Wednesday February 13, 2013
50 shades of marriage
By MARY EU
MY husband’s loud, piercing fart woke me up. I sprang out of bed and rushed for some fresh air. In tones of innately complacent calm, he asked: “How’s that for natural alarm, huh?”
That’s my husband, Iye (same pronunciation as the three-toed sloth, ai). And like the adult sloth, marks his territory using anal scent glands.
In my household, bowel movements are conversation pieces. This morning’s gaseous outburst was inevitably discussed at the breakfast table with the guilty party not showing any remorse or recompense at all. He averred that a “silencer” would have done more environmental harm than the morning’s “sniper”. Guess courtesy does not count in long-time married couples.
Hubby and I are new retirees. Having shed the stress of working life, we get to live the let-go life. Conversations, though, can border on the mundane and the inane.
He has few wants. Give him the TV control, the Internet connection and a leather couch – and his needs are graciously met. I fade into the background as technology grips him for the next couple of hours.
Retirement and my husband click without a glitch. Unlike most new retirees who find the sudden gush of free time at once unnatural and overflowing, hubby embraces retirement with panache. His retirement motto is: Why stand when you can sit; and why sit when you can lie down?
Blessed with handsome features and a charming sense of humour, he needs very little to look good. He has been to the same barber for over 30 years because this barber charges only RM5 for a decent haircut. He pooh-poohs the need for shampoo or bath gel and trusts a single bar of soap to complete the whole rigmarole of ablution.
He is a master at frugality. When his shoes have seen better days and begin to flap, he simply gums the sole back with super glue. As for shirts, he always takes the first one on the rack to wear. He asks me to change the loose elastic band on his favourite shorts instead of getting a new pair. And when the price of vegetables soars, he grows vegetables instead of flowers around our house.
Ever the practical one, he always asks: “This one got money or not, ah?” whenever my article makes it to print.
He is born in the Year of the Snake but he claims that it is a Water Snake and thus, harmless and non-poisonous. Having a sense of humour is essential in a marriage. In my marriage, we need large doses of humour and oodles of self-esteem.
It thrives on the stimulus of provocation and above all, healthy and candid, if sometimes hostile and crude, exchange of ideas. I sometimes think we are like Earl and Opal in the cartoon strip, Pickles. For example, I had walked right into the room wearing my new expensive perfume and he hissed, “What’s that sss-smell?”
Trust him to slither away my aura of confidence with that dorky question. Ah, when will he learn to appreciate the finer things in life?