Why the grill is a man thing. And should continue to be labeled as such.

by Katie on February 23, 2009

Note to women: this post is included for your safety just as much as your entertainment.

I mentioned in a previous post how we recently had Brandon’s family over for dinner. I did not mention how I thought I blew up our brand new grill. (Well, technically, we got it for Christmas, so it’s already two months old. But if you only count how long it has actually been put together and in use, it’s still brand new.)

For dinner, we were going to grill some fish – an assortment of halibut, salmon and grouper, and have some grilled vegetables – corn, zucchini and red bell peppers. Obviously, the vegetables needed to go on a little earlier to be done at the same time. And that was about the extent of my grilling knowledge.

Brandon has always been in charge of the grill. Even before we were married. Actually, before we were dating. It’s just something that has always been “a man thing” to me. My dad always took over the grilling duties (I’m not sure anyone else is even allowed to use his grill), and therefore it’s just one of those things I have labeled and reserved as a man job, and have never learned to do on my own.

So, in all my 23.5 years, I had never touched the grill.

But, 7:00 rolled around that evening. We were serving dinner at 7:30. And Brandon was still 20 minutes from being home. I had no choice but to venture out to the grill to get things started. Only I had no idea where to start.

I get him on the phone to have him walk me through turning the grill on. (Yes, I really needed help with this. No, Brandon couldn’t believe it either.)

I follow each step carefully (or so I think).

I open the lid to remove the grilling utensils Brandon almost melted several days before by forgetting he had them in there, and I shut the lid back…turns out I was NOT supposed to shut the lid.

I turn each of the four burner knobs to the “on” position, then down to the low setting…but I was only supposed to turn one of them on.

And then, Brandon instructed me to, “Press the black ‘ignite’ button, and you will hear a click-click-and then you’ll hear it start.”

So, I press the “ignite” button.

But I don’t hear a “click-click-start”. I hear a “click-click-BOOM”. Along with a big orange flash and the doors at the bottom of the grill (where the propane tank is located) flying open.

And Brandon hears a “BOOM!”, followed by a very loud, high-pitched, girly shriek.

Which is also the same noise Grandma Mary, Jean and Tom hear as they are arriving for dinner.

At this point, I am already thinking I just blew up our new grill. Our guests are thinking they are not going to get dinner. And Brandon doesn’t know what to think on the other end of the phone. I tell him his uncle is there, so he says, “Well have Tom look at it then. But tell him to be careful.”

And then he’s thinking he just sent his uncle into a death trap.

But, wouldn’t you know, the man walks over there, takes a quick look, then asks me, “You didn’t have the lid open when you started it?”

“No, Brandon didn’t tell me that part. He just said to get the utensils out. He didn’t say to leave it open.”

He just opens the lid, reaches for the “ignite” button (as I start to brace myself for another explosion), and sure enough, there’s a “click-click”…and the sound of gas flames.

I give Brandon a call back to let him know my attempt at grilling has not cost us our home, and he says, “Oh, you didn’t leave the lid open? What?”

“No, you just told me to get the utensils out. I thought that meant to shut it back.”

“Oh, Katie…”

Maybe this another example of that gap between male and female communication? But I like to think it could be solved simply by reverting the grilling duties back to the men.

Key lessons to take home:

  1. Always leave the lid on a gas grill open when starting.
  2. Always get very specific instructions when working with flammable materials.
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