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Posts Tagged ‘Work’

The Fifties

In Main, Random Fantasy Land, Relationship on February 17, 2009 at 6:30 pm

Does the title of this post mean the return of the hoop skirt? Hardly.

It, in fact, refers to the perfectly utopian ideal of the 1950’s hauswife. This oft-emailed one in particular, from a 1954 home economics textbook:

Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal, on time. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.

Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so that you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift.

Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the home just before your husband arrives, gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift, too.

Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair, and if necessary change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.

Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer, dishwasher, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and be glad he is home.

Some don’ts: Don’t greet him with problems or complaints. Don’t complain if he is late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day. Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax and unwind.

Listen to him. You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first.

Make the evening his. Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure, his need to be home and relax.

The Goal: Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.”

Wanting to do this in Real Life word-for-word Channeling the spirit behind this tome of good housewifeliness, I decided, this past weekend, because I couldn’t think of a gift, in honor of Valentine’s Day, having not seen Him in a while, to engage in a little bit of faux Perfect Womanness and make him dinner. And to emulate, as much as I could, the ideal woman as above.

Of course, being a modern woman of the new millennium, I got done with my real job first. And ended up with three hours to execute everything. I made lasagna. I ran the vacuum twice. I baked focaccia. I smoothed my hands over my carefully revealing outfit, and made sure not a hair was out of place. The bathroom looked like no one had ever penetrated its porcelain virginity before, let alone committed the acts of befoulment that bathrooms are known for. The cranberry and baby spinach salad with a smooth lime-yogurt dressing was cooling its heels in a sparkling modern salad bowl especially removed from the cabinets for the occasion. The table looked like the Queen of England was coming to dinner. The bed was soft, warm, inviting. And when he knocked, I met him at the door with a glass of chilled Chardonnay. And gave him a kiss that he will probably never forget, right after I made sure the southern style apple crumble was already in the oven.

Needless to say, I blew his mind. And not just with my sparkling witty conversation.

I can, however, already hear the ultra-feminist lobby of critics cringing. “You did what? As a treat? This is what He would consider a treat? You, my friend, just set back your status and power in this relationship sixty years. He’s going to start expecting this once you get married, and then what? You’re going to do this everyday? You work a full time, high stress job, and you cook dinner every night? You do realize that Superwoman, that uber-woman of mystical child-rearing, bacon-bringing, and gourmet meal cooking fame is a myth, right?”

Sigh. But it felt so good. I know, I know, this is the part where you start wondering whether I have a college degree, or whether I live in some third world country, where this sort of slavery should be abolished, but has not been. Alas for my Indian heritage, it’s true. I have both an American university degree, and pretty solid feminist leanings.

But, (and there is always a but):

My mother, that wonderfully controversial modern Indian wife of stereotype and yore, the job holder and the perfect cook, reminds me constantly of my wifely duties. Insidiously dropping hints in everyday conversations with one-liners that are meant to pass on the Indian way, as much as tell me what is expected of the Indian male in an Indian marriage, (“but if you don’t get into the habit of making dinner for yourself after work now, what will you guys eat once you’re married?”), this particular evening would have been something she approved of. (In theory. After marriage. Without the alcohol. Preferably with Indian food.) And as anyone who has heard of Herr Sigmund Freud will tell you, if the mother approves, the daughter, somewhere in her soul, will be tres content.

This, as you, clever reader, may have gathered by now, leads to some serious cognitive dissonance.

On the one hand ideas such as “he should be making me dinner” are not unusual in my head. But on the other, a very personal and raging maker-of-hearth-and-home instinct was satisfied by this dinner.  I was proud to be Superwoman for the day. I loved cooking for My Man.

And that’s when it hit me.

I didn’t do this because I have some unsatisfied urge to secretly be transported to 1954.

I did it because I wanted to show I could be Superwoman. And thus make Him realize how much I loved him, how great I was. And when he did, and very appreciatively so, it became obvious. This dinner making, this house cleaning, the wearing of nice clothes…it was a Valentine’s gift to myself.

And while you may point out that this is what the authors of the home economics book were saying in the first place “his happiness leads to yours”, there is a key element that separates me from the sepia colored tones of the 50s.  I did it because I wanted to. Not because I had to. Not because it was expected of me by society, or by my high school subjects, or because my mother wanted me to.

And that, my feminist friends, has made all the difference.

Allow Me to Have A Moment of Listing in Third Person

In Getting Married, Main, Random Fantasy Land, Relationship on January 29, 2009 at 10:53 am

MG had a bunch of things to write about this week, except that they were all sort of mini blogs in the making, and concerned about the bunch of trash that already floats about in cyber-space, she decided instead to make a List of her mini blog items so that y’all could enjoy it all in one easy-to-read centralized location. Quick wins, all around.

(Can you tell MG works with a bunch of corp-jargon-speaking dunderheads?)

1) MG was having a SHIT week last week. SHIT I tell you! Work sucked, and she’s not sure if she mentioned this, but work really sucked last week. So much so that the Kleenex Ad where the red-head types in “Touch I Touch Q Touch U Touch I Touch T” was something out of her own life last week.

2) MG, being the sneaky controlling crazy Lady Friend that she is, has had His Gmail password for a few years now. While she rarely checks His email, she happened to do so last week. And she, er, stumbled upon photos of none other than…*dun dun dun*…The Rock. On someone else’s ugly-ass hairy finger. And she means hairy.

Once MG stifled the red hairy monster growling “MINE” in baritones of fury, and stopped seeing the world in filters of red, she quickly realized that Him and her had had a deal- she could read his email, as long as he had already read it first.  But what on earth was a normal girl like her to do? It said “Diamond Ring” in the subject line! How could anyone resist reading that particular email!?

The only option left, sadly, was to be super-sneaky and hit the “mark as unread” button and pray that He didn’t realize that she’d snooped.

You know that old saying? The one where they say “eavesdroppers hear nothing good about themselves”? Let me paraphrase that; “email snoopers read nothing good about themselves.” Now that MG had seen the ring in pictures, she wasn’t sure if she liked it. It was not a typical engagement ring style and the rock itself seemed to have a flat shape that she couldn’t get her Harry Winston loving head around.

Stop gasping already, it gets better.

But having a night to sleep over it, MG stalked through the email again, and realized, stupidly, that she’d only really looked at the first picture.  As she looked through the other pictures she realized, slowly, that she kinda, actually, sorta liked it. But she wasn’t sure. And so she closed the email and tried to erase the guilty images in her head, and tried to forget that she’d sent him an email, long long ago, of the sort of design she’d like. And she did tell Him to surprise her. It would probably look awesome on her finger. Manicured and lotioned or not.

3) At the airport last week, MG gave up on trying not to be a silly bride-to-be, stifled her guilt at selling out, and bought a copy…of Brides. Yes. Brides. That cream-puff publication filled with pages and pages and pages of gowns and make up and jewelery.  The entire wedding industry in one glossy 700 (seven! hundred!) page package. She girded her loins, gave her chest a much needed upward push, and prepared herself to become none other than the Bride of Zilla herself, and opened the damn thing.

Surely, she reasoned, that reading so much about frills and fripperies and something old and something blue, would turn her into a controlling freak of nature.  “YOUR IDEA BOOK” screamed the cover. “CELEB MARRIAGES” screamed another. (“Oh yeah, RIGHT!” she chuckled to herself. “What normal person would take that story seriously?!”).

Alas, about 5 pages in, MG wearied of the ivory white dressed apple cheeked maidens, and fell asleep (remember, she had had a SHIT week at work), and forgot the thing in the airplane. What a waste of $6.

4) MG was talking to one of her unofficial bridesmaids last night, a lady that just joined grad school, when she got the earth-shattering news. “I don’t think I’m going to be able to make the wedding.”

When MG replied with…utter silence, the UoBM went on hurriedly. “I will make this up to you. I will be there, for your anniversaries. For the birth of your children.”

MG, struck dumb by spasms of upset, replied in her best impression of fifteen-year-old-high-school-girl dramatic fashion. “I can’t pretend that I’m not upset. But I realize that you can’t help it.”

And then came on here to write an anguished blog about friends and being the Bride of Zilla. And the moment she took a deep breath between feverish typing, she realized there might be another way.

“You could…maybe..miss a week of class?”

And MG was delighted to learn that the UoBM had actually not thought about that at all and would be willing to try that out.

Compromise, MG decided, is something that needs to be the first reaction, not emotional angst. It is a wedding, for chrissakes, not a…shoot, there seems to be no comparable analogy…oh! A Life/Death situation.

And MG realized also, that just because the UoBM wouldn’t be attending the wedding, maybe, didn’t make her any less of a friend, or that she wouldn’t be a part of the wedding either, because ten IMs later, UoBM said…”so, we’ve been talking about your bachelorette party. Where do you want to go?”

And that reduced MG to happy excitement again. Silly, she knew, that such a little thing could be such a big deal to her, but it made her feel like someone cared…cared enough to plan something for her. In Mexico.

5). MEXICO! That is all.

Perspective

In Getting Married, Main on January 23, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Wow, this has truly been a Crap Week.

So much so, that I bought a copy of Brides last night, and ate a whole four-finger Kit-Kat bar in one sitting. It’s funny how everything wedding-planning seems so trite, cliched and useless when your job feels like misery, and you can’t see any sort of future with your current place of employment. Perspective is definitely something that popped in this week.

What a useless day, and what a waste of week in my now ephemeral single days!

And Isn’t It Ironic? Don’tcha Think?

In Getting Married, Main, Random Fantasy Land, Relationship on December 17, 2008 at 10:49 pm

There is something highly ironic about getting an international phone call about the color of the ring I want.

White gold or yellow. Over a $1/minute phone line.  Couldn’t an email have sufficed?

While we’re in a fight

While I have a high pressure, high intensity deliverable due in a half an hour. While I’m in one of the worst moods I’ve been in since June.

Again…ma-r-iage is a celebration>?!

And I still, after a minute of monosyllabic replies, said, “white”.While wondering to myself in a Sex and the City-esque manner; “if he really loved me, he’d already know I don’t want yellow gold!”

And then I promptly kicked myself, hard, as my feminist/logician leanings kicked in. “Why on earth would you expect him to know what color ring you want. He’s not telepathic. Don’t be one of those girls, Bride of Zilla!”

The now-chastened princess-fairy-queen still managed to get in a small-voiced whine. “But we’ve been dating five years. You would think he would know by now!

The now softening F/L said gently, “clearly, he doesn’t, are you really going to make a Big Deal about this? Is it worth it? Especially after all you two have been through?”

Well. It was hard to argue with that. And so, I went about my way, trying to get my work done, while trying not to be hurt, while trying not to bitchy and self-righteous about it.

And then he called. Again. And it was very hard to be the silent stoic type when he was going on about saying what he did because he was angry.

And so I let loose. With the worst possible thing I could think of.

I compared him to the Ex.

And that’s when he said good night. You see, selfish as I am, I wanted him to feel as bad as I did for his particular low blow. A little part of me was even exultant. Now he would realize how much he had hurt my feelings.

But then I promptly wanted to strangle myself. It was one of the lowest blows I could’ve come up with.  The Ex is a sensitive subject in our relationship, like most people.   So I said it. And now what? Quid pro quo? I felt, cliche of all cliches, worse than I did before.

He called back an hour later. And said “let’s forget about it”. And so we did, and tried to ease our way back into a semi-normal conversation, and ended on a happier note. “Would you prefer a bigger ring, or a ring with more color? Although I couldn’t really tell the coloring difference until they were under a microscope, honestly.”

*Chuckle*

New York, New York

In Getting Married, Main, Relationship on December 10, 2008 at 4:50 pm

So, He decided to accept the job offer in New York. While He will be making serious G’s, and I will still be working before/after the wedding, He has serious student loans. So, for the first year, He will be using his Gs to pay off that loan, and I will be supporting the two of us for rent/cash/food/life.

This makes me very unhappy, not because of the supporting Him factor, because that I don’t mind (honestly!), but because I have to do this supportation in New York.  Where my money is going to mean nothing.  Which means a standard of living hit.

That makes me unhappy.

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