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Real Men Wear Aprons

When asked whether he wears an apron, you might hear a man utter the words, “come again?” or, “who, me?” On more articulate occasions, you might even be treated to adjectives such as “cumbersome”, “fiddly” or “ridiculous”. And this has nothing to do with where a guy falls on the sexuality spectrum. It’s one of those societal things. Let’s unpack…

Ever since childhood, we’ve been indoctrinated by phrases like, “He’s really tied to his mother’s apron strings, isn’t he?” Then, later in life, “mother” simply gets replaced by “wife” and so the cycle continues until she has a son, and it starts all over again. A Freudian analysis for another time. Back to the apron, you can see why it’s never enjoyed a golden age amongst the occupants of Mars.

Well, it should be safe to say that those days are well behind us. As in, 70 years behind us. Thanks to a combination of factors like the rise of the celebrity chef, cooking competitions and, dare one say, lockdown, men know just as much about pan crowding, rough and a fine chopping, preserving peaches and baking banana bread as the homemaking hausfraus of the Julia Child era.

Yet, the poor old apron has never quite managed to shake its frumpy reputation. But what most apron-shunning men probably never think about is just how much they start to resemble their grandfathers when every shirt they own is like tracing a map of mishaps – an oil stain here, an imprint of a slice of pizza there… good heavens, is that blood? This does not inspire confidence, no matter who you are.

Cooking is a messy business, and it should be! It is a carnal pleasure, after all. Bearing that in mind, doesn’t it put a sexy spin on the apron? Wearing one need never be frumpy (nobody said lace trimmings were compulsory). Instead, an apron speaks of a certain skill – of confidence. Putting one on means you know what you’re doing. It says, I’m claiming this kitchen and I’m searing that steak! On other occasions, it emphasises a sense of refinement, which need never translate as weakness. A delicate caress also has its place. As with any item of clothing, an apron influences the way others look at us. And when it looks this good, who’s complaining?

JAN Leather Apron