How Charred Meat Smell Shows We’re Post-Chivalry

The smell of charred meats radiates from your boyfriends clothes. The scent of fatty pork scolded down to nothing but stringy gristle assaulting your senses like nothing else has done before. Shrouded with the aroma of cheap bacon and top notes of fags, your boyfriend announces he’s “just been to that new BBQ place with the lads for some beers and ribs”, but in truth you don’t care where he’s been, he just fucking stinks. His lager tinged belches and pork scented skin tell you chivalry is dead. Long gone, BBQd to death like an episode of Epic Meal Time.

People blame lots of things for the death of chivalry — porn, feminism, the increase in midweek football — but ultimately what’s killed true romance is the smell of chargrilled meats. It’s the scent of the post modern lad, the beer swilled, snapback wearing manboy. The kind who would previously miss his girlfriend’s anniversary so he could watch Dinamo Minsk play Qarabag FK on a Thursday night, before sinking four Fosters and claiming anniversaries are “nothing but a feminist holiday made up by those hairy lesbians to keep men in line.” He now spends his time floating procariously between your one bed flat in East Finchley and the latest place to serve “All American Grub”, stinking out your flat with au de BBQ and refusing to stop going on about how the ribs he had at Bodeans were “banging”.

You worry for your sex life. He no longer takes pleasure in seeing you naked, or even trying it on with you. Instead he’s looking at saving up his payslips so he can buy himself a heavy duty BBQ for your small balcony. And if you’re honest, you’re not sure you want him to touch you anymore. His once supple hands now sticky with BBQ sauce.

The main problem with charred meats and BBQs is that it’s a step in the wrong direction for both men and chivalry. Gone are the days of a man going out to buy a “posh shirt” so he can take a woman out to a fancy dinner. Just so he can pretend he knows what a soufflé is, in order to maybe invite you home for a glass of that £9.99 bottle of Pinot Noir he bought from Tesco. Instead the modern man, the BBQ smelling beast of a human, refuses to hold the door open for you, instead rushing inside every building in the hope that they sell pulled pork in a brioche bun. The whole idea of a man buying some flowers and surprising you after work is gone. Instead he wants to drink American lager and learn about obscure cuts of meat and what’s the best way to cook a leg of lamb. You worry that if one day he does actually buy you some flowers, maybe on your birthday or Valentines Day, he might just throw them on the BBQ and insist on making sure they’re nicely charred.

One of the main issues with chargrilled meat, besides the fact that it is entirely inelegant and most of the time eaten with your hands like a neanderthal, is that really it’s just burnt meat.

Charred meats are a signifier of the times we live in. It shows how close men were to learning how to be domesticated, but rather than taking that final step and going, “actually, I should probably learn how to cook more than two meals and how to use the washing machine.” They’ve packed it in and returned to the primal instinct of throwing as much meat on a hot surface as physically possible before dousing it in a nondescript brown sauce. The final steps towards being socially acceptable and being capable of understanding a woman are gone, instead men around the country are now gathering next to BBQs (one of them undoubtedly wearing comical breast apron) comparing notes on how cindered one another’s meat is. Their lives are now spent looming over hot coals, tongs in hand, shouting offers of another burger indiscriminately at those around them. Maculinity is in crisis, and women are the ones who are suffering. Their fathers, brothers, boyfriends and acquaintances are now turning into self-described “Lord of the grill”, and it’s time to stop.

In this latest piece of Medium-goodness, I will be taking ideas from the Twitter account @ThinkPieceBot and turning them into fully fledged articles. For the first piece I have chosen to tackle the topic of charred meats, and how they signify the end of chivalry.

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