Monday, March 1, 2010

Venus and Mars Are On a Late Flight


I’ve always been a sucker for a man with an accent. Which is probably not unusual, as far as fetishes go, although I wouldn’t necessarily call it that so much as I’d call it a survival strategy. Long ago, I realized, the bigger the accent on the man, the less my chances for fully understanding just what in the hell it is he's saying and therefore the greater our chances for the long term without one of us smushing a grapefruit in the other's face. I don't care what the studies say; the less communication in a marriage, the better.

Witness the first several years of my and S.B.’s courtship: he’d open his mouth, something southern would fall out, I’d catch about every third to fourth word, respond based on what I thought he was saying, and he, not wanting to waste time and energy explaining himself, would have no choice but to drop the issue entirely.

It's pretty much how we've operated ever since. He'll open his mouth, and I'll hear, “Those jeans are very flattering to your butt,” while what he's really saying is: “I’m going to buy another lift kit for the truck.”

As a result, our vehicles grow taller and my butt stays reasonably flattered, because getting in and out of our vehicles is nothing if not an accelerated aerobic workout.

See there? No one's the wiser and everybody's happy.

Heck, now that I think about it, our falling in love was most likely a misunderstanding.

Way back when, S.B. and I had been dating for about four months when he took a job somewhere at the edge of the civilized world bringing civilization to the kind of people who regularly settle day-to-day disputes with AK-47s and hand grenades. And these were just the waiters. Still, S.B. figured it sounded like fun, but what to do about his house and dogs for the six week duration? Then he had a bright idea. Since the lease on my apartment was up and my rent was going up by $150 a month, why not have me do the sitting and I could look for a less expensive place to live in the interim?

Misunderstanding him completely, a month later I moved, lock, stock, and stiletto shoes, into his house in the mountains, while off he flew to God only knows where. "Don't worry," he said before leaving, "We'll talk once a week." Which meant every Tuesday at lunchtime, I drove to a friend’s house up the street from work, dialed a number somewhere in California, and then a satellite link up courtesy Chevron-Texaco patched me through to S.B.

At some point during our fifth conversation, S.B. suddenly got very serious. “Could you please shut up for a moment?" he asked. "I have something important to tell you.”

So I shut up, and he told me something important. And when I hung up a few minutes later, I thought to myself, Huh. Did he just say, ‘I’m in love with you’ or “When I get home we'll go shopping for shoes’?

Then I realized, either was okay with Moi.

See? Fifteen years later, everybody's happy.

28 comments:

Wow, that was awkward said...

I don't know if its ironic or not, but I find this post particularly sweet today. I really do. I believe in everything this post is about. Which is why I did what I had to do today.

moi said...

WTWA: Near as I can figure, the first rule of life is sticking up for your right to be happy. So, rugs to you. I mean, mugs. Plugs? Oh, sorry, HUGS!

Buzz Kill said...

The Mrs and I have sort of the same situation, but it's not accent, it's the pitch of her voice. And it's always been like that. I hear everyone else except her and my ears check out fine. The only other person I don't hear is The Boy but that's due to laziness. He mummbles in half sentences and never talks directly toward me. I use to say "What? alot but I don't anymore. If I was suppose to do something as a result of what they said, and I don't, they'll tell me again. If not, it wasn't important. That's how I have survived almost 20 years.

chickory said...

some genuine smiles reading this. thank you. and how funny. southern men are the schnizzle. lotta people dont know that. aunty knows that. i knows that. you knows that. i agree that the less communication the better. these women longing for men to open up and emote endlessly are lunatics and/or mascochists. i love the silent type. strong in combination is even better but given a choice i will go with silent.

happy anniversary!

Boxer said...

Mr Boxer speaks "nerd" which means I get relatively little words, but a whole lot of tech support when needed. This is a very sweet story and I love how you moved completely into the house. Ha! Efficient. And I have to agree with Chickory... I don't need the "sensitive" guy.

Happy Anniversary to both of you.

Big Shamu said...

Happy Anniversary. Do you have one of those roll out escape ladders attached to your truck? For emergency shoe shopping exits?

So this no communication thing, does it only work with Southern men? Or do you think the stoic men of Maine and New Hampshire also find marital bliss because of their economy of language?

Milk River Madman said...

Hmmmmm. Maybe I should mumble more. Being quiet is not even close to being in my chemical makeup, but I can work on my mumbling. Yes. That's it! Great story.

Karl said...

Good afternoon Moi,

I have found...the less said the better. So, when you do say something, the point gets across. More importantly, always listen carefuly. This way, I don't mix up comments like: Isn't water wavy and I want to have a baby.

moi said...

Buzz: Oh, it works the other way around, for sure. Unless it's regarding nookie, dinner, or sports, when I open my mouth, S.B. tends to hear Charlie Brown's parents. Which can be annoying when what I have to tell him is, "Your pants are on fire." But not so much when it's, "I just spent half the month's mortgage on a little something from Chanel."

Chickory: A couple times a year I'll go all girl and start thinking we need to hold some kind of State of the Union or something. Then I remember just how embarrassing all that sharing can get and the impulse soon passes.

Boxer: Reason #2.1A to get married: Division of Labor. In my case, anything that smacks of tech, mech, or elec is Not My Area. I'm not even allowed near the light bulbs.

Shamu: Maine and New Hampshire I'm sure would work, too. As for the truck, oh, no. Driving that thing makes me nervous. I prefer my vehicles to hug the ground.

Milk: Mumbling is an advanced skill, but once mastered, quite effective.

Karl: When it came to whether or not to have children, both of us were vocal. S.B.: "You want 'em?" Moi: "No." S.B.: "That settles it then." And, it did.

Karl said...

Funny, we had the conversation too, several times. I just missed it the last time. Our first was born two weeks shy of our 20th anniversary.

Boxer said...

I'd love to see an entire post devoted just to things like "the water is wavy" vs. "do you want a baby?"

Mine is much easier; I say; "did you feed the d?ogs" and he hears "I took care of everything, honey"

fishy said...

Blessings on you both! I found this post very endearing. It is so clear Moi, that you would go shoeless for your SB. Happy Anniversary.

moi said...

Karl: That's the thing about life. It often gets the last word :o)

Boxer: Right-o. And let's not forget what happens when we leave. Not permanently, but on a lil' vay-cay to chillax with girlfriends from our positions ruling the universe, and we get home and what's happened? They've gone all native on us and we have to start. Over.

Fishy: Thank you, but actually – giggle – it's not our anniversary : o) I wrote this post after Troll asked me to explain last week how Chevron was responsible for me and S.B. being together.

Sandcastle Momma said...

Truer words have never been spoken. Communication isn't really all it's cracked up to be.
My husband is teaching our sons the art of nod and smile. Their wives will thank him for it.

chickory said...

mumbling worked pretty good for Brando. just sayin...

mech tech and elec! grrrrherhahahahhaaha excellent, moi.

Kymical Reactions said...

the flow of your post today reminds me of PW and From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels. I vote you do a whole series about your courtship with SB, in this style, so I can swoon vicariously through a courtship I never had. :)

TROLL Y2K said...

Funny stuff. He said, she heard.

moi said...

Sandcastle: I envision a world where all men have mastered the art of being sweetly laconic. Especially the politicians.

Chickory: LOTS of things worked for Brando :o)

Kym: I wouldn't exactly call our courtship swoony. It was more like tie a rope to each other's bumper and see who could pull the hardest.

Troll: And, "She says, he doesn't hear."

Big Shamu said...

Happy Non-Anniversary. A great occasion to buy some shoes.



Not Crocs.

Heff said...

So you ARE judging on the 10th. Anything I can do to make your life easier, Moi ?!?? lol...

Pam said...

Such a sweet story! When things are meant to happen, they just go with the flow. I totally understand about the accent, but my story is a bit of the opposite. I was the ONLY one in town not going ga-ga over the British accent. But those going ga-ga couldn't understand it. And I could. Therefore we could converse intelligently. Until such point in time that we lived in the same house with no need to converse. I totally get what you're sayin'!

moi said...

Shamu: Any day is a good day to buy shoes. Except when the Fund is slated to go to the gooberment. Stooooopid gooberment.

Heff: Aw, darn it! The one time I give over judging duties (Kym's doing it next week, not Moi), I get sucked up to by a man who knows his Chanel from his elbow. But I'll remember that for next time . . .

Pam: I just hope that all this splendid non-communicating doesn't eventually evolve to our species learning to mind-read. Because I'm pretty sure I don't want to know what men are thinking, either.

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

OMG that is so f*cking funny I'm peeing myself.

thank you.

moi said...

Dude, I feel for ya. I may be hitched to a southerner, but you got a Scot. That's way hardcore.

czar said...

I'm just catching up. Great post. Because of our schedules and where we do what we do, there are times when I don't lay eyes on my wife until about 11pm -- and we both work at home. We might call a few times a day. Everything's just fine.

When we first started dating, I said virtually nothing to her friends, even though I liked them. I just didn't know yet how to talk to people I didn't know. They either thought I was a jerk or would ask her later, "How did you ever get him to say enough to figure out you wanted to marry him?"

What I did was whisper sarcastic comments to her so she'd laugh in a crowd and no one would know what she was laughing at.

That's all changed. Sometimes I can't shut up now. Well, except around my wife.

The Dylan quote is apropos: "They mistake your sadness for aloofness, and your silence for snobbery."

Anyway, wonderful post.

moi said...

Czar: Isn't that funny! My friends thought S.B. was a deaf/mute when they first met him. Now he won't shut up. But it took about ten years. Must be a gene or something. Because I know men who are the opposite. A friend's dating one. Four months and he's already met all of us, at three parties and one family event. Dude is brave. And vocal. I'm not sure I trust social butterfly men, though.

As for proximity, someone once asked the secret to our 15 years. I said, "He's only been home for seven of them."

Gnomeself Be True said...

Great story moi.

moi said...

Gnome-Man!: Where you been, dude?