Friday Repost: The Different Plane Spiel

Being married is a different plane of existence. It’s not like two people being single together. It’s about being there for each other, no matter what. It’s a higher calling. It’s a feeling like no other. It’s knowing there’s someone there for you no matter what, who has chosen to care for you forever and who will always have your back and hold your hair for you when you barf (niddah aside).

I can almost do it convincingly, no? Insert shining eyes and an earnest tone (it’s important to be earnest) and follow it up with “my husband has some friends…” No, I’ve never been married, but I’ve sat on the loveseat and listened to this speech from the couch many, many times.

…And don’t anyone dare to say “and may you be zocheh to give it one day yourself.” I should never be that cruel. Besides, honestly, I’m running out of people to give it to.


Three Days Straight

My hair is dis-gus-ting!” Good4 shouts, whizzing past me into the bathroom. The door slams. “It’s soooo greeeaaaasy!” I hear muffled through the door. And that’s the only sound for a while, except those associated with lather-rinse-repeat.

Grease is not really my problem. Volume is. At this point in the joyous holiday, my hair most closely resembles a modern afro: big, frizzy, and kinky, but less stylish. I lift a dry, frizzy lock, and think wistfully that, if this were only a four-day chag, I’d have the set-up for a lovely head of dreadlocks.

I do like dreadlocks. At least on black people. White people can’t seem to make them look right. Somehow, they always look like they fell asleep for a month with their hair in a bowl of peroxide. But maybe I could set a new trend. Nice, neat, white-person dreads, compliments of a season of three-day chagim. I could move to Bat Ayin and be the envy of all the hippies. All I need to do is not wash my hair.

“Haven’t you taken a shower yet?” my mother interrupts my meditation.

“Nah, I’m seeing how long I can go.”

And really, how hard can that be? Inertia. Why start now, after three days without? All that detangling and moisturizing and washing hair down the drain… it’s easier not to.

“It’s a kapara on all my avonos,” Good4 says fervently, exiting the bathroom in a trail of steam, her hair wrapped in a towel. “That’s what I keep telling myself about a three-day yom tov. It’s a kapara on all my avonos.”

“You really think you have so few avonos?” I ask, dropping the future-dread I was trying to curl.

I think there’s another reason Hashem gave us three-day chagim. So that we’ll dream of wearing a sheitel. Hair you can hang up at night.  Hair that looks the same the next morning. Hair that, if you don’t like how it looks, you can just put away.

But until then, I’ll have my dreadlocks.

Thursday Link: Queer Marital Harmony for the Straight Couple

I don’t think the Atlantic means its articles to be taken as factual. They’re more like talking points, something to think about, ideas to toss around.

With that prologue, I’m linking to The Gay Guide to Wedded Bliss,” an article about what homosexual family structures can teach hetero couples about division of labor.

Plus, it offers some tantalizing statistics. Like, did you know that having a woman in a relationship correlates to it breaking up? Turns out more women than men request divorce in hetero unions, and more lesbian than gay couples split up. So if you want your marriage to last, marry a man.

The research cited can also suggest what each gender values. Lesbian couples are called out for creating a perfect equality in their relationship, down to the last penny spent, and who carries the next baby. What this tells me is that women see a power structure in everything, and they strive to mitigate any effect it could have on their relationship.

Gay couples are more chilled. They also split the housework — admitting that they do more now than they did in prior hetero marriages. But there’s also a higher likelihood of one man becoming a house-husband (even though there are apparently more power tensions related to income in gay unions). So, although men hang a lot of self-esteem on their bacon-bringing abilities, they still value house-spousing enough to sacrifice for it.

Ironic, isn’t it?

Anyway, go ahead and take a read, then drop a comment below — in that order, please.

When Everyone’s an Expert

People who get within sniffing distance of marriage are notable for their sudden transformation into SMEs (subject matter experts).  It is amazing, really, how only a taste of marriage can turn someone into a fount of information on the subject. Here are some of the courses available through the Marriage Department at TMI U.

The Meaning of Commitment 101

Taught by a newly ringed NEF, the meaning of commitment covers what it means to declare yourself dedicated to someone for life, no matter what. Lectures range between 5 and 15 minutes and may include an earnest entreaty not to be afraid to commit yourself; after all, it’s probably going to work out great for this NEF.

How to Just Take a Leap of Faith – Seminar

Taught by an NEF, this quick disposition covers the meaning of faith, as well as the necessary prerequisites for it. There is brief coverage of the technique of leaping, as well as some evidence provided that leaps of faith pay off. Really. Things turn out fine. They do.

These impromptu speeches by NEFs bother me the least of all the near-marriage lectures, because I know they’re mostly talking to themselves. They’re nervous, and they’re trying to assure themselves that they weren’t stupid, accepting a ring from a stranger in return for a promise to remain dedicated to them for life.

Sometimes I bait them, proposing more and more dire marriage situations, just to watch them brace themselves to remain committed, yea, e’en in such dire straits.

What bugs me more is when people who have very little experience will marriage become experts on the subject. For example:

The Simplicity of Shalom Bayis – Lecture

Presented by an NMF of about three months, this lecture covers how simple shalom bayis is to maintain. All you have to do is listen to the other person and be willing to compromise. Honestly, what’s the big deal?

How Bad Decisions Messed up Someone Else’s Marriage, a Case Study

Presented by an MF of one year, this analysis of the rocky marriage of a 3-year-old couple will dissect poor decisions they made that led to their current situation. The lecturer will detail how she and her still-honeymooning husband would never make dumb mistakes like that.

Just from sitting around in my armchair watching, I suspect it takes a year before a couple really feels comfortable enough to start taking advantage of each other. Then you have another year before they start getting fed up with each other. So you won’t be seeing any cracks until year three, unless the situation is really bad. Oddly, that’s around when MFs stop dispensing the free marriage counseling.

Of course, I don’t claim to be an expert. I’m just explaining my own theory (available in lecture series upon request), and why I’d never take serious marriage advice from anyone who hasn’t been doing it for at least five years. Ten preferred.

Otherwise, you might as well purchase my other lecture series:

Why My Kids Are Going to be Fantastic

In this course I will espouse that raising great kids is simple: all you have to do is understand what each child needs and provide it. What’s the big deal?