From the World’s Worst Dancer…
My husband and I have a few indigenous dances we do regularly. One has to do with dinner and my need for him to give a full account of his reaction to whatever I cook for him. This one is pretty easy to figure out and only gets complicated because of obvious personality disorders.
I cook because it is the only thing that I can do for him that he can’t – or won’t – do for himself. He does many things that I cannot do. Changing the oil, putting on brakes, fixing random broken things, plunging out the toilet, all the dirty, heavy jobs. I can’t – and don’t want – to do any of that. When I see him carry out these unpleasant tasks, my heart is filled with a joy I cannot even put into words. Not because I appreciate him and his sense of manly responsibility, but because I am so, so, so glad I don’t have to do it myself.
So I cook luscious meals for him that I know he could not figure out on his own and would not take the time to find a recipe. This is the one thing I can do for him that he can’t do. He loves food. Almost as much as he loves a cold beer on Friday night. He told me once that he worries about how much he loves food. It was cute and funny but I realized how powerful food really is for him.
The thing is, I can cook fairly well but I don’t care anything about cooking. So when I put a meal in front of him I need to know that it was worth my considerable effort. He knows this somehow. So instead of just saying, “Oh, my gawd, I can’t believe how good this is…how did you do this??,” he pushes the food around and talks about the mower or his job or the upcoming tractor pull (my mind shrieks like a siren here) or how he needs to change some oil.
What he doesn’t talk about is how much he loves the food I have specially prepared for him. It’s a game. He knows I want to hear it. He won’t say it. So I ask. And he says, “Yeah. It’s fine.” So I say, “You mean, um, like, ‘don’t make it again’ fine Or, ‘it’s so-so’ fine or, like, exactly, what do you mean by fine?”
“Yeah, it’s good,” is all I get the first go-round. But it continues until I get what I want. Which is to say, some form of, “This shit is so f*&*%&g good, you are a great – no- a remarkable- an unbelievable cook..” Well actually, it never gets quite that good but the concept is there. He really means to say all that stuff. He just needs me to beg. This goes along with his emotionally constipated personality, of which, he is a text-book example (More on that later).
But this is just the Food Dance. I need to be told my food is good and that I am a good wife for making it. And I am willing to beg to get it. Not so much because I need to hear it. More because I need to break through his control of the situation and force him to say the words. That may go along with my controlling personality. And, I like to win.
Tonight’s dance, though, speaks more to how boring and ill-suited we are to each other. He was supposed to be at a tractor pull and I was thrilled that, A. He did not ask me to go and B. I was going to eat Mexican food that somebody else, somebody who loves to cook, was making for dinner. But he didn’t go to the tractor pull. It rained. They canceled the tractor portion of the event. He didn’t feel well. And, to make things strange right out of the chute, he asked me to stay home with him instead of going to eat Mexican food. I can’t remember him ever doing that before, so, because it was so strange a request, I compromised. I went to eat but promised to be home quickly.
I got home as promised and that surprised him because I am not generally home quickly or early and sometimes not until very late. I think out of sheer gratitude he figured he would do something that I like to do for a change and play on the computer. He actually pulled up a chair and suggested we look at something fun on the internet. I assumed he meant porn so I tried to find some but he insisted he did not mean porn so I landed on – BIG ASS CHEVY TRUCKS WITH 10 INCH LIFTS on You Tube. He was thrilled. And felt so generous, I think. That he would actually sit here and play on the internet, like I like to do, and to be so very gracious and magnanimous about the whole thing made him feel especially pleased with himself.
I did not have the heart to tell him that THIS IS NOT HOW I PLAY ON THE INTERNET. And that watching big-assed Chevy trucks in-person or on You Tube is the equivalent of me asking him to help me sew buttons on a new doll dress that I made or for gawd’s sake read a book. For the record, I do not make doll dresses.
But, here we sat. Him hating the computer and the internet and me hating big-assed Chevy trucks – which apparently rate a whole 2 minute video if they can sit still and spin their tires long enough to create smoke and all kinds of shirtless guys in boots running around laughing and high-fiving. We spent 45 minutes watching this. It was excruciating. Possibly for both of us.
This is a new kind of dance. Our kids are all gone now so we keep finding ourselves alone in the evening asking,
“Wanna’ watch a movie?” Nah. “Wanna’ go fishing?” No thanks. “Wanna learn to crochet?” Um, no. “Wanna see if my tires will spin and smoke?” Seriously? “Want me to cook?”