OK. Now I have clean pants. But I did miss another day of NaBloPoMo. I could feel guilty about it or I could say, “oh, well, at least my kid is clean and fed and I paid my rent” and let it go. I choose the second. I am posting more regularly now so that’s good.
Recently I had one of those conversations with Attic Man that sitcom couples have with each other about how I wanted more romance. Except it didn’t take a half an hour and I didn’t resort to all kinds of clever ruses to tell him. I just told him.
When he showed up at the door before heading off to study with a little box of very, very good fudge and two enormous truffles containing a shot of Bailey’s each (!) I (wiping the drool from my chin) started to think about the gendered aspects of ‘romance,’ how in some ways it’s a hollow compensation for the inherent inequality, historically, in heterosexual marriage. Clean my house and I will rub your back! Take care of my four children and I will take you to Maui for our 25th anniversary! I’m sorry you feel underappreciated. Here’s a little love note under your pillow. I remember all of these little inserts in my family’s church bulletin about How to Keep the Love Alive in your marriage. I remember learning that the man wants admiration and the woman wants romance. The man wants s3x and the woman wants emotional intimacy. The man needs the woman’s help to express emotions, and if he can’t figure it out he can rescue himself with a bouquet of flowers. Because all women want flowers.
So I don’t know if I want this stuff because I want it or because I heard all my life that I should want it. Is it a trained emotional response to feel your heart go all a-flutter when receiving a random love note in your sock drawer? But I suppose what all people want is to be noticed, plain and simple, and to be told in as many ways as possible that they are loved. People need other people to sacrifice their own time and resources for them. My guys in the group home need it too–if I am tired and one of the guys wants me to sit in his room to keep him company for a few minutes before he nods off I do it anyway. These guys don’t live in a traditional family setting. They need love (obviously non-se3tual) just like everybody else, but they have to get it from paid staff. I digress. The point I’m trying to make is that I am trying to move from a gendered sense of romance to the idea that ALL people need love and attention and that wanting it is OK. I can’t make myself not be happy with fudge and I can’t make Attic Man melt at the sight of roses. But I can try hard to think of it as something he’s doing because I’m a nice person and he likes me rather than empty compensation for domestic work. After all if that were the case I should be the one delivering fudge, as he spent all weekend caring for our child, shampooing carpets, doing laundry, cooking, and washing dishes.