Discover more from the modern domestique digest
You can't know what you don't know until you know it
a life lesson from Bonnie Raitt and my dad
If you haven’t heard, Bonnie Raitt surprised everyone (including herself) and won the song of the year grammy for her song “Just Like That” which you can listen to here:
It’s a moving song about the two sides of the coin of organ donation when someone dies: grief and joy.
the modern domestique digest is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
In the days that followed the Grammy’s my TikTok feed was full of the younger generation voicing their confusion that someone they had never heard won such a prestigious award. Those videos then had people my age and older replying by basically making fun, or even scolding, the younger people for not knowing who Bonnie Raitt is.
This was confusing to me. Why should anyone expect their knowledge to be the same as someone else’s, especially someone younger?
I’ll get to what this has to do with modern home economics in a minute, but first I’d like to share a brief interlude (hah, see what I did there?) on my love of Bonnie Raitt. I am lucky enough to own 5 of her albums on vinyl. Of her entire catalogue, Streetlights is hands-down my favorite, her self-titled debut and Nick of Time are both strong contenders for my second-favorite, and Luck of the Draw has all the hits. I was fortunate to see her live a few years ago (standing within the first 10 rows!!), and I’m not ashamed to say that I shed a couple of tears during the show. In a nutshell, I am all about spreading my love of Bonnie Raitt with those that may not be familiar.
So when I saw that the older generations were harshly criticizing Gen Z for not knowing who she was, I couldn't help but feel a wave of surprise and disappointment. I was wishing to see, instead of scolding and shaming, more gentle enthusiasm for educating and sharing knowledge.
This all made me think of home economics. There’s this expectation that everyone knows how to do things, even something as seemingly simple as mopping a floor or cleaning a toilet. And, while I don’t think there is only one way to do things - aka no “right” way or “best” way - I do have an appreciation for leaving space to learn and grow, both for others and for yourself.
I have a memory of cleaning a toilet. Actually, it’s a memory of not cleaning a toilet. I don’t remember how old I was, but I was probably around 10-ish. My dad (The Father Domestique!) had asked me to clean the bathroom in preparation for some friends coming over. I dutifully completed the task and a little while later, he came to me and asked why I hadn’t cleaned the toilet yet. I was surprised he was asking me that because I had cleaned the toilet. I told him as much and watched as his face went from annoyance to compassionate understanding when he realized that no one had ever specifically taught me how to properly clean a toilet. So, he took me into the bathroom and showed me the steps he used, explaining what the end result should look like.
It’s a funny memory for my brain to have held onto for all of these years, but I often think of it if I feel bad about not knowing something that I, or society, says I should know. How can you know what you don’t know? All we can do is remain curious, be open (and, hopefully, excited) to learn new things, and gently share our knowledge with others just like my dad did with me.
The Mother Domestique and I are getting closer to starting our trousers sew-along. If you missed the post explaining this project, you can find it here.
The pattern has ben bought, and we are sending the PDF off to an online printshop, which seems to be the easiest and least expensive way to print the PDF.
If you have never used a PDF pattern, they usually come in 2 formats: a letter-size version that you can print at home, or a “copy shop” version that prints on large format printers.
While the letter-size, print-at-home seems convenient and appealing, patterns usually end up printing 20-30 pages, which you then have to match and tape together before you can cut the pattern to start the project. The assembly is pretty back-breaking because, I think like most people, the only place I have that’s large enough to fit all the pieces together is the floor.
All this to say there is still time for you to join in if you’d like to. We are going to first make a wearable muslin (a version of the finished pattern out of cheap fabric that might not be every-day wear, but will be at least around-the-house wear) to make sure we get the fit right.
On the subject of sewing trousers, here’s a how-to take a waistband in video.
And here’s a video about why and how to cream butter.