Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Things I Hate About You

So there's this show on Bravo, in between Queer Eye and Queer Eye, hosted by Mo Rocca, called Things I Hate About You. The premise is simple. Each week features a couple. Each partner builds a case against the other partner. He snores. She spends way too much on clothes. He farts and burps. She pays more attention to the dog than she does to me. A panel of judges assigns points, and there points are tabulated and a decision is rendered on who is the most annoying.

Okay. I'm fascinated.

Absolutely there are those... those... things. You meet somebody, you date, you really like him, you move in, and BLAMMO! Here are the things. They totally make you nuts.

Inevitably, I cast my mind back to the Seven and a Half Year Relationship. (Special Guy, of course, was totally thing-free.) Absolutely there were things. What if the Ex and I had been on the show? What would our things be?


Here, I think, would be what the Ex would have on me...

1. He Disappears

"I'll be home at 7 p.m." he says to me before he leaves the house. At seven fifteen he's not here. I call him at work. They tell me he left at six thirty. He walks in the door at eight. I ask, where have you been? "Whaddyamean? At work." When confronted with the evidence, he'll offer, "I stopped and picked up milk" or something. Where does he go? What happens to him?

2. He's Addicted To Data

There we are having dinner together. Time for us. Uh oh. There's the New Yorker sitting on the kitchen counter. he picks up the New Yorker and is immediately engrossed. He's addicted to data. He's got to constantly be fed. He spends the entire morning reading the paper and listening to NPR on the radio. He says he needs to keep up on things for his job. How long would it take to find out if there's any mention of his needle exchange program in the Times?

3. I'm Drinking That

In the morning, he pours himself a humongous mug of tea. It goes upstairs with him to get dressed. It comes downstairs. If it's a weekend, it will follow him outside to do yardwork. Down to the laundry room to do the wash. At some point during the day, the humongous mug of tea will be left behind. On the deck. Up in the bedroom. On his desk. Wherever. I'll find it and take it down to the kitchen and put it in the sink. Inevitably, I'll hear, "I'm drinking that!" The humongous mug of tea, by the way, will never ever end up in the sink unless I intervene.

Okay. My turn.

1. On Being Wrong.

I usually drive. Because he makes me nuts when he drives. Always flying into a rage. But that's another story. Anyway. Say we'er stuck in a traffic jam on the FDR. It's a traffic jam, right? Nobody is going anywhere. He will become convinced that one of the other lands is moving better. And tell me I'm in the Wrong Lane. I hate changing lanes when all the traffic is stalled. You have to get somebody's eye and do the pleading smile and wave, or be an asshole and cut them off. And let's be clear: there is no Right Lane! Same deal when I'm parking in a parking lot. I pick the Wrong Spot. Or coming up to a toll plaza? I pick the Wrong Tollbooth. And so, he yells at me and insults me.

2. I'm Killing Him

He has all of these ever evolving food issues. No dairy. Only soy milk. Nothing baked. No pasta. Only pasta. No meat. I do all the cooking. Every night, I'm challenged with coming up with a something delicious and wonderful for dinner. Most of the time, I hit it. But, alas, there we'll be half way through dinner and he'll realize that those are pieces of chevre on the salad. And flip out. Because he's not doing milk. That week. And so, he accuses me of being insensitive to his dire health situation (in his forties, he's getting love handles; and ten years ago, before I even met him, he came in with high cholesterol, which has since resolved itself). He'd get all upset, like reeeally upset, and accuse me of trying to kill him.

3. Clothes Minded

About half the time when I get ready to leave the house in the morning, what I'm wearing will not pass muster. He has a thing about the collars of tshirts: they have to be tight around the throat. And then there was the thing about khaki pants. He became convinced that you could only wear khaki pants in the summer. Despite me showing him that the khaki pants I was wearing had been marked by the GAP as 'winter weight.' Or I had the top button on my three button suit buttoned. Or that I had no buttons on my suit buttoned. Or whatever. Too formal. Too relaxed. And here's the kicker: I would sent upstairs to change. There I was. All of 34 years old, and I had to go change my sweater. And he did this--on the average--about two or three times a week.

I watered my complaints about him down for purposes of television. The screaming rages, for example, probably wouldn't be good for ratings, although I'd totally win with those. And he would probably bring up his chief complaint, that I did NOTHING and contributed NOTHING and initiated NOTHING in our relationship and homelife, although probably not, because he couldn't deliver these charges without being in an incoherent rage.

Damn relationships are tough. Just baffling to me. How do people do that? Why do people do that?

I almost wouldn't want to use that r-word to refer to what I had with Speical Guy, and what I now have with Big. There's no Working On. There's no obligations. There's no questions of infidelity. It's pretty much just about wanting to spend time with someone because doing that makes you happy.

Maybe that's an adolescent and immature way of approaching a relationship. Maybe Dr. Phil and his ilk would be appauled by that. Maybe there's a reason why the time I spent with Special Guy endured for five months.

But let's be clear. My life is good. I like my life. I'm satisfied, happy, fufilled, and kept interested. Having an amazing man in my life is gravy.

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