Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Secret Language of Couples



J and I have been in our home for two years and as I’ve noted in other posts we’ve not had an easy time of it when it comes to meeting new people. Early on after we moved in a neighbor invited us over to his house for Sunday evening-after-dinner-wine-and-chat. We accepted gladly despite our initial concerns (he has aggressive B.O., to the point that even J- another guy- is offended) mainly because he has a girlfriend who, on paper, seems as if we should be best friends (please don’t comment on how desperate I am to have a best friend any female friends). That evening went well enough and with enough really good wine that as we (OK, me) drunkenly stumbled home I announced to my husband, “I want to marry her!”

This opens a whole can of worms. The bane of couples- you like the woman he can’t stand the guy and vice versa. It happens.  I have a dear friend who married a guy J wouldn’t be around if he held the last bottle of vodka on the planet. What to do now? In this case J agreed that we would get together with them again because he could feel the need and desperation oozing out of my pores like garlic. So he took one for the team and we agreed to a Saturday afternoon in Oregon’s wine country.

The day fell into the usual gender divisions- the men in the front of the SUV and us gals in the back. We went to 3 wineries and, for the most part, I thought things went well. B (as she shall be known) was so passionate about many of the things I believed in and yet was in a position to actually do something to affect change- I was almost in awe. Even though I was employed at the time she had a job in one of the coolest companies on earth working with young girls in third world countries and if I could work there it would be the ultimate harmonic convergence of commerce and vocation. He offered us a week in their timeshare in Cancun, expounded on his skills and experience in both designing and building homes right down to choosing paint color better than any decorator ever could, talked of many other exciting opportunities we could experience as his friends, and finally suggested that we stop for dinner at this “great Asian restaurant” they always frequented when they made their wine jaunts. It was at this point that my outer and inner ears were pricked for J’s reaction. It came quickly. “Oh, you know, I’ve got some chicken in the fridge that’s going to go bad if I don’t cook it tonight.” I’d been about to say “sounds great” but I knew with his words J’s forbearance in helping me find friends was at an end.

For this is the secret language of couples. While it was a bit odd, to most people it sounded like we had not expected the afternoon to run so long and already had dinner plans. To me, as interpreter of my silent husband’s non-verbal cues, this was the equivalent of him threatening to open the car door on the highway and dash himself on the pavement. J is notorious for throwing out food. He is of the mindset that a full fridge is a full life and he routinely throws out produce etc. that has not made it onto our plates in time. To say that he would forego a social opportunity for a $3.75 slab of chicken breast meant that he was mired in a misery so dire even his love for me could not compensate. I played along and after we had returned to our house, and locked the front door, I was not surprised when he turned to me and hissed, “I will never DO anything with them again. Don’t even ask.” 

I understood. Sometimes it’s impossible to make these things work and while B was interesting there was no way to separate the good from the bad. Plus, one has to consider what hidden depths of freak she’s hiding to be with such an unpleasant-to-be-around poseur. The potential loss of friendship (while great) is ameliorated by J and I having communicated in that way only people who truly know each other can. ‘Chicken in the fridge’ is our new go-to phrase when one of us needs to get out of a situation fast.


How about you? Any words/phrases you use with family, dear friends, or loved ones that only you understand?

4 comments:

Kathy said...

Oh my gosh Catherine... It's late and we have to let the puppy out! or He's been home all day, you know what he'll do if we wait much longer!

We don't have any couple friends either! All of them, yes all, have gotten divorced and moved on to a single lifestyle. It's just us now.

Hubby and I agree Thank the Lord for blogging (that's me) and facebook (that's him!)

Happy Sunday

therhythmmethod said...

It is so hard to make couple friends: too many variables to consider.
We use the kids as an excuse. Sometimes it's true, sometimes it's just convenient to get us out of an awkward situation.
If you don't mind, I might introduce the chicken excuse as a 'Plan B'.

Leslie Limon said...

OMGosh! I cannot tell you the number of times my Hubby and I have gone through something like this. Luckily we now have 4 kids whom to blame for not being able to go out. LOL

Stopping by from Lady Bloggers Tea Party!

Echo said...

Making friends with other couples is a really hard thing to do. We tend to use the kids as an excuse. Luckily one of them is only a year old! New follower from LBS.

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