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.