Marriage in the Postmodern World

Marriage in the Postmodern World

A Story by Dave

          “No, you see, the real problem is that the man and woman stopped loving each other just one year into the relationship but neither of them ever realized it.  Now, five years in, neither one remembers what it’s like to enjoy the other’s company or to even want the other one around.  They don’t realize that their entire connection is based on the refusal to accept as valid any desire or opinion held by the other.  The woman’s most recent fit of rage was incited by his refusal to buy incandescent light bulbs for the bathroom because she doesn’t like the way fluorescents make her naked body look in the floor-length mirror and she’ll be damned if she’s going to stand there and try to explain to him why the 40-watt for 11-watt tradeoff is not even in the same universe of importance as how she feels about the way she looks at 5:00 in the morning as she gets ready to go off to her unrewarding job and be chewed out by her superiors for things that are completely beyond her control.”         

            “And his response to this?”

            “He thinks he’s the one keeping his cool this time around (when, in reality, his patronizing tone and involuntary eye-rolling are just as belittling and damaging to her overall sense of worth as it would be if he was bloody-faced screaming) as he explains that cost-cutting measures like this are what are going to help them finally manage to stick to the budget that they set six months ago and haven’t stuck to for even one month since, and that the whole goal of committing to that budget in the first place was so that they could afford the mortgage and bills and her student loans on his salary alone, which would allow her to stop attending her unrewarding job.”

            “That doesn’t sound totally unreasonable.”

            “While it all sounds fine and good, she knows that the whole plan is a pipe dream because the catalytic converter in her Ford Focus is shot and the whole car smells like a carton of rotten eggs on the 4th of July and - even though he’s told her for the umpteenth time that the sulfur-y egg smell is not the catalytic converter and that all she needs to do is switch gas stations and fill the car with a higher grade of gasoline - she knows that it’s only a matter of time before the whole damned thing goes up in smoke and that means buying a new car and then it’ll be just one more loan to add to the list (and even if the car doesn’t go anytime soon, that high octane gasoline still costs money doesn’t it?) and all of the twirl-y light bulbs in the world aren’t gonna make a whole helluva lot of difference.”


            “So, she’s on the phone to her father day after day just looking for a sympathetic ear and someone with which to have a civil conversation that doesn’t involve any yelling or debating or complaining.  But that ends up being just another topic of debate since the man doesn’t think that it’s a good idea to be involving the father in every aspect of their relationship and he’s started to notice that lately he’s been the recipient of some pretty unfriendly looks from the mother at her family’s dinner get-togethers - not to mention her younger sister (which indicates that the grapevine evidently extends past the paternal level and further on down the old family birch, and so who knows who knows what?).”

            “What exactly is her parents’ take on the whole situation?”

            “They’re actually more understanding than their dinner-time countenances would suggest, which is most likely due to the fact that they’re aware, on at least a subconscious level, that the volatility of their own relationship has more than likely set the stage for some of this.  Father’s dabbled in infidelity, mother’s dabbled in scotch.  Garden variety U.S. of A. home cooking.”

“So what ever happened with the bathroom fight?  Does she get her incandescent bulbs?” 

“Yes.  He eventually caves in and buys and installs them.  He continues to use it to fuel further fights and each month, when the energy bill arrives in the mail, he wraps a dishtowel around his head like a turban and holds the unopened envelope up to his forehead imitating Johnny Carson in his Carnac the Magnificent role and pretends to be guessing the amount on the current month’s invoice, always estimating an amount that exceeds the previous month’s guess.  And now she’s the one rolling her eyes as she walks away and each day she grows less and less tolerant of his disrespect and wishes for once that he could put her feelings and desires and needs ahead of his constant need to feel like he’s right - like he’s the level headed one in the relationship.  And this sort of thing goes on, day in and day out, for several more years.”

“And then what happens?”

“They get married.”

© 2012 Dave

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Right. Well, they probably should, just to make it all proper. Sounds awful familiar, me being the practical thinker who loves the curly-cue. Very well conceived and written, but please, please find a few more periods. I actually feel short of breath.

Posted 11 Years Ago

Petty fighting, if done correctly, is an excellent stress relief, and if they get it right they may advance to the arts of marriage. Of course the pursuit of commitment and the agony of joint checking accounts is the ultimate test, and few make it to the finals. Your story captures the details of the primary minglings to the nth degree, though it seems to end with a big "why did they do it?" the body of the story reading backwards explains everything. Hmmm... well done.

Posted 11 Years Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on February 28, 2012
Last Updated on March 2, 2012




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