Does it go without saying that men should have to go through a basic course before becoming husbands?
Well, if it doesn’t, I’m saying it.
Despite growing up with two sisters and having one of the world’s sweetest women as his mother, my husband has yet to learn some basics of Communicating with the Woman in Your Life.
Also known as The Top Ten Things You Should Never Say (Even If They Might Be True…Especially If They Might Be True).
This realization happened during a recent trip to the mall. I told Brett I NEEDED new clothes. Now, I tell him this often, but apparently there’s a tone I use when I really mean it.
So, off we went on a soon-to-be-fated drive to the mall.
I was happy, bubbling over with cheeriness, at the prospect of new clothes. I daresay shopping for clothes is one of my favorite things. I joyfully over-shared - naming the new items I planned to pick up – career pants, business tops, suit coat, casual tops, and a pair of jeans.
Then, the ball dropped.
My loving, body-image-accepting husband asked, “Why are you getting new jeans? Are the old ones too tight?”
“Hon? Hon? Is something wrong? Why are you crying? Don’t roll down the window, it’s 20 degrees out there! Did you just try to open the door? I haven’t parked yet! Hon? What’s the matter?”
Then, of course, the glass shattered.
“WHAT’S THE MATTER?! ARE MY JEANS TOO TIGHT?! WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY? YOU THINK MY JEANS ARE TOO TIGHT?”
My husband then succeeded in looking completely confused. “I, um, just meant sometimes my jeans shrink in the wash. You know, over time. I thought, maybe, um, yours did too.”
“WELL, MAYBE YOU SHOULD HAVE MARRIED THAT SKINNY LITTLE TWIRP YOU ALMOST WENT OUT WITH INSTEAD OF ME. I’M SURE HER JEANS AREN’T TOO TIGHT. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE – BRAD PITT?
“Babe. I really think you’re blowing this out of proportion. I didn’t mean anything by it. I only asked because I thought your old jeans were fine, and maybe you don’t really need a new pair.”
“So, why’d you ask if they were tight?”
“I don’t know. I just wondered. Really. You’re beautiful.” (head miserably cradled in hands)
By the way, “You’re beautiful” is a lovely sentiment, but if you know it’s being used as bail money, it’s not so appealing.
I, of course, pulled the martyr card.
“I don’t want to go shopping anymore.”
“C’mon babe, we drove all the way out here. Let’s just go inside.”
“No. Everything will probably be too tight anyway.”
“Sweetheart, I really didn’t mean anything by it. Please go in the store with me. People are starting to look at us.”
“You really should have married someone else if you wanted an anorexic wife. Do you want me to be anorexic for you? Would that make you happy? Fine. I’ll just stop eating. Hope the life insurance money will keep you warm at night and pick up all your dirty laundry.”
“I don’t want you to be anorexic. I love you. You are a beautiful, real woman. “
“You’re not attracted to me.”
“YES, I AM.”
“Hmm…maybe I could just go inside and look around.”
“Okay, good! Afterwards, we can have lunch.”
“Oh, I’m not eating anything. My jeans will probably pop right off.”
To help him make up for stuffing those giant size-16 feet in his mouth, I allowed him to help me choose several new outfits. After much more pleading, I was also persuaded to go for lunch, where I allowed myself to be talked out of ordering “just a salad.”
The ride home was much more cordial, as I was high on new-clothes-euphoria, and Brett was thrilled not to be facing a night on the couch.
When I got home, I carefully cut the tags off my clothes. I put all the new business outfits in my closet, and then unfolded my brand new jeans. I popped open the button and slid them on, checking out my very real curves in the mirror.
You see, I love my new jeans.
Mainly because, unlike my old ones, they aren’t too tight.