posted on February 01, 2010 00:00
What do you get when you put two people, both of whom display the classic cookie cutter traits of their designated opposing gender, under one roof together for an extended period of time?
An unstable seismic zone capable of producing wonderful magnitudes.
And all it takes is the smallest detonation.
When I was at the "glowing", yet obese, peak of my pregnancy, my husband would tease the safety pin on my grenade by simply flipping on "The Man Show". He pestered it further by continuing to watch "The Man Show". He would then give it a good, sturdy yank with even the slightest exhale directed towards a female with a proportional height to weight ratio. I guess I could’ve gotten up and left the room but my hormones, like some sort of steady poisonous intravenous drip, would continue to feed the dragon within. A degrading joke here, he would laugh. A "Juggy" there, he would fawn over. That fat kid posing as a boy scout and BAM! The World War III phone would ring and I would spring to answer.
Who knew that 6 years later we’d be divorced?
I’d like to attribute "The Man Show" as the sole reason for irreconcilable differences but it just ain’t that easy. There was a stockpile of reasons in which I won’t get into but I can tell you that being young, dumb and reckless were the at the root of all the complications. At the time, I evaded any blame like Mel Gibson eludes a DWI checkpoint. I did what any paradigm woman would do: accuse the man. And he did what every quintessential guy would do to make sense of the chaos: drink a lot of beer and credit her for the crumbling relationship.
Sadly, it wasn’t until a year or so ago that I gradually started to realize how at fault I was. I was too involved in what I needed for my role as a "wife and mother" that I hadn’t taken into accountability what a man requires to actively perform his duties. I was puzzled and perplexed by some of the classic male characteristics: the hour of relax time he needed to unwind after work, the way he would freak out about money, the way he clammed up in an argument to avoid saying anything hurtful, how he could zone out for hours in front of the Play Station or the fact that he could fall into a peaceful slumber after a confrontation and wake up refreshed as if it never happened. This behavior was completely alien to me at the time. I was perpetually frustrated that he wasn’t more like.......ME.
Back then, I failed to consider what being more like ME would entail for him: giving the house a breeze through right after work so we could both have relax time at night, being carefree and nonchalant about spending and saving money (it’s ONLY money, right?), putting it all on the table in a disagreement even if that meant blurting out something offensive or name-calling, putting marathon "gaming" sessions in the category of there’s-a-time-and-a-place or stewing for a galactic year over a fight even if that meant 2 hours of disruptive sleep. Yes, this was my idea of a healthy functioning relationship and I wasn’t budging an inch on those principles.
Look how it turned out.
If I would’ve been able to identify the "cookie-cutter" and NORMAL male conduct back then, as I am able to now, I would have tried to salvage the marriage. I wouldn't have been so selfish (and stupid) to believe that my idea of good marital semantics were accurate. I could’ve made better preparations for the possible tensional stress that exists in every marital fault line between a guy and a girl.
But, this epiphany came a little late. Unfortunately.
Or is it unfortunate?
With my replenished knowledge of everything male (hell, it only took 28 years), I may have had the most uncomplicated divorce ever. I was able to shed some of my misunderstandings on our differences. No, I’m not going to give you the proper divorce pitch on how everything was milk and honey and "the decision for divorce was an amicable one. We remain committed friends and parents with great admiration and respect for each other". People who say that kind of crap are clearly moronic to believe that anyone would buy it. Trust me, we will have our fair share of disagreements and disrespects in the future however I’m fairly certain they will be on a lesser scale. After mulling through the mound of paperwork, my ex asked me why all this divorce stuff was so literal and complicated. I replied "Because people can’t find it in themselves to have an easy divorce and simply leave it at that. Everything has to be a big fat dilemma so they put it all in writing to avoid any issues. I mean, we ARE talking about men and women here." He agreed and for the first time in quite awhile, I felt like we were on the complete same page. It appeared as if he too, had finally figured out the complex workings of the female psyche. Or a pretty good portion of it.
And all it took was a divorce!
Then he told me that at least now he can have a "divorce party". I playfully pouted and said I wasn’t having one.
"Wanna come to mine?" He joked.
"Sure. Why not."