One of the biggest lessons I’m learning about being married again is that men and women really are just fundamentally different about some things. Much of the time those differences are “cute” or “endearing” or at least tolerable, and occasionally those differences are just plain baffling.
And I’m not just talking about what baffles me, either. I know for a fact that Otto is baffled by my shopping habits on a daily basis. He does not, for example, understand why I need so many shoes. I probably haven’t done a very good job of explaining it, either (“I JUST DO!”), but that’s because I’ve never needed to explain it to another woman. I require many pairs of pretty shoes; this is something he is learning to accept about me.
Just as a FOR INSTANCE, and based on absolutely nothing at all, really, just TOTALLY RANDOM, let’s take a look at a couple of differences in the ways Otto and I approach a major retail purchase. Just for FUN.
Me: I decided that I might like to replace our kitchen table and chairs, as the set we currently have was a perfect fit (size and decor-wise) in my old house, but here, it really isn’t. (Side note to my father: This is ALL YOUR FAULT. Love you!) We have this print hanging over the kitchen table, and so of course a retro chrome-trimmed diner-looking set would be ideal. Right? Right. Wow. What a good idea. I start perusing Craigslist about once a week.
Otto: Otto decided he’d like an old, smallish car to use for his daily commute, as the Family Car (capital F, capital C) we traded his prior car in on is kind of a beast for just tooling around town by himself. Otto is very knowledgeable about cars and a decent mechanic, so if he gets a car he can easily work on for not too much money, it’s a great idea. He starts perusing Craigslist, eBay, and various car trading sites for approximately six hours a day.
Me: I don’t find the set I’m looking for at a price I’m willing to pay, so I stop looking.
Otto: Otto doesn’t find the car he’d decided he wanted, so he does “some more research” and decides that instead of a 15-year-old something-or-other he ACTUALLY wants a 20-year-old something-else. He steps up his Craigslist time to seven hours a day.
Me: One morning I notice the kitchen table is really pretty badly scratched up. I wonder if I should maybe look again for a replacement set.
Otto: Otto finds a suitable car several hours away and gets a friend of his who knows cars and lives closer to go check it out for him. Friend gives it the thumbs-up, and Otto plans to make the trip a few days later. Then the seller calls to let him know the car has been sold. Otto is despondent. Otto then goes and looks at three other cars and none of them are suitable. Otto talks of nothing but valves and rims until I smother him with a pillow in his sleep. (Just kidding! I really never fantasized about that. Much.)
Me: I find a dinette set on eBay that’s described as “lemon yellow” but looks chartreuse in the pictures. I email to ask the seller for some outdoor pictures, and it is, indeed, chartreuse. I stop looking again.
Otto: The person who sold The Ideal Car calls to say he knows of another similar car. It is Not The Right One. Otto steps up his Craigslist surfing to eight hours a day. Success—he finds another Right One a mere two hours away!
Me: I give up and buy a dress on clearance. It is pretty, and I am happy.
Otto: Otto rounds up a couple of friends and heads out bright and early Saturday morning to see and potentially buy this Ideal Car. He kisses me goodbye and assures me that he will be home by noon. He texts me at about 11:30 to let me know that there was a “small problem,” and when he finally gets home around 4:30, I find out that his perfect new car blew a hose about an hour from town, and there was a Who’s-On-First-esque adventure involving getting a trailer and a truck and towing his new (BROKEN) car home. He then rolls his OTHER (BROKEN) old car out of the garage and puts the new (OLD, BROKEN) car inside, and then volunteers to take the kids to the bookstore to make up for the fact that he was gone for a day, but mostly so that he can buy a manual on how to fix this car.
Me: My head explodes. Sadly, I’ve not even had a chance to wear my new dress. On the up side, I no longer care about the kitchen table.
Otto: Takes the kids to the bookstore AND buys them chocolate. And then comes home and insists on showing me the engine of the car and various diagrams and is basically very cute and endearing even if I have no clue what he’s talking about.
And then we watched the Super Bowl and ate chicken wings and I asked him to please, never speak of this car again (unless, you know, it starts with, “It’s fixed!”).
The next morning (today), I send him a photo of a dinette I found for sale a couple of hours from here. He claims to love it, because he is no fool.