Now We Are Six

5f88I’m late in mentioning that Saturday was our six year wedding anniversary. Which means we are less than four months away from 13 years together.

Yeesh! How did THAT happen?

Six is the iron anniversary. Because we had to prove that we’ve been together forever, we secretly purchased each other coordinating gifts: I bought him a grill press and he bought me a dutch oven. Same brand. I KNOW.

We also had dinner at our favorite Spanish restaurant (warning: site plays music), where we ate tapas (which is what was served at our reception). I had a bowl of amazing gazpacho and Will had the mixed grill plate o’ meat. We brought home dessert to share with K, and I have to say theirs is the best chocolate mousse ever.

Next year is the wool anniversary. I CAN’T WAIT.

Photo copyright © Diana Jeong October 16, 2004

And I just can’t hide it!

Tonight! Will and I! Are going! On a date! I’M SO EXCITED!

I wish I owned tights. I’d like to wear a dress but we’re going on the Vespa.

After much debate of the pros and cons, we’ve decided to get a pitcher of Guinness rather than ordering a pint at a time. It’s economical.

Oh gosh, I should shave my legs!

I won the Best Family Ever contest.

So I was thinking that I could probably manage one load of laundry at a time (I can’t carry more than that and our laundry cart is broken), and since there are about three to be done I could get it finished by Christmas, even doing just one per day. I was not in love with this plan, but it seemed workable. (God I hate coin op laundry. Can’t believe I’m about to diaper a second child this way. Must continue reminding myself that it worked just fine with Sam.)

Will and Sam have just taken ALL of the laundry downstairs. As in, it will be done tonight. I am feeling so incredibly lucky right now.

Crush

I’ve often claimed that I began to develop a crush on Will on the night of the absinthe.

It was the middle of the night and we’d both been woken. He’d wound up in the common room of my dorm due to a fire alarm. My room was just off the common room. Someone had brought some homemade absinthe and when I came out of my room, he was trying to goad Will into trying it. Will and I sat on the table outside my room and I teased him into tasting it by telling him it tasted like licorice. I’m not sure how I knew that he loves licorice, but I did. So we drank absinthe and he put his arm around me while we all chatted and he called me Darlin’. Because, as I later found out, he could not remember my name.

And that’s a sweet story, but another moment has occurred to me as a contender. (These were all nearly 12 years ago, so I can just keep guessing. We’ll never know when I fell for him.)

We were sitting in my common room (let’s be honest, 99% of our college stories start this way). His cigarette pack was on the arm of his chair. I reached from across the room to use the force to get one to come to me. He lit one, stood up, walked over, and placed it between my lips.

This Just In: Marriage Not For Everybody

I recently read an article called “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off” by Sandra Tsing Loh in the Atlantic. The author, an NPR science commentator with whom I was not previously familiar, had an extramarital affair and decided, on trying to piece the marriage back together, that the entire institution is outdated and that not only should she divorce, but no one should get married in the first place. I read it because it was described as “provocative” and someone whose opinion I think very highly of said that it affirmed her choice to not get married.

I thought the entire thing was a gigantic pile of steaming bantha pudu. Loh is a good writer, and I am interested to read her book on choosing a preschool for her child (the preschool phenomena in this country is, in my opinion, the most ridiculous and out-of-control nonsense I have encountered in other parents, and Loh’s decision to put her child in public school makes me curious), but this article failed to engage my interest and did not, in my opinion, do anything to make a case against marriage. All it successfully made a case against was Loh herself being married, and frankly only because she came across as a selfish shrew who was unsuited for partnership of any kind.

Here’s the basics: After twenty years of marriage, Loh has an affair. She breaks it off, and she and her husband seek counseling. She decides to stop pursuing reconciliation when she realizes that her husband does not excite her the way her fellow transgressor did. When she tells her apparently happily married girlfriends that she is divorcing, they take it as permission to give up on their marriages and confess that neither of their husbands will have sex with them anymore and they feel trapped in their marriages.

A few years ago I read another pro-divorce article, this one by a woman in my age group (Loh is more than a decade older than me) who had been married for a few years and liberated herself by kicking her husband to the curb and starting over again. And hey, so did all her friends! Starter marriages are all the rage! Unfortunately, I can’t find the article now. It might have been by the author of The Starter Marriage, but I don’t think it was.

These articles are being hailed as revolutionary and feminist. And I’m sorry, but that is just crap. There is nothing more feminist about ditching a commitment than there is about working hard to keep one. Neither is inherently feminist, though it is arguable that the latter is more mature. (It’s so circumstance-dependent that it’s honestly absurd to make a generalization either way.)

I’ve gotten a lot of grief over the years because I don’t call myself a feminist. My reasoning is simple: the word has too many connotations I don’t want to associate myself with, and furthermore is not adequately descriptive of my feeling that everyone is equal. Right now, though, I am going to put my feelings on semantics aside.

I think it is feminist of me to make my marriage a priority, to work through our problems and to consider my husband’s feelings and opinions equal to my own; to treat our relationship as a true partnership instead of putting myself first. That does not mean that I don’t look out for myself or that I in any way submit to my husband. Just ask him. Though I warn you that he will probably make a joke about blowjobs.

A few weeks before my 30th birthday, we hit a major crossroads. One day everything was fine and the next day we were maybe going to split up. There was an ultimatum involved, and neither of us believes in those. It was that bad. Both of us felt that it was worth salvaging; the terms of the ultimatum were met; we worked very, very hard at communicating with each other; our marriage is now, more than a year later, better than it has ever been.

That would not work for every marriage. Some people should get divorced. I really believe that. But the fact is that before a marriage ends in divorce there is a point where the partners have choices. Acting as though working on it is not an option is disingenuous and dishonest.

I wish Sandra Loh and the author of the mystery article would own their mistakes instead of trying to blame outside forces, i.e. marriage as an institution. Maybe their marriages truly did suck. Maybe ending them really was the smart thing to do. But to say that marriage itself is to blame? I’m going to need much better evidence than the whining of bored, privileged women.

Anyone who believes that everyone should get married is crazy. If you don’t want to get married, then for heaven’s sake don’t get married. But don’t you dare try telling me that I shouldn’t have.

You wish I was your wife.

Sure, the house is a pigsty and I call you in tears every other day because I am totally inept at this parenting thing or because I am totally inept at this writing thing or because I am tired or hormonal or oversensitive. But I also have days where I bake this lemon loaf and make burgers for dinner and then, after we’ve eaten, I make chili so you’ll have something interesting for lunch tomorrow, and halfway through cooking it I send you to the store to buy beer because I’m worried it won’t have enough liquid in it and besides I want you to have what’s left of the 24 ounce can because you work so hard at your job and at writing and at taking care of us and you’ve had a bad week and you deserve some fucking beer.

Cheap Dates

Oh, you guys are going to laugh at me.

Here’s what happened: yesterday morning around 10:00 I got an email saying that there were tickets to the Kool Keith show that night waiting for me at Will Call. My friend Sara offered to come over and watch Sam, so Will and I put Sam to bed and left the house around 7:45. When we got to the El Rey the doors had just opened and there was a line and we hate waiting around at music venues, so we kept driving around on the Vespa. Ooh, hey, Tom Bergin’s! Our favorite Irish pub. We went in and had a pint. (My dietary choice to give up beer does not count in pubs. Fortunately I am not in pubs very often.) Then we headed back toward the El Rey, realized neither of us was interested in going to a show, and rode around some more. Then we went home. It was about 9:00 when we got back.

The good news is the evening cost us $12 (plus tip) in beer plus pennies in gasoline, and we both feel totally rejuvenated. If completely silly for getting a last-minute babysitter for a show we didn’t actually make it to.

The really good news is that Sara and I agree we should continue to exchange babysitting frequently, so Will and I may have many Vespa rides in our future.