• Sahar Abdulaziz

Touché, My Dear Man

9 AM: Me: "Hon? Do you still want your tea?" [Cup sits on counter covered for past two hours]

Husband: “Yes.”

2 pm: Me: "Your tea is still on the counter."

Husband: “I know. Please leave it. I intend to drink it after I work out.”

7 pm: Me: "Oh look! Your teacup is still here. I can make you a new one."

Husband: “No, I’m drinking it, I’m drinking it.”

10 pm: Me: "Hon? I’m going to chuck this thing."

Husband: “Why? I’m going to drink it. Please, just leave it there.”

5 AM: NEXT DAY: Teacup is still on the counter.

So, in married life, you can do one of two things. One, you can let the idiosyncrasies of your mate drive you into a mental institution, OR two, you can have some fun with it. I chose the latter.

The man I’m married to has a laundry basket full of quirks. -Some more adorable than others. I do too, don’t get me wrong, but I’m the writer in this relationship, so I get to choose who gets the spotlight.

When first married, I used to think that a few of his ‘special’ habits would be the end of me. So I devised a plan. Instead of getting upset, instead of taking it personally, I’d make him crazier with his quirks than me. Sounds easy? Sounds fun? You bet.

Here, let me give you an example:

So my husband is a grazer. Loves to munch all day long, like a squirrel. When first married, those snacks would be in the junk category, but soon I had converted him into healthier combination of bites. Now- what’s the fun in this you ask? Well, half the joy of snacking is in the acquisition. Collecting all the nibbles, putting them in a bowl or a cup or napkin- so I keep the house well stocked in healthy bites like cashews, peanuts, almonds, raisins, dates, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, cranberries, etc. You get the idea.

--HOWEVER, I keep his snacks in separate containers all over the kitchen, in the pantry, in closed candy jars all throughout the house, making it a scavenger hunt every time the man wants to chew. For three decades, he hasn’t picked up on my scheme, cheerfully going on his hunt every single day. Walking around with his glass dish, filling it up with his delectables, happy as can be. I can’t tell you the joy I feel watching him do this, especially if he’s on my shit list. -And since he never reads what I write, I’m safe disclosing my scheme here. Muha-ha-ha.

Care for another example? Of course, you do.

My husband is very particular about his clothes. When we first got married, he went into shock when I informed him that I do not iron, and for that matter, never owned an iron. Couldn’t believe it. Thought I was kidding. Even tried to convince me that blue jeans were in need of a press. Swore up and down that his jeans had to have a straight crease on each leg, so trust me when I tell you, not only is he in a time warp [The 70’s are calling, Hon- what do you want me to tell them?] but his lack of style is notorious.

So what was a newly married, still trying to figure this married life out- free-spirit-never gonna-iron-in-your-life-kinda-gal gonna do?

Argue? No, one does not argue or reason with a fastidious lunatic.

Complain? Nay. I was madly in love with this crazy guy- still am, and it wasn’t like he was forcing me to iron his stuff. He was more than happy to iron his own clothes- for hours, and hours, and hours.

Screw with his mind? Sure. All’s fair in love and war.

And so, I decided to give ironing a shot. Why not? How hard could it be? Plus, once I ironed, he’d come to his senses.

And boy, oh boy did I iron.

I ironed everything you could imagine. Thought I was getting the hang of it. I would have ironed the toilet paper had it been made out of fabric. However, because I never ironed before, everything I attempted to iron turned into sort of a mini-disaster. You should have seen his face when he saw his precious jeans. They now had quite a few creases by the time I was finished. Almost had a coronary. It was hilarious. He kept looking into my face to see if I was for real, and in all honesty, it took everything I had not to laugh. Instead, I pretended to be heartbroken about the fact that all his stuff now looked like a road map. He, being the sweet [naïve] man he was and continues to be, comforted me and told me that ironing just wasn’t my thing. Not to worry- he’d take care of it moving forward. Ta-Da.

Update: His jeans FINALLY no longer have a crease and when I offer to iron his clothes, he still politely continues to say, “No thank you,”- although the last time he did smirk, so I think he's finally caught on.

Another example you say?

We own two cars: his and mine. We both have a set of keys for each other’s car on our key ring. Naturally, most couples do the same thing. It only makes sense. However, my other half takes the key thing to a new and very special level. How? Let me tell ya!

Let’s say we are going out, and the weather has turned cold and nasty, and I’m ready to leave first. I’ll start the car to warm it up with my set of keys. Sounds reasonable, right? Well, when this man gets into the car, he’ll turn off the ignition and insert his key instead. Why? Who the hell knows, but he’s done this stupid crap our entire married life. I asked him once about it, and he said, “I like using my keys.”

Um …okay. ----Seriously? –Like, what’s the difference? Is his key the magic key? Does his key make him a safer driver? Get better gas mileage? Perhaps it protects him from tickets and fines, repels dastardly deeds like a superman cape.

So, in response what do I do? You got it. I use my set of keys every single time I decide to be nice and warm up the car -just for shits and giggles. Now, he’s not stupid. He’s gotten hip to this stunt, [it only took him two decades to figure this one out] and knows I’m messing around with him. So, when he gets into the car, he makes an elaborate change of guard: taking out my key, handing it back to me, and inserting his own. The expression on his face is priceless – like look at me- I know what you’re up to, I’m too sharp for you to pull that on me kind of expression. –Yup- you got me! Busted!

And so, we come full circle back to the teacup left on the kitchen counter this morning. Because, you see, while I’m having fun finding playful ways to screw around with him, he, of course, has a few of his own up his perfectly ironed sleeve.

He knows full well how much I despise dishes left in the sink, or on the table, and especially on the counter. Purposely leaves that one single darn semi-filled teacup- more like a mug, right where he knows it will piss me off. Swears up and down he’s coming back to drink it. No matter how many times I try to subtlety infer through my many lame attempts to inquire as to his cup's pending future, -he gleefully responds with the same, tired mantra- leave it there- he’s getting to it.

Okay. Fine. He’s got that one . . .Touché, my dear man, touché.

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