Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Secrets of a Happy Marriage

I learned a great lesson on how to keep a marriage happy from the French master chef Jacques Pepin. He was on the radio on Thanksgiving Day (on NPR, of course—you know me!) talking about cooking for the holiday with Lynne Rosetto Kasper of The Splendid Table. She does a turkey day program every year called Turkey Confidential. Listeners can call in and ask all manner of questions regarding the preparation, cooking and serving of virtually anything you can imagine. It’s quite informative, and lots of fun to listen to if you happen to be alone in the kitchen on that day!

Lynne Rosetto Kasper

One of her guests was the aforementioned Jacques Pepin. He’s very amusing and entertaining, and being a Frenchman of the old school, I must say that he is also charming. In the midst of all the discussion of how to choose your ingredients, how to clean, slice, and dice them, how to safely cook them and how to beautifully serve them, Monsieur Pepin slipped in the most valuable nugget of info of the decade. I will share it with you. Perhaps many, many marriages and other relationships can be saved.
Jacques Pepin

Jacques Pepin noted almost offhandedly that there was a point on which he and his wife disagreed. They therefore did what she wanted, as their plan is that when they differ, they do what she wants. At the same time, when they agree on things, they do what he wants. This, he avers, is completely fair. I agree. It just ain’t never gonna happen in this marriage. You recall that I am married to the Center of the Universe, so we handle things differently.

In our marriage, CoTU handles all the small decisions, and I handle all the big decisions. We’re just so lucky that in all these years we’ve never had to make a big decision.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hair and There

I have no idea why I spend so much time and energy ironing the backs of my pants. Let’s face it, by the time I drive anywhere, they’re so wrinkled, I might as well have spent that time drinking. Unless I’m dressing to have people over at my own house, I hereby vow to stop wasting time ironing the backs of my pants. Until the guilt gets me. It got me. I’ll iron ‘em, I promise.

But it’s a lot like combing the back of my hair, or more specifically, the hair on the back of my head. I twirl my round brush with one hand, wave the hair dryer over it with the other hand, and then I check it in the hand mirror, to make sure I don’t look like a wacko. Well, at least not like a wacko who doesn’t know enough to fix the back of her hair. Then I get in the car to go where I’m going, and the headrest makes the back of my hair look like Woody Allen. From the front. Seriously, it ends up looking like a matted and misshapen stuffed animal is perched on the back of my head. It’s gross.

This brings me to a question that’s been bothering me for years. Now I’ll bring it up here and it can bother you, too. Or perhaps you’ll have an answer for me, and I can start sleeping through the night.

We –that is my husband, the Center of the Universe (CoTU) and I --will go out on a Saturday night with friends. In preparation, we shower, shampoo, rinse and repeat. I fix my hair, he shaves, we dress, I put on makeup, not necessarily in that order. But close. I frequently iron my pants, his pants, and God knows whatever else happens to need ironing.

I’m pretty sure the other couple we’re going out with goes through the same rigmarole. Except for one thing. At least half the time, we see other adult men in a restaurant or at the theatre who, while nicely dressed, and driving nice cars, don’t seem to own a comb or a hairbrush. Or if they do, they don’t know what it’s supposed to be used for.

Now I understand that men of a certain age (though I’m uncertain as to what the ‘certain’ actually means here) are no longer trying to attract a mate, having already accomplished that feat. Same thing can be said for women. But I never see women who go out (except on the way home from the gym) without at least trying to make their hair look decent. Women may not always curl, straighten, flat iron, or spray their hair, but I’ve yet to see a woman on a Saturday night at a restaurant who hadn’t at least COMBED her hair. Men? –not so much. I’ve seen hair that looked as if it hadn’t even been combed when the barber cut it. It’s scary.

Again, I can even comprehend that it slips a guy’s mind, and he’s more interested in who won the Big 12 game that afternoon, and what dinner’s going to cost him. The real mystery is how his wife doesn’t pleasantly suggest that he comb his hair before they leave home. You know, a simple, “Mortimer, your hair looked so nice when you combed it last month. Would you like to try that again tonight?” Unless his name isn’t Mortimer, and then it just wouldn’t make any sense at all.

Maybe she was busy ironing her pants.