Saturday, March 24, 2012

Anatomy of an Argument

My husband, Fred, and I had an argument the other day.  It was completely ridiculous and it played out far enough that I started fantasizing about putting crumbs on his side of the mattress so he’d go sleep on the couch.

O.K.--I lied.  I actually fantasized about Testicle Gnawing Ants feasting on him while I laughed softly to myself.  The crumbs, though annoying and probably itchy, wouldn’t have had the lasting effect I was going for.

It all began with the Queen Mother of all Unintentional Statements, pregnant with misunderstanding potential.  I should have kept my self-deprecating thoughts to myself, but said out loud,

“I used to look a lot better in jeans.”

I wasn’t consciously looking for Fred to say anything, but as soon as I said it, I should have flashed back to the hundred comedy skits and books written about how women set-up men to fail with statements regarding their body image.

Fred is a problem-solver whose first instinct is not to offer emotional support, but to “fix”… and then wince, and hope he isn’t required for anything more.  Fred actually said:

“You could look better if you wanted to.”


First “Feelings Hurt” barb:  “I wasn’t expecting you to advise me on how to look better in jeans.” 

WhatUtalkin’bout Block:  “Why do you have to start problems like that?” 

Defensive Undercut laced with attempt at humor:  “I don’t know, but why can’t you speak “Girl”?”

Not in the Mood for humor Hook:  “That’s STUPID!”

The exchanges to follow would be better served in giant colorful stars containing words like “KAPLOW” and “COWABUNGA” like in the old “Batman” series. 

When I retold the story to a supportive girlfriend, she naturally sided with me. 

Supportive Friend Adjective for Fred:  Pig 

All those hurt feelings stirred up such a low-pressure dissention cloud that birds stopped chirping and furry animals sulked under bushes and furniture.  But, after a good 48 hours, I’m happy to report I have forgiven Fred.  He’s right, if I wanted to look better in my jeans, I would. 

Now, do you think I should go on a diet?


ssaretsky said...

Nope - just get better looking jeans! My poor husband woke up once in the middle of the night with the statement "I think you should work on your weight" and then went right back to sleep. It was 11 years ago...I have never let him forget it! Kapow! Love the writing, Heidi - you're fluency in "girl" makes the rest of us feel understood!

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

"All those hurt feelings stirred up such a low-pressure dissention cloud that birds stopped chirping and furry animals sulked under bushes and furniture." - Fantastic!!!!
Such great writing. Love the posts, the visuals. I am so thankful that my husband says goofy things like this. Aren't you, Heidi? lol

English Rider said...

I have a cartoon that I clipped long ago and it still makes me smile:

"Fred" sitting peacefully in armchair watching TV. "Curvacious Wife" holding out newly purchased dress for him to see: "Look" she says "I got this dress for a ridiculous figure!".
Caption: The moment before the comment that led to "Fred" sleeping on the couch.

One Bad Pixie said...

I encourage mine to sleep on the couch. He thinks it is a threat, but it means more room for me in the bed. Go ahead honey!

I exercise and try to eat right. If I look fabulous in my jeans, it is not just for him to admire. LOL!

Bagman and Butler said...

I think the correct response would be, "Why don't you take them off." It is harder to argue naked.