I just Googled “are women territorial” and Google suggested “do you mean men?”

I believe that for ages it was believed that men are territorial but women are not. Men are territorial about several things like their women (right to mate), their family, their position at work, their status in a social group, the list goes on and on. Men’s territorial nature is displayed openly in various ways. They might literally fight for dominance, but there are other ways they assert their dominance in showy “toys,” cars, and even how they “allow” their women to dress.

I think it has to do with the inner and outer world. Up until the last thirty or forty years, women’s lives were contained to the inner world of her own household. Men might think they are the “King of the House” but really, it is the woman who rules it. I do not think this dynamic has changed that much. I was watching CBS Nightly News and is said that women make now about 80% to their male counterparts but still do three extra hours of household chores than men. Shocker!

The biggest way a woman’s territorial tendencies are displayed is in the kitchen. I have had some great times cooking with other women. My mother and grandmother and I have a yearly tradition of baking Christmas cookies together. My ex-mother-in-law and I put on a great spread when my ex graduated with his MBA. Then there is my sister-in-law that avoids cooking at all costs. Good thing my brother cooks. But when I am in another woman’s kitchen, I am very cautious to respect her space and do what I am told. When someone is in my kitchen, I have been given the same level of respect.

Mom's kitchen
Women even have signs like this, in case you were not already aware of who rules the kitchen..

I am living with my father and step-mother right now. I am not proud. I am “down on my luck” right now and believe me, I am working very hard to get out on my own, but that is not the point. I lived so well when I was married and now…. Let us not ever get into it.

My stepmother and I have an uneasy alliance. It is a struggle sometimes. The big thing is that I am used to being the mistress of my own household and now I am living in the back bedroom of my father’s house basically just trying to stay out of everyone’s way. But I still need to use the kitchen. Especially now that I am trying to eat healthier, I need to cook pretty much every meal at home. So far, I have timed it so I can do this when she is gone. Another option is that she will provide the meal and I will either make a dish to share or purchase a portion of the entrée’. There is no free lunch. I also will cook for the family as well. My father is very grateful. With two women in the house, he is always fed and barely has to lift a finger. However, he is sometimes caught in the middle between two grown women that are too afraid to talk to one another. My step-mother cries. She cries a lot. I think this is her go-to activity because she has always been around all female households. I tend to react either in anger or indifference because I was heavily influenced by my father, my older brother, and then my husband. Want to make a girly-girl mad? Be indifferent to her nagging. I am working on this, really. I guess I am learning “how to be a girl” even though it seems like a lot of worry over silly things and bossing other people around in a sickly sweet way. I was complaining once that I was finding it hard to get along with other women, a sentiment I know has been echoed by many other women, and my stepmom had the nerve to say that she never has problems getting along with other women. I am saying to myself, “You Wanna Bet?”

kitchen funny

I imagine it would be easier not to “cause a ruckus” if you are very sweet, unassuming, do not make waves, and do absolutely nothing out of the ordinary or be extra-ordinary in any kind of way. I imagine that might even be a happy average life. I am an artist, a singer, a writer; even if I am not very good at any of those things I still have an “artist temperament.” I see the world differently than others and I have this compulsion to share that vision with the world. That is NOT the way to make EVERYONE like you. I wonder if she thinks everyone “likes” her or just that no one dislikes her. There is a difference. No one disliked my ex-husband because he barely made an impression. I make an impression, good or bad, but I am memorable. I have not decided if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Right now, I am not fighting it, trying to be “nice” without sacrificing who I am. It is a struggle.

As far as the kitchen goes…who knows? I do the dishes pretty much every time they are dirty and I also clean house. Of course I can never live up to her standards, so I pay half the cleaning lady’s bill. Half… and I am one person that is hardly there, but it is not worth the hassle.

One last case and point about the kitchen. She was making Bisquick shortcakes and the timer went off and they were lightly golden brown and if they set on the pan for a minute (like you are supposed to do) they would have been perfect. (I did study baking for a bit when I was going to go into business by myself). When she was going to put them back in so they would dry out and burn I gently protested and suggested they look great and that Dad and I like our baked goods a little underdone. She slammed the pan down and said “Fine, eat them raw.” And I am like… “What the hell?” I did not mean to upset her like that and maybe I should have kept my mouth shut, but her outburst was really over the top. My dad calmed her down and suggested that she pull ours off and put hers back in. She did. Hers came out brown and those were the ones left after everyone else had a portion. But what do I know? I am just a kid. A thirty-five-year-old recently divorced, college educated, formerly professional kid.

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