Jar Openers

Imagine the scene: you’re in the kitchen and you reach for a jar – doesn’t matter what it is – could be marmalade, balti paste, peanut butter, whatever. You grasp the lid and twist, but the darn thing won’t open. You try again, straining. It won’t budge. You place the jar hard down on the kitchen surface in exasperation, and stare at it, trying to intimidate it into opening. Nothing. You try again. Nothing, except your hands are starting to feel sore. You kick the jar. You threaten the jar. You run, screaming, at the jar. It still won’t budge.

You are beginning to feel embarrased. And angry. For goodness sake, you think, I’m a goddam feminist – I should be able to open a silly little jar. As you grasp it again and twist, making strained grunting noises, the image of 1950s adverts swim into your head. You know, the one with the woman with the long red fingernails and matching lipstick, daintily holding some jar or other, with the astonished slogan

“You mean even a woman can open it?”


After a few more attempts you give up. With gritted teeth, you silently pick up the jar and walk slowly over to the nearest bloke: your dad, brother, friend, or partner. You approach, holding the jar out at arm’s length, and stand before him, silently. Without taking his eyes from whatever he’s up to – watching tv, reading, chopping onions – he takes it and – pop! Lid comes off. He hands it back. “musthaveloosenedit” you mumble, and you slope off.

How humiliating.

Now I’m not saying all women have this problem. Of course not. You may have biceps like iron, and all power to you! But as for me, alas, I admit I am a total weed, and that’s how the dynamics work in my household. So if you’re the kind of person who yelps after unscrewing the orange juice bottle, left with grooves in your palm from the lid, you’ll understand my anguish. It seems every time I fail I’m letting down the sisterhood in some indefinable way.

But no longer, sisters. Yes, my liberation has come! A small circle of rubber has emancipated me.

I love my jar-opener. It’s bright yellow, circular, in the shape of a flower and it’s fantastic. I can open anything with it. Old pickle jar which has been at the back of the cupboard for so long the lid has fused to the glass? No problemo! Bath taps screwed tight? Easy-peasy. Slipperly bottle of shampoo impossible to get a grip on? C’est facile! And of course, it’s bright and funky and kinda kitch. And it’s really, really cheap – a small price to pay for dignity.

And yes I know this sort of thing is aimed at arthritic 90-year olds, but I don’t care. It means I don’t have to rely on my blokey to do stuff for me. I can fight patriarchy one pickle jar at a time.

So, sisters, hold your jar-openers high and say it with me:

A woman needs a man (to open a jar)
Like a fish needs a bicycle (to open a jar)

A woman needs a man (to open a jar)
Like a fish needs a bicycle (to open a jar)…