A Loco Viewpoint
It’s been said that marriage is one long conversation (they never mentioned it would be a somewhat one-sided one). Being an inmate of the institution for thirty years, I’d have to agree. I can even tell you what the conversation is about; rules.
This is, after all, how holy matrimony starts… with a bunch of rules. Having to do things such as “love” honour” and “cherish” (Cupcake still has a ways to go on the “obey” thing) are rules, much like only cleaving unto one another. (I like this being an enthusiastic cleavage fan.)
You’d think the loving, honouring, cherishing and cleaving rules would cover pretty much every eventuality. You’d think wrong. This is just the beginning of the list of rules that follow when sorting out a new relationship. The endless reams of paper required to write them all down would make the Criminal Code of Canada look like a pamphlet. Oh, and you better order some White Out as the rules change constantly depending on circumstance, mental state and proximity to chocolate. Of course nobody actually jots the new rule down. There’s no need. It’s written in stone. “Don’t you ever call me that again!” is an excellent example. With no further discussion, we both write the new entry in our private mental rule books. My entry will read “Holy mackerel! I better not call her that ever again!” Cupcake’s would be more like, “At 13:47 hours on January 26th, 1996, my husband did willfully refer to me as “the little woman” in a condescending and patronizing fashion. It was during the occasion of a dinner with friends and….” (I’d complete the entry but they only give me 900 words in this space). Needless to say, my rule book would be decidedly thinner than Cupcake’s.
I believe strongly in discussing rules before their implementation. Being under some kind of twisted delusion that I am an equal partner in this relationship makes me believe a lot of foolish things, however, I will admit. Still it strikes me that having fair debate before establishing protocols to be followed in the future is a rational approach which will encourage adoption of the rule by both sides. Sure, rules created in the height of anger and delivered in verbal capital letters are also likely to be followed, but they don’t have the same intellectual buy-in as debated rules. Cupcake is okay with that. She doesn’t give a ferret’s feces about whether I buy into her rules intellectually as long as I do as I’m told.
It goes both ways, of course. I make on-the-spot rules, also. It is, after all a 50/50 arrangement. Cupcake listens to my rules, too. She doesn’t necessarily follow them, but she definitely listens to them. She doesn’t call them rules, though, but refers to them as “suggestions”. Here are a couple of my suggestions awaiting adoption from the Central Cupcake Committee:
“If you bring a new cleansing pouffe to hang off our shower head, you must throw an old one out.” My rationale for this rule is that she has so many pouffes in there now it looks like a tribble infestation. This is one she actually agreed to adopt, especially since a couple of her pouffes have started disintegrating, leaving pouffe bits all over the tub surface.
Another of my rules is “If you’re angry with someone other than me (it could happen), you cannot act angry with me,” This one has been accepted in theory but, alas, in practice, tends to go by the wayside when steam is venting from her ear-holes over something that has displeased her.
Cupcake has two sets of rules. One features general guidelines for conduct in life, such as, “If you’re going out for more than ten minutes, take your phone with you.” The other type of rule in Cupcake’s book also comes with a schedule of punishments for breaking the rules. “If you touch the dessert for our fancy dinner before it’s time to be served, you won’t get any.” This is a rather mild example as the list of punishments go all the way up to the death penalty. “If you get into my chocolates, I’ll kill you,” is just one such rule. It is a strong deterrent, too.
Another rule with an associated punishment (one of hers, obviously, since mine don’t come with punishments, just some whining and wheedling) is the rule “No back-seat driving or next time you need a designated driver, you’re hitchhiking”. This is known as the “Rule of Thumb”.
One of my more successful rules is quite surprising at its level of adoption. The “When we’re out in public, you have to pretend I am the boss in the relationship.” She is quite okay with this rule, although in her mind, it means I must take charge of the situation. By taking charge, she is referring to opening doors for her, letting her go first at everything and picking up the tab for every meal.
It could be worse, I suppose. I can imagine there are marriages that have no rules; that are based on some kind of anarchy model, but I bet they are few and far between. Every relationship comes with a set of unspoken and sometimes spoken rules (and yes, sometimes not just spoken but screamed at the top of your lungs rules) that must be followed if you want that relationship to last. Since marriage have such a long lifespan, ideally, rules tend to accumulate just like all the stuff in our garage, attic, storage shed etc. Luckily, the rules aren’t written down so they don’t take up any space… otherwise I’d need a new shed… a big one, too.
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A Woman’s Prerogative
One Frozen Cupcake
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