So Very Common
January 1, 2013 § 2 Comments
I have what feels like a million acquaintances here in New York – a lot of neighbors, the staff at the corner bodega, the mailman, the junky on the corner (who follows me with an umbrella when it’s raining, trying to hold it over my head in the hope that I will pay for the service), an elderly Irish woman whose walker I carry up the stairs of her pre-war walkup every single day despite the fact that she always – ALWAYS – has some new problem with me and ends all of our chats with the irritating statement that she’ll pray for me (because I am apparently in need of much divine assistance).
I am referring to people I see on a regular basis who are not friends, but with whom I exchange enough small talk to actually know quite a bit about. I just ran into the newly wed son of my superintendent. He is an adorable 30 year old man and very friendly. He lives in the basement of my building with his equally adorable new wife.
During the year he was engaged he glowed with happiness (he continues to do so – he is clearly totally smitten with his spouse). But instead of saying he was happy and in love he kept referring to the wedding as though it was his doom – the end of his already mourned bachelorhood. That was consistently his focus when he spoke of the wedding or his fiancé – he repeatedly articulated that he felt his upcoming nuptials would be the death of his freedom and carefree youth. He never said anything positive – the only reason I know how he really feels is because it’s written all over his face when they are together – he looks downright sick with love – he can’t keep his melting eyes off her.
I recently asked him if they had big New Year’s Eve plans and he replied “those days are over,” with a sigh. I smiled as though I commiserated while I thought what an ass. Why are the days of big New Year’s Eve parties over because he has a wife? WHY? Why do so many people think this way? And if they do think that way why on earth do they get married? And worse, why do people who don’t seem to actually feel that way at all embrace that sort of talk? Does my super’s son think it is cool to belong to some sort of club of distressed and hopeless married men?
Think about the husband/father characters that populate TV sitcoms – farting on the couch, a constant stream of snark streaming from their mouths. The moments their love for their wives and children are revealed are so rare that they seem somehow infinitely precious. The audience reaction really ought to be that if he feels such love how dare he express the opposite 99% of the time, yet everyone laughs but me. I don’t see how it’s funny and never have.
That sort of humor and general attitude is so very common. And I mean that in the most snobbish, scathingly disgusted way, which is exactly how I put it when an old boyfriend of my own tried to cast me as the ball-and-chain. “Do we have to be so very common?” I asked with a sneer, knowing it would cut like a knife – his biggest fear was that he was not special. “I want nothing at all to do with that model of domesticity,” I said with the dead calm that means I am so pissed the people near me should run for cover. “If the only good times to be had are the ones when you escape me, the woman in the way of your happiness, I really truly want to break up right this second.” His introduction of the concept that I was his jailer and the relationship’s ‘heavy’ made my skin crawl with revulsion.
He thought about it and later said that no, he didn’t feel that way at all and he didn’t know why he had said it. Equating one’s partner to a ball and chain was the kind of thing his friends were always doing, he said, and the words had popped out of his mouth without thought. He was infected with the mindset, but it in fact was not his own. And this is what I think is going on with my super’s son.
Perhaps one day when I am an elderly woman who needs help with my walker I will feel free to express my opinions to people I barely know about how they are screwing up their own lives. For now I stay silent. But I want to yell at my super’s son. I want to say “Don’t sully your romance with your low-rent man humor. Love is precious! Love is where most of us derive meaning! Love is too important for your stupid sitcom jokes! And I can see with crystal clarity – it is, after all, written all over your face – that you desperately love your wife. So go home and ask her what big plans you two should make for New Year’s Eve and when the clock strikes midnight kiss her like you mean it – because you do.”
Alas, while I am not exactly shy with an opinion, I am about forty years too young for such unfiltered rants aimed at barely known acquaintances on the street corner. In the meantime I will continue to look for an extraordinary man for my very own uncommon romance. I find nothing less will do.
XOXO – Evelyn
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you had a lovely holiday season and have a wonderful 2013! Does anyone have a bone melting New Year’s kiss to report? Please share for those of us who did not so we can live vicariously through you.