Thursday, February 8, 2007

Valentine's Day / Gag Reflex

My wife and I settled into the couch, the giddy beneficiaries of a rare early bedtime for our kiddo.

We chatted for a while. Then, our eyes met and we exchanged a long, life affirming gaze. Sensing a rare opportunity for intimacy, my wife “made the first move” by absentmindedly picking at the callous on her foot, which I had already marked on my list of her Top Ten Most Disgusting Habits. It’s right up there with Talking With Her Mouth Full of Toothpaste, which activates my gag reflex.

Let’s face it: it’s not like I can understand her while she’s trying to mouth some peculiar incantation, her failing effort to contain all that foam resulting in a speech pattern resembling that of a Korean head trauma victim.

“Uooua-poomoad-dou-eempdeee-aaa-diwuaauaa,” she said with a stern look as I walked into the bathroom a few nights ago.

“You’re going to have to do better than that,” I replied, wincing.

She spit into the sink, and said, “You promised to empty the dishwasher,” a declaration of such urgency that it apparently could not have waited until after the sacred oral hygiene ritual.

Anyway, back to the couch. Not wanting to let the callous thing ruin the moment, I whispered, “Babe, would you mind not doing that right now? I’d really like us to focus on each other.” It was about that moment that she pointed out a stray hair protruding out of my nostril; efforts to correct the situation resulted in further excavation than I originally anticipated, to the point where I had to spend a couple of minutes looking for a tissue or some discreet place to deposit my discovery. My grossed-out wife may not develop any sincere emotional interest in me again until my wake. But at least I could breathe freely for a while.

I share this story because chances are you fall into one of two categories as Valentine’s Day approaches:

1) Crap, what am I going to get her this year?
2) I hate everyone and I want to die.

If you’re in the second category, you are single on Valentine’s Day. There is no help for you, other than to boycott the holiday in the vain hope of salvaging some pride as you head into the all-important President’s Day sales weekend.

If you’re in the first category, you’re in a long-term relationship whose shiny wax coating has faded, exposing the functional dirty brown callous underneath. For a holiday that’s supposed to be about romance, Valentine’s Day is damn depressing.

Relationship experts stress the importance of doing the “little things” to remind your spouse or partner that you haven’t forgotten how important she is.

“Hi, sweetie, just wanted to call you during my lunch to let you know I’ve been thinking about you.”

“Oh, how sweet!”

“Well, it is getting close to Valentine’s Day, so I thought—“

“No, I meant Rose [our daughter]. She just ran up and gave me a hug.”

“Awww. I wish I’d been there to see that.”

“Yeah, she’s really starting to learn what it means to show affection. Anyway, you were saying…”

“Right. I was saying that it might be nice for us—“

“We can’t pour water on the cat, honey, it’s not nice.”

“--to call the babysitter and maybe set up some time—“

“If you spill the water again, we’ll have to put it away.”

“-- for ourselves, just the two of us.”

“Yeah, that sounds great. No, we’re not going outside, honey, it’s too cold. But we can color if you want to.”

“Because I was thinking about having an affair with a school bus driver who has three teeth.”

“Okay, well, do you want me to make the arrangements, or do you have time to do it?”

“I’ll take care of it on my way home from the brothel.”

“Sounds good. Let me know if you change your – OW! Sweetie, do not kick Mommy while you’re nursing! You have to be gentle!”

“I love you. I gotta go.”

“I love you to. See you when you get home.”

When you get right down to it, if your marriage is not brimming with soul-bending fiery passion, it should at least amuse you. If it doesn’t, what else have you got?


slouching mom said...

My husband and I have phone conversations like yours all the time. He will often answer the phone at work (note that it is I who has called him!) and find me yelling into his ear. The fact that I am not yelling at him but instead at his offspring does little to improve matters. At that point anything I have to say is truly irrelevant. I can no longer ask him to stop by the grocery store on the way home, because

Woman with kids said...

I'm firmly in the second category. Although, if callous picking is the first step to intimacy, I am so lost... which could explain a lot.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Woman with kids said...

I'm firmly in the second category. Although, if callous picking is the first step to intimacy, I am so lost... which could explain a lot.

Thanks for visiting my blog!