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Love’s dull routine (10/24/2004)
By Janet Lewis Burns

The names in this article have been changed to protect the innocent (or the guilty). They shall be "he" and "she." This is not an article that throws out clever adages concerning perfect harmony and romantic enhancement in married life.

In fact, LOVE today has a variation of altered definitions: "I simply adore your everyday Monica dress, and those sea foam, platform shoes are to die for!" The elite wallow in affection for their three dogs and two tabby cats, a "significant other," the $5,000 a month second residence, and most noteworthy, television's "Fear Factor" (not to be confused with Trump's tactless employee bump.)

Love is one thing - harmony is quite another. I had always figured that a marriage would be doomed if the first thing he and she said to one another in the morning was, "What do you want for supper?" "I don't know." But, as time together grows comfortable and simplistic, a certain contentment sets-in, the security of routine. It's a good thing.

Women "make do," while the male of the pride feels he has to "fix it" - only to screw-up because she didn't read the directions properly. And wouldn't you know it! He has the table strewn with widgets and wadgits about the time an old high school chum is expected for tea, the phone is ringing, and you just know the lid is up in the john.

There's the "bending over backwards to please" syndrome, while bitterness builds to a boiling point. She had been cooking oatmeal for him every morning, each day the same thing! When she finally spoke up, informing him that she detested the task, he admitted that he never liked oatmeal; he just didn't want to hurt her feelings.

Is the primary lesson here "honesty is the best policy" or "without the essence of kindness the porridge curdles?" A cheerful giver can never go wrong. Some relationships are more like a personality clash than a loving union.

The divorce rate for nudists is extremely low. There's no wool to pull over anyone's eyes. Boo hiss! Conversation in some marriages is one-sided...that would be the side that's always right.

Most road vacations begin with amicable intentions, high hopes for a relaxing, memorable getaway. Ladies, don't resort to the silent treatment, which is no more than immature grown-up pouting, because he'll enjoy the heck out of that, and you'll be chompin' at the bit to bring up his family's redneck tendencies again, when he can't escape.

She doesn't want to stay at the mom and pop motel, just off the freeway, and posting low room rates. Right next to Burger King too! "That Luxury Inn downtown sounds really nice, honey," she chortles. "It has a sauna, and a whirlpool in each suite with a view." ("Yaw, smack dab in the center of downtown Cincinnati!")

So the guy who wears the pants forces a weak grin of affirmation, which is actually, "If we don't stay there, I'll hear about it all week - how insensitive I am, forcing her to sleep in a dingy room with heavy, maroon velvet bedspreads, soiled, gold carpet, and no ice machine! She'll keep bringing it up how good that whirlpool would have been for her bad back. ("Her back? Something she doesn't use anyway!")

After getting lost in a late day traffic maze, searching for "the place of her dreams," they finally spot the sign. "NO VACANCY." She snaps, "I told you we should have gone back to that friendly, cute, no-name place, after you almost rear-ended that white convertible, ogling that Tammy Faye look alike."

"I could have married a lawyer, you know," she gloats.

("Here we go again!") "You mean the guy who just filed bankruptcy?" he smirked.

...and they drove off into the sunset together, another day in paradise.

"What a great vacation!" "But, it's always good to get home."

("Does she always have to have the last word?") 


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