. Yet I didn’t learn my lesson. That same summer I went to a barbecue held by a cute guy who was way too young for me. I couldn’t help it; a chance to see him grill it up was enough of a draw. But when I got there he had just a small hibachi and a card table laden with generic-brand hot dogs and premade hamburger patties the other early-20-something guests had brought. There were slices of generic cheese, which offended my not very delicate Texas sensibilities. I think we both knew it was going nowhere when I pulled out what I’d brought to toss on the barbie: asparagus. Asparagus is an adult grill food. Corn on the cob could have bridged the age gap, but asparagus was a no-go. We were destined for different barbecues. Nevertheless, I refused to be discouraged. Watching a man grill is hot. Literally. The grill master is sweating, wearing flip-flops and sporting troll-rivaling toe hair. But it doesn’t matter; he’s passionate. And if you’re nice he might even toast your bun.

When your guy is deep in that grill zone, it’s a real turn-on. There’s nothing you can’t throw at him. Eggplant. Summer squash. That unidentified meat your hunter cousin brought. Your vegetarian friend’s black-bean burger. He is unflappable. He is committed. And he puts just as much care into that fake-meat burger as he does his real-meat burger. For this reason I will bring him Fritos Scoops with the perfect amount of guacamole and salsa. I will dig out the best dill-pickle spear with my bare hands, undaunted by the looks I get from other guests. I will brave the icy waters of the massive cooler to find his favorite beer with the perfect amount of chill, then put it in a cozy with his face on it (well, if I had one, I would use it). When the grill gets too hot and he takes off his shirt, I will apply sunscreen. And even reapply it. I will set up one of those water-spritzing fans and also fan him with a paper plate. The good kind. Nobody’s putting his special burgers on a generic-brand paper plate. And I will ignore his sunglasses tan line. I won’t make even one Guy Fieri look-alike comment. It’s just something about that grill. Something about that apron. Something about that smoke. Maybe it’s just the carcinogens, or maybe it’s something else.…

What if cavemen didn’t just bring home the wild-boar bacon; what if they also cooked it? It makes sense that upon returning from a hunt, celebratory cavemen would have tossed their fleshy treasures on an open flame and basked in their meaty victory. Maybe when cooking moved indoors, women took that responsibility and made it part of the domestic domain. Changing gender roles robbed men of the natural conclusion to their role as hunters. You were robbed! I apologize on behalf of all women. And I’ll personally lead the movement to give back this role. I mean, why should men stop after Labor Day? Men should take over fall roasts. Christmas hams. Spring chickens. Master the oven. The stove. The Crock-Pot. The sky—or the pie—is the limit. Men, unite! Take back the kitchen that was rightfully yours. Who knows? It might make you that much sexier.


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