Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I Don't Understand

Men and women are different. This seems to be a fact that almost anyone can agree upon. Why we are so different covers a wider area of debate. A small research / self-help book industry offers us theories, but no real solutions to the conflicts that occur between men and women. From Women are from Venus and Men are from Mars, to Why Women Can't Read Maps and Men Don't Ask for Directions, there are no shortage of experts willing to tell us why they are right.

When I got married I actually received the latter book - twice; once in English and once in German. It basically says that biology and evolution explain the differences between men and women. It did not, however, have any good recommendations for those moments when I look at my husband and wonder, "Who the heck are you?"

Anyone who has read my blog before knows that I love the German. He is a dear man who does a lot for me. On the other hand, he does things that drive me bonkers. One reason that I am so committed to my marriage is to find out the reason for his quirks. Over the past week, a few of my favorites have popped up.

1. He does not turn things off before he unplugs them. This is mostly a problem with the hair dryer and the vacuum cleaner. Instead of turning them off, he just pulls the plug out of the wall. This leads to a little spark when I plug it back in the next time. Not only does it drive me crazy, but I also find it slightly dangerous.

2. He often leaves the TV and radio on when he leaves the house. The German loves to listen to talk radio in the morning with his coffee and toast before he goes to work. Unfortunately, I sometimes come downstairs after he has left, and the radio is still on. For a man so concerned with saving energy, I do not understand why he does this.

3. He leaves his dirty clothes on the floor in front of the empty hamper. I know that I am not the only wife that complains about this, but I just don't get it. The basket is there. The boxers are in your hand. What biological difference could possibly explain this behavior? Another version of this problem was the dirty coffee cup sitting on the counter next to the empty dishwasher. I finally broke him of that habit, perhaps the socks are not too far behind.

4. Last week he did something truly perplexing. I had left some clothes drying on a stand in the living room (no, we do not have a dryer). My thoughtful husband took the clothes down, put them in the basket, put away the stand and took the clothes upstairs to our bedroom. That evening I was very touched, even if he had not folded them. But as I sorted through the clothes I noticed that he HAD folded them, well his anyway. But he had not put them away . . . in the wardrobe . . . which was next to the basket. I almost took a picture of the laundry as I was so baffled. I went downstairs to ask why he folded his clothes but not mine. "Well, you get very touchy about your clothes and I don't want to mess with your system." Okay, so he is right. I am a little anal about my laundry. But, why didn't you put your clothes (i.e. t-shirts and boxer shorts) away. He just shrugged his shoulders.

5. My husband's hunter and gathering instincts must be really strong, because a lot of things find themselves in the inner depths of his office. Cell phone chargers, pens, the cordless phones, dirty coffee cups. Chances are, if you are looking for something in our house, it usually in his office. The hilarious part is when he asks me where something is. "Sweetie, have you checked your office?"

I suppose these are the things that keep marriage "interesting." I am not sure about that, but it does keep me on my toes.

Do not mistake me for a saint. I do things ALL the time that bother my spouse. He really hates how I wash the pots and pans under running water instead of filling up the sink with water. However, because he leaves the radio on, I think that makes us even in the wasting energy department. Also, I get pretty irrational and anal about the dumbest things. This is partly due to hormones. I admit it. I get hormonal. However, these hormones enable me to have his children. Sigh. Seems that you cannot beat biology.


Carol said...

Oh Claire, how perfectly timed your post is! Actually, it would have been perfectly timed ANY time you posted it! My adorable husband has some pretty crazy quirksof his own, but he does share some with your hubby,

The socks next to the hamper thing is TRULY perplexing! And the "have you seen my..." Yup -- here too.

And yet, you're right -- we still love them... and know that they could perfectly well do a doozer of a blog entry about OUR little quirks!

Hang in there!


kim said...

hey, maybe we love them because of their weirdness. like, to make our life more interesting. or something...

my favorite is the wet towel on the bed/couch/anything btw. that just kills me. also, not something i can ignore [like his dirty clothes next to the hamper] because i just don't like my bed/couch wet and molding...

oh and the dishes next to the dishwasher is a classic i think. in our case a lot of times he'll put them in the sink, which is right next to the dishwasher...


Gardner said...

As a husband of almost 14 years I can only say one thing - Years of training, years of training.

Talking about and working together on the issues that are important to one spouse or the other always helps.

hang in there!

Debbie said...

He pulls plugs straight out of the wall and leaves the tv on when he's out of the house... are you SURE he's really German??? I thought all Germans had been indoctrined with environmental cares and the fear of strict consquences for doing something the wrong way. Pulling the plug while the hair dryer is still on is not in accordance with basic German Ordnung! THIS time we will not report him to the authorities. THIS time ;-)