I should probably start this off with one, minor disclaimer: I have blogged about my husband before. I have blogged about your husband before. I am honest and blunt. I am not bashing. I am not talking crap. I am being truthful and real – things very few people seem to remember how to do anymore. If you don’t like my opinions or my feelings, by all means – you are entitled to yours. That doesn’t make mine wrong, though; and it doesn’t make me bad for being honest. I will repeat: I am not a bad person or a bad wife for being honest. And, more than anything: if Poor Nick didn’t want me to be honest about this stuff, he probably shouldn’t have done any of it.
The story of my husband and I – up to this point, that is – begins and ends with a cupcake.
When we first started seeing each other, Poor Nick told me that he really liked tiramisu. Those of you that’s aren’t bakers may not know this, but tiramisu is an incredibly difficult, expensive, and time-consuming thing to make. At one point, he was going to make dinner, so I decided to make a tiramisu cupcake for him. I spent close to eight hours baking that thing. When I got there, he had made a box of Macaroni and Cheese. His response when I finally asked if he liked it, since he’d said nothing? “Yeah, I mean it’s just a typical tiramisu.”
Flash forward to now, years later. The other day I was baking cupcakes for multiple occasions. It started with just my book club, but then I decided to bake a double batch since a friend was coming over for dinner and, also, so that Poor Nick would have some he could take to work. So what started as a batch of about 8 turned into a batch of 22. That night at dinner, he (of course) said nothing about the meal or the dessert I had prepared, and it was only when I asked that he responded “yeah it’s fine but it’s nothing special.”
Many of you (as faithful blog followers) will recall my blog last week when I talked about my hair appointment, which included my husband telling me that the photo I sent him didn’t “really do you any justice.” It wasn’t just about what he said, but about how he said it. Whatever his intentions may have been, what it sounded like was “wow – that photo is not doing you any favors, you should probably delete that from existence.”
I still got some comments, though, defending Poor Nick.
I thought about it more while I baked those “nothing special” cupcakes this week. While I baked those cupcakes, I thought about how if only things were different all along, I may not have taken it so personally.
If only that comment about the photo of my hair were just a fluke. If only he had told me I looked beautiful or nice or good in recent memory. If only Poor Nick had told me more than once in our entire time of knowing each other that I “look beautiful.” If only on our wedding day he had mustered more of a compliment than “those earrings are elegant.”
If only I could remember the last time he told me he loved me.
Maybe if my husband brought me flowers like other husbands do. Maybe if when I work really hard to make a delicious meal I didn’t have to fish for compliments, or if only he’d just smile and say “this is great, I want more!” Maybe when I spent an entire day cleaning the house from top to bottom, it wasn’t met with “you didn’t do anything out of the ordinary.” Maybe if Poor Nick greeted me with a hug and a kiss after getting home from work once in a while, instead of what he does do – which is go to visit the guinea pig and then ask where his dinner is.
Maybe – just maybe – if I could picture in my memory a time when he told me he loved me, I wouldn’t have taken that comment about the photo of my hair so personally.
You can see that this issue is much bigger than the cupcakes or any stupid comments about a photograph of my hair. I’m not interested in nonsense about how much he is my rock, or how much I don’t appreciate him – because, sadly, this has been going on all along. And while this is a pretty big deal, it is also only a small part of our marriage.
One of his friends once said to me that if I stopped “bashing” him he may be more inclined to treat me like a woman deserved of love and respect. But since when was being honest and expressing feelings “bashing?” And when one is silent about what they feel is wrong, they are the problem.
But communication about feelings and thoughts has always been met by Poor Nick with the real issue: he is a man and must do what many men today do, which is deny the existence and importance of women. You can see, now, why I call him “My Husband the Misogynist;” and now you understand how he is waging the War Against Women in my very own home.
This reignited War Against Women is about nothing more than invalidating the existence of women. Just because women wanted equal pay and the right to vote, though, did not mean that the appropriate response was to stop treating them like women.
In my own home, the war against women is being waged by my husband every day.
Just like the War Against Women in politics wants to deny women control over their own bodies, my husband wages that war on me and my body all the time. Just the other day, I threw out a nicknack we have had forever because it had sharp points that had rusted, and I cut myself on them three times. It was dangerous to have around and after the third – major – gash, I decided that when I was considering going to the doctor, it was time for the thing to go. He got so mad at me, though, for throwing it out because he thought we could find a solution. What was his solution, you ask? “You could just go get a tetanus shot whenever you cut yourself on it.” Are you kidding me?
Just like the War Against Women in politics wants to deny women their femininity as wives and mothers by devaluing the role of mother or stay at home housewife, my husband wages that war on me every day. He sits at work all day reading articles on LA Times and shooting the breeze with various people that come through their office, while I clean for six hours, cook for four, homeschool, and run errands; and he comes home to tell me “so really you haven’t done much today.”
Just like the War Against Women in our society, my husband says that he just isn’t in touch with his emotions; so therefore, any emotions or emotional needs are bad. Poor Nick tells me I’m not allowed to have emotions, and emotional needs, because that would make me a woman. His woman. His wife. His bride. In the War Against Women, we are not allowed to have emotions because that makes us feminine and special and it requires men to reach across the aisle, rather than stay holed up in their own egos. We are told that when we have emotions that are negative to men, we are out of control; we are gas-lighted and made to feel bad for having feelings. In the War Against Women, a man isn’t a man if he goes after the woman he loves.
This is the war going on in my home, every day.
It is no wonder that divorce rates are so high when the War Against Women has breached politics and made its way into the home. It’s no wonder women are now pitting against each other – stay at home versus working mom, breastfeed versus bottle-feed, vaccine versus non-vaccine – when we are now being conditioned to tear women down, even when we are just tearing at ourselves. Being a woman in the 1800s may have been oppressive; in the 1950s may have been June Cleaver or bust; but at least those women could get a “you look beautiful” or a “this meal is great” or a man could take a typical wife’s “nagging” with pride, because – hey – she’s your wife.
What I wouldn’t give to feel like June Cleaver. To have my husband call me “honey” and to treat me like a wife. Even if he really believed I belonged in the kitchen. My husband believes I belong in the kitchen, but I also don’t deserve an “I love you” on a daily basis. What I wouldn’t give to feel like Poor Nick’s bride. What I wouldn’t give to feel like a woman.
In a way, I feel bad for the “My Husband”s of the world. For every complaint I launch, there are probably thousands of women that feel the same way. But I feel bad for the “My Husband the Misogynist”s because in all their misogyny; in all the gas-lighting and the denying and the robbing these men do from women, in the end the denial of a woman as a woman can only go so long until that woman is gone.
This story began with a cupcake. Who knows if it will end just as sweet?