Bad hair, a headache, a loud co-worker – Oh My!

Today I have broken FIVE bobby pins trying to keep my hair pinned up. And not all of my hair, mind you – just the front pieces. But no matter how many pins I jab into my head, in a matter of minutes my rat’s nest bends and twists the pins until they pop out. In a romantic novel my hair would probably be described as “an uncontrollable mane of curls” but in real life it looks like a white girl’s version of Don King, no joke.

I’ve been proofing extraordinarily technical grants all week long and I find it very difficult to put in an honest-to-goodness eight hours when doing this kind of work.  The material is so dense and by mid-afternoon I have just the worst headache – I almost feel nauseous from them. It’s the kind of work where missing one comma in 88 pages of research could result in my boss firing me, or at the very least, an unpleasant reprimand, and so I try not to miss the commas.

My co-worker, PR Lady, is having trouble with her computer again and I can hear every little detail through our shared wall. Today’s isn’t nearly as delightful as when she opened an unkown attachment and a virus ate her hard drive, but she’s trying to figure out how to download photos from the department’s digital camera,which is entertaining nonetheless.

None of which brings me to today’s thought on marriage, although Emily’s comment in the previous post certainly does (and yes, Emily, PLEASE post on marriage – I would love to read whatever you have to say!).  Emily said in her post to yesterday’s writing that she would like to tackle this subject herself via her blog, and I am so excited she wants to engage in this conversation, because it is important to have married* friends to talk to.

I’m not talking here, necessarily, about “couple” friends, although from my limited experience couple friends rock hard, too, but I think it’s important to have married friends with whom you can discuss the intricacies and intimacies of your marriage without some sort of appalled look falling across their face, without them immediately rushing you to divorce court.  Married people know that divorce cannot be the “go to” solution for their friends, and so can listen with humor and compassion to whatever foibles you have to discuss. I have two married girlfriends I am totally comfortable discussing my marriage with and we have told each other time and again it’s so much easier to be married, having married friends who “get it.” (UPDATE: PR Lady just crashed her computer)

I once told a single friend about S.’s inability to replace anything…from bars of soap to bottles of shampoo to milk, my husband doesn’t worry his pretty little head about the bathroom or kitchen pantry. And it’s okay because that is my job anyway because I am particular about my hair products (see opening) and I prefer to smell like almonds and buy low-fat milk, so it’s all good, but she looked, well, stormy about the whole subject. “I would NEVER be able to handle that,” she said. “Never, ever, ever.”

Well, of course she would. Because in the scheme of everything that occurs when two people cohabitate, replacing the conditioner just isn’t that big a deal. 

Married friends help one another stay married. Having married friends to discuss your latest fight, or your spouse’s latest obsession (Ice Road Truckers, anyone?), or how you feel about your in-laws, or where you are spending Christmas this year – well, it helps. It just does, and it helps in a way that discussing it with people who think they would NEVER put up with what you put up with doesn’t. I guess I’m creating a bit of an Other situation here – the kind of situation that perhaps sounds like I’m devaluing my single friends, but I in no way mean to – the majority of my friends are single and I love each and every one of them for the special grace they bring into my life. But when it comes right down to it, they rarely want to hear about the mundane, unromantic domesticity of married life and really, who can blame them?

I find myself wanting to talk more, here, about the taboos that accompany talking about marriage, but I do have a grant deadline to get to. Hopefully on Friday there will be time – I still horribly recall the time my mom told me I shouldn’t talk with any of my girlfriends about my marriage because I didn’t want rumors spreading that S. and I were having problems. At the time, actually, S. and I were having problems and I felt so claustrophic, so smothered, the possibility of me falling apart wasn’t at all far away. I remember thinking, then, how unfair it was that I wasn’t supposed to talk about the problems in my marriage, for fear of how it would look, when discussing openly what was happening would probably be the most honest, and most comforting, thing for me.  Because so few people want to hear the struggles married people go through, having married friends who with both listen to your problems and share their own is incredibly helpful.

Now, I know I said I’d share what a shithead I can be – I hope to get to it.  Off the top of my head, you should know when S. and I fight, we almost always go to bed angry and sometimes don’t talk for days. I break the cardinal rule and bring up divorce even though you are never ever ever in a million years supposed to ever do that according to all clergy everywhere because it breaks trust, but I just get so mad. I have ripped up magazines that S. wanted to read, and while I rarely get angry, when I do it is loud, dramatic, messy, confrontational and I do not care who hears me even though, I know S. does care. Tomorrow I want to talk specifically about recognizing the politics involved in choosing to get married, and Friday I hope to write  something a bit more light-hearted, although I may end up choosing to write about the ridiculousness of NOT talking about the problems that crop up. We shall see.  In the mean time – married friends. They rock.

(PR lady is now sharing a bouillabaisse recipe on the phone?)

* – I know by narrowing this discussion to marriage I am neglecting the fact that there is a vast contigent of domestic partners who are unable to be married, although they would love to be so, and I’m also neglecting people in long term relationships. I’m doing this only for language purposes, because to write “married people, and domestic partners, and those in long-term relationships” simply takes up too much time, but I do think these discussions apply to any and all of the above. Surely, if you read this blog, you are grateful for any attempt at brevity I make, yes?

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7 Responses to Bad hair, a headache, a loud co-worker – Oh My!

  1. Kerryn says:

    I’ve done all of the above — mentioned the “d” word, gone to bed and woken up angry, torn up cards that cost too much but were picked especially and valued highly because of that, argued so the whole neighbourhood could hear and talked with people outside our marraige about the problems we’ve been having — plus some. Just recently, I found myself saying something that I promised myself I’d never say (ie. If I’d known that this was what it was going to be like, I never would have…) because it seemed too far. It was but we’re both still here.

    Married friends (friends in long term relationships, etc) do rock. Who else would understand the frustrations and sometimes petty reasons for that frustration (the complete inability to wipe the bench down after packing the dishwasher or to turn lights out on leaving a room)? Conversely, who else understands that, really, all of this is normal and not the end of the marriage? And who else would tell you, no, you’re not going mad and this current madness will end, if you have patience and love and care enough, reminding you that you do?

    I’ve gone on far too long. I’m really enjoying these posts and each of them has touched more than just a chord.

  2. Emily Barton says:

    Just you wait. This fall, when I have some time, I will do more than one post on this topic. In fact, maybe we should create (yet) another blog devoted to marriage and how and why we all manage to stick with it. Also, why is it so taboo to discuss all the nitty-gritty details of the compromise of marriage, and has it always been that way? One thing I have come to believe more than ever: marriage is great; being single is great. Marriage can suck; being single can suck. In other words, the grass is not greener on either side of the fence. They are just different. I admire you for having gotten married so young (I never, ever could have done that) and for being so wise about it. Oh yes, and I have gone to bed angry many, many a night. What I love, though, is to look back on the things that made us go to bed angry 10 or 12 years ago (or that would ruin entire weekends) and to be able to laugh at how silly we were back then.

  3. I’m loving your marriage posts. Please don’t stop. I agree that it really helps to have friends who are also in longterm partnerships to talk to. For me, it also helps to talk to friends who know and like my husband – they know he is far too nice for me to ever think of leaving him and they understand that I’m just offloading. It’s vital, and I think it helps them to offload to me.

    As for fights, we have them so seldom that they really hurt. And we do go to bed angry – usually one of us flounces out of the room and sleeps on the sofa.

  4. Kerryn – you never go on too long! And it’s nice to know I’m not alone with my temperment…sometimes I think S.’s family is so cerebral and easy going that I’m somehow wrong in getting mad sometimes.
    Emily – I adore the idea of creating a blog about this subject but until I can get my booty regularly over to poor what we said, I’m abstaining from creating any more blogs. I did get married so young, which is hiliarious when I think how determined I was to never marry.
    Charlotte- S. and I rarely fight anymore, either,actually. The first few years we fought more,but even then it wasn’t all that often. I can’t imagine being in a relationship where regular fighting occurs (ie, every day or week or even month!)

  5. Dorothy W. says:

    You know, about fighting — I’ve found that we fight less than we used to, too, although that doesn’t mean we’ve solved the problems we used to fight about. No, what it means is that we’ve given up solving some of them, which I don’t think is a bad thing. There are some ways our personalities grate against each other’s, and I don’t know if we can change that.

  6. Stefanie says:

    I’ve been enjoying your marriage posts even though this is the first time I have managed to comment. My husband and I have arugments but neither of us likes conflict so we are always quick to make up. I’m slower about making up than he is and it drives him nuts that even if we’ve made up I’m still mad for a little while and not instantly cuddly and perky.

  7. Andi says:

    I have a bitch of a headache, so this will be brief. You touched on several GREAT points (going to bed angry, for one) that I read in an article JUST TODAY on how to stay married. How to let the little crap go and focus on the big crap. And, it sounds like we fight JUST ALIKE! Much to B.’s chagrin, I’m sure. But it is good to know that I’m not the only one who plays dirty and gets loud.

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