Friday, June 25, 2004

Why Husband Cannot Be BF

Last night, for example, he told me he hadn't left my shirt at the laundry/drycleaner because the launderer guy had insisted that he had to dry-clean my machine washable shirt -- at three times the price of washing it, of course. My husband insisted that he would not pay for the shirt to be dry-cleaned, but the guy then said they couldn't just wash it because it was a "different size" than the shirts they wash. (Apparently, all men wear shirts that are larger than my XL button-down "blouse" -- sorry fellas, you gotta have some barrel chest to compete with my 38-Ds.) Well, of course, this is outrageous and I immediately chimed in with my own indignation, inventing scenarios in which we could really "stick it to them" for being such jerks... you, know, put the fear of god into them for such blatantly discriminatory pricing policies, etc. It was fun. I started indulging this great fantasy about taking in a tape recorder and asking them to tell him, again, on tape, their reasons for why my XL machine washable shirt could not be washed rather than dry-cleaned for the same price as any man's laundered shirt --- and then his handing them his card (he's a lawyer).

I thought D. had been listening with amusement -- as I think, any girlfriend would have been. I couldn't see his face, because his back was to me. Suddenly, while I was mid-sentence and deep in the satisfying fantasy of seeing this little worm of a drycleaner squirm, D. says in a strained voice: "Okay, I get it. I'm a total failure as a man for not making them do it right. Well, tell you what, from now on you can pick up and drop off your own laundry." End of conversation.

I don't want a girl for a husband. I like sleeping with men, my man in particular. Besides which, I think my husband is a fine, truly fine, man --- physically, ethically, mentally, etc. He is my Atticus Finch --- an epitome of a fine man. Of course, the last thing I think is that he's a total failure.

Let's just say this: I'll be the first to defend mine, and any woman's rights to equal respect, equal pay, equal opportunity, and equal laundry prices. But there is a difference between the genders and it isn't just equipment.

For all the ways my husband knows me better than anyone else --- and he does --- and loves me better than anyone else --- and he does --- and is the person above all I'd want to spend 365 days in a row talking about anything under the sun --- and I have and would do it again in a heartbeat --- there will always be that barrier to some kinds of conversation and the transmission of certain ideas between us. Namely, that impenetrable male ego and perspective --- and, I think, my own persistent failure to account
for it more generously.