Thursday, February 2, 2012

In which Primo and I realize we have irreconcilable differences

When Primo and I first met, there was a lot of eating out. A lot of cooking fine meals. Indeed, on my first visit to his place in Fairview,* Primo made me a fabulous meal of steak and veg on the grill. It was December. There was snow. But that didn't stop him. He just went out on the porch in his flip flops, bravely ignoring the cold, and cooked with fire. Women like to see men flirting with danger. It's an aphrodisiac.

I cooked, too. I made waffles for supper one Friday evening, which is a perfectly fine meal if you ask me, but Primo was a little concerned because apparently, there is not a recommended wine for waffles. But waffles are fun and good and who has time to make them in the morning when you are really hungry and want something right now?

We ate out. Tried old and new restaurants. We ate in, trying new recipes: osso bucco, cream cheese bacon wrapped jalapeno thingies.**

Most importantly, we ate together. At the dining room table. Sometimes with candles. Always with cloth napkins. We use cloth napkins now. Even when we are eating in front of the TV.

Doris and Sly, the big environmentalists, use paper napkins. Wasteful. Tacky. Cloth is elegant, it feels better than paper, and it is certainly more responsible. (No, you do not have to wash your napkin every time you use it unless you are a complete slob. Primo and I are not complete slobs. Yes, we wash the napkins after we have company because nobody wants to use a napkin someone else has used, kind of like nobody wants to take a shower in the guest bathroom unless the tub has been cleaned. Who wants to stand in the dirt of a stranger? Not I.)

Then we got married. And moved into our house.

The dining room is in the cold part of the house. The section we keep closed off because our heating bill for the remaining part of the house is already $300/month in January and why would we want to heat part of the house that we almost never use? Are we made of money? Sly and Doris think so but they are wrong.

Man, they bug me.

So now, with the dining room closed off, we are reduced to using the kitchen, which has a table and benches, which would be fine, but that's not the real issue.

The real issue is that now that we are married, we have dropped our masks. I don't want to pretend any more that I like a big meal at night with long, intimate conversations and I certainly don't want to cook a big meal every day. While we were dating, I was trying to impress Primo with my wifely skills: cooking, cleaning, sock darning. But now, hahahahaha, we're married and he's stuck with me and I don't have to show off any more.

What I like to do is eat my main meal at lunch and then have an apple and cheese or an apple and peanut butter in the evenings. Which is exactly what I do when Primo is traveling, even though he complains that I am supposed to save the Good Cheese for when he is home. Yeah. Right. He's eating out at nice restaurants and I'm supposed to subsist on crummy cheese? We don't even have any Bad Cheese in our house. We have the Good Cheese and the Really Good Cheese and I'm not supposed to touch any of it because I'm supposed to share it with Primo.

But I don't even want the fancy meal when he is home. Well, I wouldn't mind the fancy meal, but I don't want to eat it at 8:00 p.m.

I'm hungry way before then. Primo likes to get super hungry before eating, but I like to maintain a steady state of stomach comfort. I see no benefit to feeling hungry. Isn't that what our subsistence farmer/hunter/gatherer ancestors worked to escape? Voluntary hunger is a concept that I just don't get, which is why I always keep Emergency Chocolate in my purse and in the car. I intend to avoid the tragedy of being hungy in public places if at all possible and if it means a few extra ounces in my purse, so be it.

So these are the essential eating problems:

1. Primo likes to eat late, I like to eat early
2. Primo wants a big meal at supper, I want it at lunch

Let's talk about number 3. I like to eat - it's one of my main hobbies, which is why exercise has to be my other hobby because spending money on new clothes a size larger is definitely not a hobby - but I don't like to drag it out. Sit down, eat, leave. Or, when I am alone, open the fridge, pull out the container of Thai Basil Chicken, eat as much as I want from the container (with the fridge closed - Primo is the fridge door open leaver, which makes me nuts), return container to fridge, return to book.

I view eating as a necessary biological function.

Primo looks at it as a Major Social Activity.

I agree with him - when there are other people besides us involved. I love having supper with friends.

But when it's just us? No. I do not want to spend an hour eating supper. It takes me ten minutes to finish and then I am supposed to watch Primo eat, which (love you, honey!) is dull, dull, dull.

I am also supposed to watch him do his wine rituals, which involve swirling wine around in his mouth and sticking his nose in the wineglass. Maybe if I appreciated wine, I would understand, but from my perspective of a former diet Coke drinker, it all seems silly.

So we have these conflicts. And I don't know how to resolve them, because they are zero-sum.

* Where he paid for the ticket, unlike the Moroccan millionaire, Gomez, who was simultaneously cheap and extravagent at the first time - he didn't buy my ticket to Paris but we went Ferrari shopping. Gomez is one of those people who have never not had money and I guess it just never occurred to him that not all of us have inherited vast wealth and actually have to worry about what we spend. Primo has not inherited wealth nor is that likely to happen, but he works his butt off and does not spend unwisely, unless you want to count all the wine in the basement and the almost weekly bargains from Menards of things we do not need like plastic bags that are guaranteed to make produce stay fresh for two weeks or longer. We use our produce before it's two weeks old, I tell him. Please return the bags. But they are only $2 after the rebate! he argues.

** If you have not tried these, you do not know what you are missing. Make them right now.


  1. How about a few compromises: During the week, dinner is at 7:00 and it's whatever you cook.

    On the weekends, alternate between a big lunch and big dinner (maybe a big dinner on Saturday, then a big lunch/brunch on Sunday). Agree on the times and menus in advance and also cook together.

  2. It's all lies before marriage and're stuck. I thought my dh was social when we dated. We had COUPLE friends! Now, I just have girlfriends and he
    And? He also thinks waffles are not a good dinner, whereas they are among my most favorite of dinners. He eats slowly, I'm done in a minute, etc...etc.. We are also cloth napkin users. But, the worst of it is goal weight is just to weigh less than him. ALL meal time differences pale when I'm Jack Sprat's wife.
    And that was a lie before we married too. He outweighed me then by 35 lbs. Liar.

  3. I'm dying laughing right now. I have a few thoughts on this.

    1. there is an obvious "wine" choice for waffles. Champagne. Make mimosa :) or bellinis. I do waffles for dinner with mimosas all the time :)

    2. I would eat all the very good cheese too.

    3. I am a recovering diet coke addict as well and I do a very bad job of swirling the wine, letting it breathe and all that jazz. Give me something good and I want to guzzle it!

    you are right. These are all irreconcilable differences/ You'll have to complain about it for the next 50 years :)

  4. Jen, we do have nice brunches on the weekend. Usually, Primo makes omelettes. Today, though, we had eggs on a tomato-chorizo sauce, topped with grated cheese and onions.

    Herewegoagain - Yes! Dating is one big lie! Primo was not obsessed with politics before we were married. If he had been, things might have turned out differently.

    Ms Mindless, I have shared the wine suggestion with Primo and he is intrigued.

  5. For me, it's not the eating. It's the cooking that's boring. I HATE cooking. I hate peeling potatoes, racking my brain for recipes, everything. Sometimes I will lamely suggest to husband, "Why don't YOU make dinner tonight?" It's on these nights that I end up having cereal and he has nothing.

    And yes, champagne goes with most meals.

  6. Uh oh. I think we might be seeing the same guy. We almost didn't make it past the second date. When the waiter put our food down in front of us... my guy didn't eat. He didn't even pick up his fork. He didn't even acknowledge that food had appeared right in front of him. He just kept going on with the conversation, which had become dreadfully awkward at this point, because all I could think about was how long do I have to wait for this joker before I dig into the mouthwatering duck confit in front of me without appearing like a boor. On the outside, I was all nods and smiles, but on the inside I was all "EAT! EAT, DAMN YOU!" That was a year ago, and now that we live together, I'm comfortable enough to just dig in, but I still hate looking up from my plate to see he's only on his third bite or so. Some people put their fork down between bites, and other people are me. Never the twain shall meet. :)

  7. Vicki, I don't mind cooking, but I don't want to have to cook. And there is nothing wrong with Cheerios for supper.

    Butters, how can someone KEEP TALKING WHEN THERE IS FOOD? Focus, people. Focus!

  8. Ha! We never eat together, well only at the weekend, there is no way I am starving till 8 or 8.30pm to please a man!

  9. Masks, indeed. That's what it's all about. Like you, I want to eat when it's ready - I want the hot foods hot, and the cold foods cold - not everything lukewarm. My guy doesn't want anything on his plate that he will not eventually eat, so he cuts out all the bones, the skins,the whatever ... and drags it out forever!

    Methinks you need to learn to love the wine, so you can eat your dinner and then drink while he catches up. You don't have to do all that swirling and nose stuff, just find the wines you like and enjoy them ... starting, of course, with champagne for your waffles!

    Came over from Tish Jett's and think I will follow along for a while.

  10. Tabitha, I don't starve. I just eat too much because I snack and then I eat.

    Webb, Primo eats everything except orange-flavored food and pinto beans. He eats tripe. It's gross.

    I'm glad to have you guys here!

  11. I don't understand why I would do something different on dates than I would once married? Except I'm more domestic married. And I never really dated the people I married. Come to think of it, I never dated much.

    Champagne with waffles! And strawberries! And whipped cream! And crisp bacon with maple syrup, mmmm.

    Diet coke goes with everything. Why would I give up the delicious chemical goodness as it burns down my throat and brings clarity to my thoughts?


    1. Primo held in the farts while we were dating, too.

  12. several confessions:

    1. i think we were supposed to be related in another life.
    2. i fully intend to start a blog called The Worst Mother-in-Law EVER... but i really gotta bury it b/c you know.. what if she finds out? but then i cant believe it could get any worse... she doesnt live a plane ride away. i am also "that woman." but she did come to our wedding.. so she could make it all about her.
    3. i dont let TBM eat the good cheese. i hide it from him. there. i said it.

    1. 1. It's truly possible. I have read your blog and know what you're about.

      2. I think you should. I hope this blog is buried enough. None of Primo's friends know about it, not because they would tell but because he is so mortified at how awful his parents are. I am writing a novel based on all of this, but have to figure out how to disguise names and locations just in case Doris stumbles on it. The thing is, I can't change the events. If she read something with different names, etc, would she say, "Oh! I knew we weren't the only ones who threatened not to come to our own son's wedding/criticize our daughter in law for not eating bacon right/get drunk every afternoon" or would she recognize herself?

      3. Why waste good cheese on someone who won't appreciate it?

  13. thats what i'm sayin'. i have a story about the MIL called "The Dreadful Peony Breakdown." i'm not even kidding. i just feel like i have to share it. sigh.... must find an outlet. some of these stories are priceless.