Thursday, December 28, 2017

Married BFFs

Should spouses be best friends?
There isn't one answer to that question. 

Bruce Feiler asks the question, and black-ish tackled it too last year ("Plus Two Isn't a Thing").

In terms of the latter, Bow feels like a third wheel when Dre's bestie from the hood, Gigi, shows up for a visit. However, Gigi is currently in a relationship, and all the outings she used to do with Dre she now does with Napoleon. Bow is initially gleeful—until she feels the sting of nasty kibitzing, the "perk" of being besties. Both she and Napoleon are eager for Gigi and Dre to be best friends, and they are happy to remain significant others.!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_1200/141471-7130.jpg
Feiler's article approaches the matter from a few angles. According to one expert, spouses who consider each other best friends have an added edge. According to another, "friends" is a great understatement for the complexity of marriage. Then chimes in a third, that while friendship is about companionship, marriage is ultimately about change. 
. . . “It’s the in-between ones, when they use the language of friendship, my stomach turns,” Dr. Bader said. “It’s a red flag for a lot of conflict avoidance and intensity avoidance. It often means they’ve given up on the complexity of being with somebody. Instead of saying, ‘Oh, well, that’s who they are,’ it’s better if they try to work things out.”
Dr. Bader said that she wished popular magazines would challenge the notion that you shouldn’t get married to change someone. “I think that’s what marriage is about,” she said. “It’s where some of the juices come from, and it’s also how you get the best out of the person you marry.”
A good marriage, she said, is when people “push each other, challenge each other, encourage each other and, yes, change each other.”
Ezer k'negdo, I hear?

But doesn't change ultimately come from within? I don't want to be constantly bullying some poor fellow all day—nor do I want to be bullied in turn. I would think that initially, simply moving in with someone means that two people are exposed to different lifestyles, which, in turn, can make them rethink their previous go-tos. They have been given another pair of eyes

On the other hand
,  Nietzche did say: “It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.”  

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Vive La Liberté!

Besides for no one messing with me on the subway, another reason I adore my height is that I was spared the wobbly horror of heels. 

Do not mistake me: I think heels are beautiful, on women they are magnificent, but personally I am happy to avoid the "requirement" to wear them. Luckily ballet flats have come a long, long way since my teens. There was nothing—and I mean nothing—flat and attractive to wear back then.

But high heels may be no longer ubiquitous, as Bonnie Wertheim reports. Women have had enough, for feminist, health, and comfort reasons. 

The alternative shoes made me shudder. Crocs. Birkenstocks. Clogs. No, not clogs! Anything but clogs! 

I blame Louboutin for this. He had to add on so many inches that women's backs were broken. Three inches were the max, once. That was fine. Women found that acceptable. But then Christian had to go overboard until the females rebelled.
The cohort of high-profile high-heel naysayers is vocal today. Gal Gadot wore flats throughout her “Wonder Woman” press tour earlier this year.  . . When asked why she ditched heels during the film’s promotion, Ms. Gadot told USA Today that it was a matter of health and safety. “I love wearing high heels — I think it’s beautiful, it’s sexy, whatever,” she said. “But at the same time, especially stilettos, it puts us out of balance. We can fall any minute. It’s not good for our backs. Why do we do it?”
Frum women can limit heel wear to Shabbos and simchas, so perhaps we aren't putting our spines under constant torture. Yet there are so many options today, pretty, dainty, appealing alternatives, not like in my youth when I was reduced to the lamest flats ever.
Gal's still wearing Louboutin's, though. Ha.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Fluent in Love

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman is a slim, non-threatening book that made me go "Ooooooh." 

Personally, I've never associated gifts with love. Someone else goes out, decides what I like, then spends money on something expensive I'm obligated to adore? What a waste of their time, money, and my acting skills! It doesn't make sense! 

I've translated love as when someone else does something for me that makes my life easier. Taking out the garbage. Folding the laundry. Letting me play my favorite song when the other can't stand it. That's what I do in turn as well. Chapman would call that language "Acts of Service."

Physical affection, too. I'm big on cuddling the kinfauna and arm-stroking adults.
There can be tensions in a relationship—in marriage or parenthood—when expressions of love miss each other. He's vacuuming the house in love, she's weeping that he doesn't talk to her ("Quality Time"). She's murmuring sweet nothings to her son, but he doesn't feel loved without hugs and kisses. 

This explains so much to me. I couldn't understand how gift giving was an expression of love. I couldn't understand how a child could feel unloved when I knew, fo sho, that that kid was. They speak in different tongues, and that means—yaaaaay, more work—that we have to figure out how to communicate across the language barrier. 

So if one shows love with making dinner, that may not be enough for the receiver. One may have to start talking about love, even if one is really uncomfortable with "I love you."

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

CCs, Continued

"Your face is glowing," Ta said approvingly. 

"It is?" I said in surprise. Ta comments only in the most flattering of circumstances. 

Perhaps you may recall my discovery of the BBs and CCs—and my debate. As the days passed, I used the Smashbox less and the It more, to the point that I decided to return the Smashbox, and purchase a second It in a lighter shade and mix the two. Walking one day past Sephora, I bolted inside, grabbed a tube in "Fair", and scurried out (obviously after paying). 

The wrong tube, alas. It turns out the CC cream comes in two versions. The original and "Illuminating," which means "sparkly," my nemesis. Well, I have mellowed a little against sparkly. But not that much.$detail$
But after Ta's positive feedback, my intent on returning it wavered. I purchased the original in Fair as well to compare, yet find myself—again—selecting the Illuminating. Shucks. Are all my principles sailing out the window? 

Never say never, my sweets. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Plight of the Picky

What does it mean to be "picky"? 

That he must be a specific height? That she must be of specific features? That he must have specific employment? That she must have specific hobbies? 

I used to think that that was "picky." But then I became less sure. We all function on varying degrees of depth. In an episode of Black-ish, Zoey is dumped by her French exchange student boyfriend, and takes it hard. When Junior asks him why, he replies, "Your seester is shallow. Like ze kiddie pool."
When Dre tentatively breaks the details to her, she sighed in relief and hops out of bed. She had been prostrate with worry over her looks. 

She is not on the search for what others are. And that is fine. 

Let us take it further.

Is it being "picky" when one hopes to be able to actually converse with her significant other? That she enjoys his company as much as he hers? That they share core values? That they look forward to seeing each other again when they part ways for the evening?  

Those who declare "picky" project their own wants and needs onto the single. If they didn't require a, b, or c, why should anyone else? It worked for them. It was enough for them. It should be enough for you. 

But I am me. And it shan't do.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

My Sister, in Pride

It was way before she diagnose me as a fellow introvert when I delightfully concluded we had something in common: Pride in our background. 

She is not Hungarian, like I am. She is Georgian. Not exactly similar to my region of Hungary. But that didn't matter. As she brought out platter after bowl of Georgian dishes, as she told anecdotes from her immediate family, as she reverted to her native tongue to clarify a point, I was drawn to her in kinship.
Khinkali , Georgian dumplings
"But you weren't born in Hungary," is a snarky comment I often receive. So what? I was raised by those who were, who bear their backgrounds with pride, who abide by its values, who revert to their mother tongues to evoke perspectives that cannot be described in English. And use a lot of paprika in the kitchen.
Nokedli paprikas
I have met others, Hungarians and non-Hungarians alike, who wish to flee from their heritages. I have a happy connection to mine, true, and cannot speak for those who do not. But "If you don't know where you come from, you don't know where you're going." The past and its mark cannot be denied. We are all products not only of our DNA, but our ancestors' experiences.
Charkhlis Pkhali, Georgian beet salad
After all, we were Jews first. We have stuck to that identity fiercely in the Diaspora. Why not give recognition to the stops along the way?  

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

What Comes First

"You have to put the husband first," she said firmly. 

She was not Ayelet Waldman, but a frum married woman of 60. For those who do not recall, Waldman was vilified a number of years ago for her Modern Love piece in which she rather bluntly informed the world that she loved her children, but was in love with her husband.
Meaning: He came first in her affections and focus. 

She could have spared herself some vitriol, I believe, if she eased into the topic rather than bulldozing into it. Because I do think she has a valid point. 

Parenting—or is it mothering?—has taken on a competitive edge. Movies joke about obsessed soccer moms and terrifying PTA meetings, but the example doesn't have to be so extreme. 

I have been around children. A lot. At a recent Shabbos meal, I was able to tell from the decibel of kvetching emanating from the crib that the toddler could go back to sleep, so take a seat, soft-hearted Zeidy. 

Adults forget what their needs and wants were as children. Kids, when small, are usually not so complicated. Consistency is key: solid bedtime, healthful meals, and knowing exactly what they can and cannot do, and definitely affection. I would go further that they crave united, cheerful parents. 

I remember the episode of Oprah where Waldman was sandbagged by furious mothers, who were the opposite extreme. They spent hours frosting cupcakes for Little League, their husbands vague memories. Do kids want frosted cupcakes for Little League? Not really. And if they do, they certainly would rather do without if their parents will fight over it. 

I wouldn't say, "The husband comes first," but "The marriage comes first." I have heard of adults being bitter because their parents had miserable marriages or torturous divorces; have you ever heard anyone complain that their parents had a wonderfully close relationship? 

Her piece ends off: 
And if my children resent having been moons rather than the sun? If they berate me for not having loved them enough? If they call me a bad mother?
I will tell them that I wish for them a love like I have for their father. I will tell them that they are my children, and they deserve both to love and be loved like that. I will tell them to settle for nothing less than what they saw when they looked at me, looking at him.
That sounds pretty awesome to me.