Good advice from Wife M

We were waiting for dinner with my parents and I was standing next to two young women while Wife M talked to my parents.  The way the line worked, I was facing right the women, who were two feet away from me.  Silence bothers me, so I asked one of the women what her drink was since it looked cool, and that started a conversation, which I quickly brought in Wife M (it turnd out the second woman happened to be standing with that woman but was with another group).  A minute or two later, the woman’s male partner returned, and I said, “Hi there, I was just asking…”  At that moment, I paused, not wanting to offend them.  Was it his girlfriend?  WIfe?  Friend?  Life partner?  WHo knew?  As I thought through this, I decided to say, “she” so then finished with, “what she was drinking.”  That launched another conversation in which I again made sure I was including the guy plus Wife M.  Soon, it was time to go into the restaurant and the conversation ended.

Later, Wife M said, “You have to be careful talking to people.  They thought you were hitting on her?”

“Are you kidding?” I said.  “She was half my age and I am with you.”

“First of all, you look young for your age, and second of all, that doesn’t stop a lot of men,” Wife M said.  “THey realized eventually that you weren’t hitting on her, but it was awkward at first.”  We realized at that point that my hesitation made it seem like I was thinking of an excuse to cover up that I was hitting on his partner/friend/wife/girflriend.

“Just be aware of that,” she said.  “You don’t want to make people feel uncomfortable.”

Since then, I’ve been really careful, and appreicate that Wife M told me that.  It is also a little discouraging – I’ve been appreciating that in middle age that women don’t approach me anymore (it has been 6 years since a woman approached me, something that used to happen semi-regularly when I was young, which was hard since I had to risk hurting someone’s feelings by telling them I was happily married), but also appreciating that I could talk to women withouth them thiking I aws hitting on them (I am friendly, and a lot of women used to mistake that for flirting, which always annoyed the sh*t out of me since I was happily married).  Turns out, I was only half right, that women still might think I am hitting on them when starting innocent conversation, and Wife M is right – there are a lot of creeps out there willing to approach women who are young enough to be there daughter.  I am not one of them, but women who don’t know me have no way of knowing that.

Sigh.  The creeps out there make it harder for the rest of us.

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Good advice from Wife M

Oooohhh, so *this* is how the yelling starts in a relationship…

Wife M and I rarely — if ever — yell at each other.  At times we might get sarcastic, express displeasure at something or even bicker, but we rarely actually yell (and 99% of the time we are lovey-dovey :)). So I’ve always wondered, how does someone start yelling in a relationship?  In those relationships where a person is moody and raises their voice — how does it progress from the first date and the honeymoon period to actual yelling?  I could never quite figure that out.  But after a meeting with my boss last week, I think I know…

My boss actively courted me for over six months.  We had coffee, he sent me notes asking me to come work for him, and when I started working for him he stopped by several times a day to make sure I was okay.  Then after a few weeks he stopped popping by.  Then he started coming in through the other door so some days I didn’t see him, and if I popped in his office for a moment to ask about something he had a look of tolerance on his face, like I was interrupting him.  One day he didn’t make eye contact as I passe dhim.  In the meantime, he made a flippant comment about an employee or two, and I heard him yelling twice at other employees through the office walls.  

Then last week, he raised his voice at me during a meeting.  Not actual yelling, but he was visibly frustrated and his voice was over a conversational level.  I hate yelling.  My family yelled at each other a lot when I was growing up, and over time I came to really hate it.  So when someone yells at me I genuinely want to punch them, and when the yelling is over it is  hard for me to not distrust them (although he is not a bad guy, per se).  Last week, my boss didn’t actually yell at me, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at the escalation over time, over hear the yelling at others, and to see that eventually I too will be yelled at.

But what is most interesting, is that *now* I see how people start yelling at their spouse – it happens gradually, like the foot in the door principal.  So in baby steps you go from whispering sweet nothings with someone to their hollering at you and blaming you for their problems.  Wild!

I am glad Wife M and I don’t yell at each other (I think our last genuine yelling match was almost 20 years ago).  And I don’t know how someone can spend their life with someone — and sleep with someone — who yells at them.  I think I would have to leave that person.  And because I was an adult before yelling truly started to repulse me, I am lucky that I met Wife M young and it happened to be that we’re not yellers.

Oooohhh, so *this* is how the yelling starts in a relationship…

Really enjoyed my mani-pedi today!

Wife M scheduled manis and pedis for us today.  My pedicurist was especially good, and had a good touch and gave a good massage.  I spent the entire hour with my eyes closed while focusing on the warmth of the shoulder pillow, the soothing feeling of the process plus foot/shoulder massage and enjoying my warm tea.  It was a marvelous hour at a time when I am in a lot of pain/fatigue from my illness and also feeling worried about my current flare and spot on my lungs.  

Commentary: Once again, there were like 10 women and 1 dude (me) in there — some day, maybe, more dudes will figure out how great mani/pedis are and how nice it is to have groomed hands and feet.  Until then, I’ll enjoy being the only guy in a salon of women 🙂  When I was in college, there were times when guys would comment about how did I know so many women – duuuuhhh, it is the little things that indicate you are not a gorilla or clueless dude, little things like manis/pedis, asking women questions about their lives instead of talking about yourself, wearing stylish shoes/shirts that a stylish woman picked out for you and making flawless eye contact (that is, keeping eyes up or away, and not on breasts or other women). Also, the topic of sex should never come up, ever – it is okay for women to talk about sex with other women, but as a married man making any (even harmless) comment about sex is risking crossing that line of trust.  Even after 25 years of blissful monogamy, those habits are still ingrained in me and help keep my relationship with Wife strong.  

Anyway, I enjoyed my mani/pedi today.

Really enjoyed my mani-pedi today!

Wife M is terribly sick today again

Since January, Wife M has not been herself and has been going to doctors for many months trying to figure out what it is.  Each month the past three months she has one day where she is incredibly head achy and vomits violently all day, which is making us suspect it is a hormonal imbalance.  While she is miserable today, hopefully this is a clue (because she can tie it to the day in terms of when this appears in relation to her cycle) and the doctors can diagnose and treat this.  She’s been through cancer scares, autoimmune scares, infectious disease tests, and so on.  We can’t wait to have this thing diagnosed and treated.  

Wife M is terribly sick today again

Was thinking fondly of wife M – yet again

As I walked through the UW campus tonight and saw all the young folks strolling, it made me think of how my wife and I were about that age when we met.  And here we are in the blink of an eye now in our 40s.  Crazy.  And I made me feel so much fondness towards Wife M, yet again.  I wouldn’t have scripted my life out any other way, I love (and have always loved) her so much 🙂 … I liked to date when I was that age — I really enjoyed meeting new people and learning about them — but never did I meet anyone before her I thought I could give my life to: most people drive me a little crazy when Ispend too much time with tham over a concentrated period of time (i.e. I need some breaks) plus honestly I was surprisingly intense at that age and probably would’ve driven everyone else but the heroically patient M crazy after too long of time.  So it worked out pretty darn good. 🙂

Was thinking fondly of wife M – yet again

She likes Arty Music and I like Arty Movies

Wife M (who is freakishly smart and cultured) teases me about my movie choices, what she calls “Farty Films” after artsy-fartsy type movies: subtle films (sometimes black and white classics) that are more about the subtleties.  I love Mission Impossible and James Bond as much as anyone, but the scenes I remember are the awesome subtle ones, like Lee Marvin’s determined walk down the LA airport in Point Blank or the lunch conversation between Jake Gettes and Noah Cross in Chinatown or Orson Welles lurking in the shadows in The Third Man.  Also, I loved film study in high school, where my teacher seemed to have a taste for very short 1950s French Films dripping with symbolism; he’d start and stop the film and point out things, and I loved every minute of it,whereas most my classmateds hated it 🙂   M hates that kind of stuff, too…  But I realize this morning that she really loves artsy music; she listens to all the songs on an album, and loves indy artists of all types and kinds, often subtle songs with very little (or any) rhythm.  I hate that stuff.  To me, hell will be someone strumming a guitar and singing soft songs with no discernable beat while I am stuck on a sailboat — all stuff that puts me to sleep.   I love dance music, something with a beat and high energy that isn’t played on the radio too much (or at all).  So I realize this morning that M’s music is the same as my movie taste.  She says Tomato, I say Tomato 🙂

She likes Arty Music and I like Arty Movies

Wife M and I married 22 years ago this evening :)

We were married in the summer of 1994, which was a warm one for Seattle, including Seattle’s first ever official 100 degree day in July.  It had been a very busy summer for us – M made her own wedding dress, and I was in graduate school and working multiple jobs.  One of my jobs was working as a host at a waterfront restaurant, and because it was a warm summer every day was very crowded and busy, so I was working very hard (often double shifts) on top of school so was very tired much of that summer although I have fond memories of the entire summer.  

What I remember most of the morning of the wedding was driving the car to the hotel before the ceremony so we’d have it the next day, then walking the half mile to the church on a beautiful sunny morning thinking how strange it was that I was getting married that day.  

Our reception was wonderful and it was at a fancy women’s club in downtown Seattle and completely funded by M’s grandma, which I appreciate so much (and wish she were with us so I could tell her that once again).  We were all so young, and M and I were so happy, and we served only wine (not hard booze) and the reception was in the evening (versus late) so we were all in high spirits for the entire evening.  

Another thing that was fun was that we had freak thunder storm just prior to our rehearsal, which was fun, then had the rehearsal dinner at an upscale chicago pizza style restaurant on Capitol Hill, which was a lot of fun. Again, all of us were young — our friends were in their teens and 20s, and our parents were in their 4os and early 50s — so were a lively bunch.

I really loved the entire day, and can’t imagine being married to anyone else.  I’ve adored wife M since our first date, have never regretted my loyalty to her, and seriously doubt I ever will 🙂  If I could change anything about our marriage, it is taht I wish M’s grandma were still alive (she passed away in 2006).

Wife M and I married 22 years ago this evening :)