Saturday, November 25, 2017

Overheard at the Barre

This morning, while warming up before barre, I overheard an older woman talking to another. Her husband has started cooking, and she was laying into him for not being the best chef ever. The recipe said it would take two hours but it took him FOUR hours because he was being overly careful to remove all the stems from the herbs rather than just removing the biggest ones. The onions he used were too strong and she couldn't taste the milder herbs. On and on she went; he just couldn't do ANYTHING right in the kitchen.

I'm not a violent person, but I really wanted to go over and slap her across the face. Here she has a husband who is learning something new and all she thinks about is how she's "suffering". Was she born with crazy cooking skills, or did she learn it by trying like the rest of us mortals? Would she rather have a husband who flops in his recliner, demands she bring him a beer, and expects a gourmet dinner on the table every evening at 6pm sharp?

It's been two hours since this happened and I'm still furious. I've been trying to cook more at home and I find her comments personally offensive. I don't know if she's sniping at him because she's insecure and views this as an intrusion into her domain, or if she's just a judgmental jerk.


  1. Oh man that would have upset me too. I know intellectually there could be all sorts of reasons for her behaviour. For all we know he beats her up behind closed doors. Usually, ime when someone's talking about their partner like that there's some pretty unhappy stuff going down between them both. But without knowing the whole story, it's just really hard to hear shit like that.

    What's really hard is that you're working so damned hard to learn the skill of ballet and that kind of horrible negative critisism is filling the airways of your class.

    My counsellor for my PTSD said negative (as opposed to constructive) critisism like that, that mindset towards yourself or others, actually stops learning. The brain can't learn when it's in that state. (Forgotten the science behind why!)

    I've had students come to my classes with that hypercritical mindset towards themselves, and I need, as the teacher, to help them beyond that. I'm lucky my classes are small enough I can usually manage it. Also my classes' 'group dynamics' help that process along. (Another thing I learnt from my counsellor! Awesome counsellor huh?!)

    Interestingly, students I can't help beyond that negative critisism rarely come back. They give me the distinct impression the class is so difficult for them due to internal critisism, it's all just a horrible experience :-(

    Often I just want to say to them 'give me some time to help you out with this!' but irl that level of self critisism can be so crippling they need professional mental health help.

    In your class though, someone being so critical of another guy learning another skill, that's bringing it into your learning (And fun!) space. No wonder you're pissed off. It'd be affecting your own ability to learn. Grrr! And it's bringing it into your cooking too.

    If the teacher was aware of it happening I bet s/he was pissed off too, and frustrated they couldn't protect the other students from that mindset.

    But back to the subject of your post ... hey you're cooking more at home? Like gourmet stuff or just everyday?

    1. Gourmet? Hardly!

      I subscribed to the HelloFresh packaged meal delivery system. Every week I get a box of raw ingredients and recipes. My standard for success is that I don't set off the smoke detectors. Excellence is preparing a meal in less than twice the advertised time.

      I'd love to learn gourmet cooking. Maybe after I retire in 10 years or so. Some years ago I had a friend who was a professional chef and she helped me make some really amazing meals. Right now, though, I'm just trying to avoid eating out so much while trying to master the basic skills. Even so, it's usually a lot of fun.


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