I’m rereading Couplehood, by Paul Reiser, just for a mental break. It’s always fun. The following quote may be long, and not my norm, but it is so true to life as to make one want to cry and laugh at the same time:
…the jacket dilemma.
My bride, though a remarkably intelligent woman, refuses to accept that the weather at the end of the day is often going to be different than it is now. She becomes a child. “I’m not taking a jacket. I’ll be fine.” Which relegates me to the “just-take-it-and-throw-it-in-the-car-what-the-hell-is-the-big-deal” role.
But there are two opposing forces working here. She doesn’t want to take the jacket for vanity reasons. It’s a wardrobe issue. The sweater doesn’t go with anything and it makes her look bulky so she’d rather freeze than look bulky and clash.
I, on the other hand, have my own interests in mind. Because I know that later, when she’s cold, I’m gonna have to do the Gentleman Thing of taking off my jacket and draping it over her shoulders, for which she’ll love me and I will resent her deeply.
Understand: If we were caught in a surprise hail-storm, or the country was invaded and we had to flee suddenly with only what we had on, I would have no problem. I would give her my jacket instinctively. Sure, I’d freeze, but I’d be a hero. I’d be getting something out of it.
But here, we have a choice. It’s not hailing. We’re not fleeing. We’re standing in front of a closet with a myriad of jackets and sweaters and coats and protective gear for every potential five-degree variance – but no, “I’ll be fine,” she says.
So we go. And of course, later, it’s freezing, and she’s huddling in my jacket, and I, who knew to bring a jacket, am wearing no jacket. And the kicker is: It’s not like my jacket looks so good on her anyway. It certainly looks worse than whatever jacket of her own she would have put on. But somehow it’s okay, because people know what’s going on. They won’t judge her. When you see a woman with a wildly mismatched jacket draped over her shoulders, you never say, “Boy, what was she thinking? That doesn’t go at all.” You say, “Wow, isn’t he sweet. Look how he sacrificed his own jacket for her.”
And what I’m thinking is, “I’m a schmuck. I’m a schmuck, and I’m freezing. I actually thought this through, I planned ahead, and I’m still freezing.
You can’t buy honesty like that. Well, I suppose you can. But, yeah…