Category: Women’s issues
She slides in the chair next to me, at the round table where I am munching on chicken and salad. I notice the Valentino shoes, the beautiful peach purse that matches her blouse and hijab, the pretty smile and flawless make-up. Glancing at the badges stuck on our chest, we perform polite introductions. There is a silence I feel compelled to fill.
Until she divorced, when I was already in my 20s, my mother was a homemaker. Being the disgruntled teenager that I was, I criticized her to martyrdom for her choice not to work, as I saw it, and spend her time cooking two meals a day, shuttling my sister and I all over town and, the worst offense of all in my book, waiting on my father hand and foot.
I am no stranger to old, naked bodies, especially female. During the course of the hours I spend volunteering at the hospital, I see bodies ravaged by disease, scarred by surgery or just plain old. There is something about a hospital setting that allows for intimacy and a shedding of prudery. There is also a generosity in women who share their stories, complete with images to match.
Years ago, while interviewing candidates for a pastry cook position, I ended up hiring a woman older than me. She was fresh out of cooking school and was looking for her first job in order to build a resume. To me, it was a no brainer. I knew she would be reliable, committed and with sound judgment – what she might have lacked in stamina (kitchen work is physically demanding) she would make up in work ethics.