Like oil and river water


‘We’re one crazy mixed-up couple’

They say that opposites attract. Well, The Dude and I have been married more years than most of you Dear Readers have been alive. Which is pretty amazing in and of itself. But it’s even more amazing given how, well, opposite the two of us are.

In fact, I’d call us bi-polar opposites, given that our differences often drive us crazy.

Okay, there’s the easy stuff. I’m coffee; he’s tea. I’m radio-on-in-the-car; he’s I-want-to-appreciate-the-silence. I like parties; he’s I’ve-worked-hard-all-day-and-want-to-crash-at-home. I like novels; he only reads non-fiction. (‘Why would I want to read something that someone made up?‘) I love art; he only likes art that looks like what it’s supposed to be and/or looks like it was very hard to do.

Pointe Hilton by Jack Mendenhall. Meets both The Dude’s criteria: looks like what it is, and indeed looks like it was very hard to do

And what is it with hot and cold? Has there ever been a married couple who agrees on the thermostat? There he is, in the dead of winter, wearing a tee-shirt and turning up the heat; I say put on a sweater — preferably one of the many I’ve knit for you.

Speaking of sweaters and clothing in general, I have to say that I have never met a man less into his wardrobe. Having once had a European Peacock for a BF (the ‘Walloon’ in my story ‘Yes, there are plenty of fish in the sea’), I find The Dude’s disregard for fashion rather refreshing. In fact, it’s one of the things I admire most about him.

His Dudeness sporting typical Weekend Wear. And his favorite Accessory

Except if, say, we’re going to a fancy party or a wedding. Then his disregard and/or indifference to even the basics — like which-color-goes-with-what — can call for some gentle intervention. (See ‘Clothes don’t make The Dude’ for colorful mismatched details.)

He was going to walk out of the house wearing a red tie till I intervened. “But it has little champagne bottles on it — it’s festive!

Oh, and speaking of going to weddings — or going anywhere for that matter. You know how there’s that cliche where the husband is always waiting by the door tapping his foot and looking at his watch while the wife takes forever to get ready? Well, it’s the other way around at our house. And then when we’re finally on our way, he has to go back at least once for his wallet/glasses/keys.

On re-reading what I’ve written so far, I’m thinking I’m sounding a bit shrewish. So let’s move on to some opposites that are a bit more, shall we say, positive? Like, I have The Dude to thank for the fact that we take some Absolutely Fantastic Trips. (See top photo for our opposite reactions to riding in a dugout canoe.) Left to my own devices, I’d pick European Cities With Great Art every time. The Dude prefers Tropical Wildernesses With Great Birds. (See any of my posts about Africa or Brazil or Panama, like ‘The Curse of the Potoo’) These usually involve one or more element of danger/excitement/physical discomfort/general scary stuff. Consider my horizons expanded. And my adrenalin triggered.

Our last City-With-Great-Art Vaca was in Florence, where we still accomplished Feats of Daring. Like climbing to the top of the Duomo

Oh, and when we go on these trips, my duffels and backpacks and suchlike are packed and organized weeks ahead and he’s all casual and “Oh, I guess I’d better get it together” the night before. And when we get there, our room (or cabin or tent) is always so split-personality. My side looks like I’ve moved in for good, with my stuff put away in the drawers and arranged on the shelves. His is the side with the much-rummaged-in bag sitting on the floor where he dropped it. Oh well, maybe he’s got something there.

But enough already with the carping about our opposite attractions. Let’s wrap things up with a mention of something The Dude and I absolutely agree on: these 2018 Olympics, at least so far, are booooring. I mean, how much curling can a person watch? You know things are bad when you turn to social media and actually engage in exercises like this one:

Thanks for bearing with me. Until next week, here’s hoping your Valentine’s Day is sweet, and rest of the Olympics just gets over with already so I can catch up with The Crown. (Which I don’t know if The Dude likes. But he probably wouldn’t, since there are no car chases in it. Or at least none that I’ve seen — yet.)

New York City. February 2018

21 thoughts on “Like oil and river water

  1. Life would be pretty boring if we married someone just like ourselves. We need our differences to keep things interesting. I enjoy cleaning. DW finds it stressful. DW enjoys dark chocolate. I enjoy white. DW wants to try ski jumping. I think she’s nuts. I want to jump from an airplane. She thinks I’m nuts. I, too, am jealous of all your travels!

    • Yes, couldn’t agree more, StomperDad! I cringe when I think what life would have been like had I married a Kindred Spirit. We’d be spending a lot of time on Amazon, but it would be the Marketplace rather than the River (!) Thank goodness for Attractive Opposites! (And thank you for your comment.)

  2. Mr. Maid and I are quite different too. We too differ on fiction vs. non, hot vs. cold, and ugh – the clothing issue! And just last weekend we were listening to a zydeco band at a Mardi Gras party at a brewery. Watching couples two-stepping near the stage I commented wistfully that my NEXT husband would like to dance!
    And small world – my nephew and his wife just posted pictures this morning from the top of the Duomo in Florence!

    • ‘Mr. Maid’ (!) Love it! Also love that I’m not the only one with an Attractive Opposite. Thanks (I think) for reminding me about dancing/not dancing. I long ago gave up and dance with other dancing-averse husbands’ wives!

  3. Elizabeth

    Another stellar post Alice! I’m totally with you on the whole wearing a t shirt and turning up the thermostat- put on a sweater! 😉

  4. “But it has little champagne bottles on it!“ Lolol. Noooo, that red tie gives off a red flag in taste.

    Ah. Opposites or no, it’s a wonderful thing to have a long, loving commitment to anyone. I wish you two a likewise wonderful St. Valentine’s Day. 🙂

  5. Unbound Roots

    Oil and water – yes! I had this very conversation with my best friend (we’ve been best-friends since middle school) just last week. She was upset that I didn’t join her at a family reunion or her son’s hockey tournament where they were staying at a hotel with the entire team. After she had calmed down, I explained how uncomfortable I would feel crashing her family reunion or an ‘away’ hockey tournament. “Those are times for your family to be together, and for the hockey families to bond.” Oh, and I said that my introverted personality probably plays into it big time. 🙂 She explained that she didn’t see it that way, that she was just trying to find ways to see me (we live 3 hours apart). But, then she apologized for putting me in an uncomfortable situation. She also explained that her husband feels the same as I do – which I always knew. Anyway, our conversation ended with our realization that our “oil and water” personalities are what drew us together in the first place. She is my crazy. I am her down-to-earth. So, in my opinion, there’s nothing better than finding the oil to your water. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your opposite. 🙂

    • Back at ya, Unbound! Yes, the more years I spend on this Earth I realize that the best partnerships are when the two personalities ‘mesh’ — that being the same and liking things the same isn’t always ideal. That we really need that frisson of difference to keep things interesting! xoxo

  6. Love how diplomatic and truly loving you are, Alice. The wardrobe for our dudes is a challenge. Recently got in the car, started driving to a rather posh place and then looked over to see what he was wearing. Best to check it before he leaves the house. Happy Valentine’s Day, wonderful Alice.

  7. I am the only person in America who admits to LOVING the Curling. More Curling!!! I even dragged my unsuspecting sister to the Nationals 2 years ago (they were held just outside of Phila) where I gushed over my Curling Crush, Pete Fenson. I did refrain from purchasing the fabulous Curling Stone Hat.

  8. Lisa Johnson Mitchell

    Oh I so loved this one! My husband and I are both very “ticky,” Mamaw’s word for “particular” so I can relate. I am crazy jealous of all your adventures all over the world! The Duomo pic is wonderful! We are celebrating five years next month (yes, I was the oldest living bride in Texas) and are headed to NYC for a quick weekend fete. Here’s to love – and all the hijinks it entails!

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