Wednesday, September 28, 2011

When the Man Picks the Movie...

We all know what a chick flick is, right? Has anyone come up with a term for movies that men like? I didn’t think so.

Let’s see…last night my husband watched a newly purchased DVD. Within the first thirty seconds of the movie, a man was shot by a weapon that separated the top half of him from the bottom half. I decided to open up my laptop and play a card game. Every time I looked up at the TV, something was blowing up, some kind of weapon was being fired, or someone was having their arm/leg/head shot off.

Let’s see what we know about the typical “guy film”:

The main character never follows the rules.

They never drive station wagons or minivans.

The only women they know are hookers and strippers.

Instead of good versus evil, the plots are more about bad (but in a cool way) versus evil.

They never wear cardigan sweaters.

They have names like Gunner and Snake, never Todd or Wesley.

The dialogue is typically “Hey, %$#@&*!” “What the #@%^ do you want?” “Go ^#$% yourself!”

If a character from a chick flick showed up in a man movie, and asked the question “How does all this killing make you feel?” they would be shot in the head.

If you are to make a comment like “Which Die Hard is this? I can’t tell them apart” they will look at you like you are as dumb as a rock.

Whatever you want to call them, these man movies will always be around and they are just going to get louder and more intense. But, I have two pieces of advice. The first one, and I can’t stress this enough—is if he says “Wow! Did you see that?” you must say YES, or he will back up the movie so you can see what effect a cannon has when it is shot at a man standing four feet away. The second one is in case Spike TV is running yet another Bond marathon. Pack yourself a lunch and leave the house. Maybe you can pick up that new chick flick on DVD, play it when you get home and count the amount of seconds it takes for your man to leave the room. Hey, and while he’s up, maybe he’ll start dinner. Ha ha, we women do like our fantasies, don’t we?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Can You PLAN to be Spontaneous?

I have a confession. I don’t have a spontaneous bone in my body. I’ve always envied those who do. And, you can’t fake it…like being blonde. But, that’s not to say I haven’t tried.

I remember when I was young and single, I was sitting in a bar waiting for a friend, and a guy approached me and offered to buy me a drink. “What would you like?” he asked. I looked at him slyly and said “Surprise me.” Whoa, I had no idea where that came from. Maybe, I needed to cut back on the hair dye. But, darned if his face didn’t light up when I said that. It was plain to see—men like spontaneous women.

I was feeling almost giddy…until the bartender placed before me…a White Russian. I immediately had a flashback (yes, this is a flashback in a flashback) to when I was a child, and my father would not allow me to leave the dinner table until I finished my milk. I spent hours at that table. I forced a smile and took a sip. Yup, there was that disgusting milk moustache. I tried not to shudder. A promise was born at that exact moment. I would never try to be something I’m not. A promise that I have broken too many times to count. But even today, I don’t drink milk. It turns out I am extremely lactose intolerant. No apologies necessary, Dad.

A few weeks ago, on a Sunday morning, my husband asked me what I wanted to do that day. I tried to think of something, but I was drawing a blank. “Why don’t you decide?” I suggested, and then it came out of my mouth again. “Surprise me.”

Now, I don’t know what the opposite of spontaneous is, but whatever it is, that’s what I am. And, my friends know it and my family knows it, and my husband figured it out within five minutes of meeting me. During our first year together, he would say “I have an idea. Why don’t you put your hair in a ponytail and throw on a baseball cap and we can go out for breakfast!” Our eyes would meet… and we would burst out laughing! That was as likely as me traveling with just one bag.

So, we got in the car and headed west. I tried to sound all carefree (oops, broke that promise again) and asked “Okay, what are we doing?” With a playful look in his eye, he said “We’re going hiking!” I managed a weak smile and turned to stare out the car window. Hiking? I had no backpack containing a rain jacket, food, and fresh water. We live in Colorado. In my mind, to go hiking in Colorado without the right gear and supplies… well, it’s just dangerous. I was wearing flip flops, which would be little protection against rattlesnakes. I didn’t even have my knife! Ever since I realized that bears eat people, and Colorado has bears, I have not gone hiking without a knife. You may think that’s silly, but in my mind “silly” would be bringing shark repellant. I am never silly.

My inner turmoil continued. What if I slip and fall into a crevice and am forced to gnaw off one of my limbs, because I don’t have a knife. It could happen. I checked my phone and it was only half charged! And worse than that, I didn’t even have lip gloss with me. Trying to hide my anxiety, I went on the hike. To my immense relief, I wasn’t eaten, I didn’t get dehydrated, and I didn’t even get chapped lips. BUT, I did get dirt in my flip flops. Will the words “surprise me” ever come out of my mouth again? No.

I’m not spontaneous. I like to say I’m prepared…and careful…and only slightly paranoid. So, if you hear the sound of a promise breaking, it’s probably just me, telling someone I’ve just met that I’m “laid back.” I wish.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

When the Honeymoon is Over

Several years ago, I read a popular book on relationships. In it, the author described the different phases, but one in particular caught my attention. The “honeymoon” phase. According to this expert, this phase is the first two years of your relationship.

Apparently, Day 730 you are madly in love and can’t keep your hands off each other. Day 731 you are discussing twin beds. I was appalled at such a generalization. I had to believe the changes take years, and maybe for some couples, the honeymoon stage never ends.

Perhaps, you can identify with the subtle changes in these examples. The first one is when love is new. The second represents whatever the heck you call the next phase.

“It’s a beautiful day. I thought we could go for a motorcycle ride and take a picnic lunch.”
“That sounds wonderful. I love to feel the wind in my hair!”

“I have to get a part for the toilet at Home Depot and I thought I’d take the bike. You don’t want to go, do you?
“Someone has to clean the dog puke out of the carpet, and I guess that’s me. Besides, it leaves my hair a tangled mess.”

“John just invited us to dinner…would you like to go?”
“Oh yes, I can’t wait to meet him. I feel like I know him already!”

“We were going to have a guys-only dinner, but John forgot and asked his girlfriend. Do you want to go?”
“No thanks. He spits when he talks and his last girlfriend wore a school uniform and had a curfew.”

“Are you interested in seeing this movie with me? I know it’s kind of a chick flick.”
“I don’t mind…I just like to sit in the dark with you (wink).”

“You’ve watched three football games in a row. How about taking me to see a movie?”
“I’d rather stab myself in the eye with a hot poker……Honey, put that down.”

“The shower is leaking. Maybe I should call a plumber.”
“Nonsense. I can fix that in a jiffy.”

“How long do we have to live with no door on our refrigerator, and pretend that all the food isn’t rancid?”
“You ask me this every month. Nagging me isn’t going to make it happen any sooner.”

I sincerely hope your relationship will always be in the honeymoon phase. These examples have absolutely no resemblance to mine. In fact, I’m about to lovingly make him a late night snack of moldy cake and sour milk. Goodnight, all.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

You Shouldn't Have...Seriously.

The other day I told my daughter I was going to write about the “gift face.” She immediately knew what I was talking about. “You mean the thing that you and I are so bad at?” “That’s the one.”

I loved to open presents as a child, but somewhere along the way I must have gotten a really, really, terrible gift. Now, opening presents fills me with anxiety. I guess I just don’t have good control of my face. And, insincere words coming from my mouth sound…well, insincere. And, if you are wondering if I am a bad poker player, YES. What I think of as my “nonchalant” face appears to others as if I’ve just discovered I have a second belly button. I cannot disguise whatever emotion I am feeling.

Just last Christmas, I was with my in-laws, and I opened a wrapped gift to discover a box of brownie mix. Not aware that the next box contained one of those new pans which make every brownie a corner (which I truly love!) I had to show utter delight with my brownie mix. As I was trying to look enthusiastic, I was wondering if they had done their Christmas shopping in their own kitchen. Should I be happy it wasn’t a can of pinto beans?

My daughter and I agree that my stepson is the master of the gift face. He would have been grinning ear-to-ear at a can of beans as if owning one was his wildest dream. Socks, underwear, a can of shaving cream, a cheese grater—he appears to treasure them all. I have to admit I’ve been tempted to play around a bit, and wrap something so lame even he couldn’t get excited over, but I honestly couldn’t figure out what that would be.

Thinking back a few decades, I may know when my fear started, or at least who started it. I won’t name them, but I will say they were a relative by marriage only. All eyes were on me one Christmas when I opened her gift to find a plastic wall clock. Not just any plastic wall clock, this one included a plastic replica of a fireplace, with a roller painted with flames, so as the battery-operated roller spun, it looked exactly like a genuine roaring fire. See, I can’t even describe it without getting sarcastic. Now, if you are thinking what an ungrateful person I am, you should know that she never used or wore any of the dozens of gifts I gave her over the years. Christmas was just a yearly reminder of how different we were.

One year she really got me with the gift that keeps on giving. It was a pie made of fabric and filled with potpourri. When I pulled it out of the plastic bag, I almost fell off my chair from the strawberry fumes. Maybe she thought the tears streaming down my cheeks were in appreciation of the gift, but I doubt it. She then said to me with a twinkle in her eye, “If the fragrance fades, you can put it in the oven for five minutes and the smell will come back.” Touché.

The pie that wouldn’t die wound up in a box with the fireplace clock, the oil lamp in the shape of Texas, the Dollywood snow globe, and the Dale Earnhardt fanny pack.

So, if you see me opening gifts in a dark corner, or sniffing the box before opening it, you will know why. And, I will continue to get anxious. Because I never know when a fish on a plaque that sings Take Me to the River will show up. Gulp.