Monday, September 01, 2008

Man Lessons

Let’s be honest; you really don’t care about the laundry list of things someone has to do when they buy a house, but that doesn’t stop these people from rattling off the following:

“I have to clean everything, paint, shampoo the carpets, buy furniture, replace light fixtures, and then do the actual moving. My goodness, can you believe it?”

The conversation is never as short as this, though. Each one of those points gets several solid support paragraphs providing lots of intimate details. Great, if you’re writing an essay for high school English. Boring, if you’re an adult human being with better things to do.

This is why I’m not going to bore you with the comings and goings of Amy’s and my new house. Just know that we’re currently working on all of the items listed above.

While shopping for furniture today (with a “china cabinet” at the top of our list of priorities), I started to realize exactly how different my life would’ve been had I never met Amy and remained a bachelor.

When I say “different,” I mostly mean, “completely and utterly ignorant to aspects of American life only known about and experienced by women.”

And so, the following is a list of household items I never would’ve known anything about and definitely wouldn’t have owned if Amy hadn’t forced me to live like a civilized human being instead of a single male…

China – The plates, not the country. I know all about China the country. They hosted the Olympics this year. Yao Ming is from there. They invented Chinese Checkers. I’m a veritable expert on China the country, but not the plates.

When Amy and I got married, we picked out a design for our new fancy plates. They were essentially cream colored and each setting included a big plate, a little plate, a coffee cup, and a bowl. “Sweet,” I thought, “New plates!”

But then Amy went all buck-wild, ordering sixteen place settings, even though there are only two of us! Not only that, but we ended up ordering things called “Vegetable Bowls” and “Pasta Serving Platters.” What are all these things for?

Amy’s Justification: “You need that many for family holidays. Maybe you would break one, and sometimes after a while they’ll look dingy or get knife marks in them. Or what if they got discontinued? You’d have to have backups, you know?”

Loofas – For you single men out there, a loofa is like a shower sponge shaped like a jellyfish. They’re went women use instead of just rubbing a bar of soap against their body. They look like colorful, waterproof doilies, and I will never use one without feeling like I’ve compromised my heterosexuality.

Amy’s Justification: “You’re constantly shedding your skin, and sometimes just using a stupid bar of soap won’t pull off all the dead, dry skin. The loofa is a little rougher and it helps to pull all that off of there. Why don’t I just use a washcloth, you ask? Because a loofa works up more suds, so the soap lasts a little longer.”

Accent Pillows – Before Amy, my bed had no more than two pillows on it any time, and both of them were actually used for sleeping purposes. As far as I know, the definition of pillow is, “That comfy, fluffy thing you put your head on when you go to sleep at night,” but women have found a new way to bastardize the original function of this common slumber aid. Now, they’re used for decorating, too.

Every time we make our bed, there are two full-sized pillows used to cover up our sleeping pillows, plus two more pillows that aren’t anything even close to comfortable because the material is rough and they have tassels dangling off the sides. They’re also about 60% too small to be used for sleeping. This is what they call accent pillows, and they serve absolutely zero functional purpose. They’ve even started spreading to the living room sofa. When will it end?

Amy’s Justification: “They make everything pretty. They pull all the colors together in a room. Plain white walls and a quilt are boring, but when you get accent pillows it helps make the room warmer. Actually, it makes the bed look a lot more inviting. Tell your guy friends that. Except not if they live alone. Then it’s just sort of gay.”

About 80% of the Utensils and Small Appliances in our Kitchen – I don’t even know where to begin with this. Bed Bath and Beyond has an entire section devoted to kitchen utensils I’ve only ever seen used on episodes of “Iron Chef.” We’ve got two full drawers of things you use to mix, fold, split, open, crack, drain, sort, sift, separate, stir, and/or decorate. Give me a wooden spoon, a can opener, and a corkscrew and I could survive in the wild for decades.

Amy’s Justification: “They all have a different use. Like the cookie-ballers. Sometimes you want big cookies and sometimes you want small ones. You need lots of spatulas because sometimes they melt, and you need lots of spoons because a lot of times you’re making several things at once. Some items you only use once in a while, but when you need them you’re glad you have them. Like the pineapple corer! They’re just the coolest gifts, and they make you feel like Betty Crocker.”

“Nice” Garbage Cans – For two years I had an entirely functional blue garbage can I purchased at Big Lots for a grand total of $9.99. It was plenty big enough, did it’s job serving as a receptacle for trash, and even had a lid on top to keep trash stank from permeating every room in the house.

After getting married, Amy insisted upon us purchasing a newer, nicer garbage can of stainless steel. These run somewhere in the $79 to $130 range. As our shiny new trash can went over the scanner and I yanked out my credit card, all I kept thinking was, “$9.99, $9.99, $9.99”…

Amy’s Justification: “They’re always sitting out, and you need it to look nice while it’s sitting out. You know that what’s inside of it is disgusting, so you at least you need it to look nice on the outside. The cheap ones are ugly. They look like they belong in a garage, not a kitchen.”

Curtains – I’m not questioning that these serve a functional purpose, because it’s obvious they do a fine job keeping the light out of the room when you’re trying to sleep in on Saturday mornings. I get that.

But what I didn’t get as a resident of an apartment was why Amy wanted me to buy curtains when I already had blinds that did the same job. Curtain rods and curtains together just seemed like unnecessary money to spend, especially when there are some curtains (several of which are in our new house) that look as if they were never intended to be closed. Why the blinds and the curtains?

Amy’s Justification: “Curtains add accents of color, but it’s also an additional blockage of the sun. I understand that blinds block out a lot of sun and provide privacy, but sometimes it’s not dark enough without the curtains.”

Shower “Gel” – I’ve always used just a plain bar of soap when I’m in the shower. For the majority of my life it was just that and a bottle of shampoo. At Amy’s suggestion I started using conditioner, but I declined her request that I use a washrag.

A lot of men use washrags. There’s nothing wrong with that. Shower gels, however, are unequivocally frustrating. It’s great to have your lady smell good, but what’s not great is having half of Bath and Body Works lining the inside shelf of your bathtub. As a bachelor, I could actually see the white walls of my shower’s lower rim. Now, it’s a line of bathtub sentinels that smell like lavender and Swedish kiwi.

Amy’s Justification: “You need your shampoo and conditioner, obviously. Shaving cream, face wash, and sometimes you want two different shampoos in there depending on what smell you want. Then you need your body wash. I’ve got two conditioners in there right now because one of them is really good for shaving my legs if my shaving cream every runs out. Plus, I always get so excited when I buy new shampoo that I bring it into the shower with me before the older one is gone.”

Honorable Mention (These may or may not have come to my attention eventually on my own, with or without Amy) – coasters, matching furniture, name brand laundry detergent, and an appreciation for décor.

Men, I hope you’ve learned as much during the course of reading this blog as I have in the last four years. I now consider myself civilized, knowing how far I’ve come since I first met my wife. The only problem is she doesn’t think I’m anywhere close to having it all straight. As far as she’s concerned I’m still a Neanderthal, which I find ridiculous.

I aught to just knock her out and drag her by her hair to the bedroom, just to be ironic. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to prove my point to her until I did something with those damned accent pillows.

1 comment:

Wade said...

Joel,

Nice to see you getting domesticated.

Trust me young skywalker, only begin it has