Monday, January 17, 2011

The Last Straw.

They say that all divorces (breakups too, I would imagine) are caused by two things, sex and/or money.  I think we all know that sex and money may cause some of the splits out there, hell, a lot of them, but that generalization obviously overlooks some of the other core ingredients that can lead to a couple’s disbanding.  In so many movies, television shows, books and whatevers, there is always that one awful personality trait (disorder) or behaviour that happens after the whole sexymoney thing and then becomes the straw that breaks the camel’s back (you know, like, when the dude bangs some secretary floozy at work and the wife finds out and forgives him but then it’s the fact that he walked through the house with shit on his boots n’ shit that makes her flip out and leave him).  

Allow me, if you will, to go through a few of the reasons that I have seen that, to me, are definitely grounds for divorce / breakup / walkout / explosion, and could eventually become the proverbial straw, if you let it.

Cleaning tends to make people unhappy as it is, but cleaning up after someone else is even worse.  Of all the things that need cleaning, I would imagine that dirty dishes have caused the most breaking points.  I’ve compiled a list of the worst types of dirty dishes that you can leave unattended for an unsuspecting spouse or partner who is about to do the dishes.

- Bowl of oatmeal (it honestly seems like you will never get all of the crusty dried oats off the bowl)
- Saucepan (when the warm water hits it, it literally smells like if someone puked whatever the sauce was into your face and nose and mouth)
- Soaked food (like when the person puts a stack of plates into the sink to “soak” and when you come by later to wash the stack of plates, there is a forgotten slice of toast or pizza crust left on one of the soaked plates that has expanded to the size of your head and feels a little like dog barf)
- Milk glass (seriously I can’t fucking reach the bottom, and it’s all covered in some kind of milky white milk film, I guess I could just throw it away)
- Egg remains (not just bits of food like the above mentioned fiasco, but I mean a bowl in which eggs were scrambled, but now, there’s a ring of dried up egg yolk around the bottom)
- Grease, in a bowl, frying pan, or wherever (especially when it has congealed into a weird sort of waxy puss)
- Certain spatulas, potato mashers, and miscellaneous kitchen utensils (everyone has that one kitchen utensil that they hate cleaning, that never feels clean, like your arch nemesis of dishes... if your partner uses it and leaves it for you, why, that’s just one big slap in the face)

Sadly, dishes are not the only things that need cleaning.  The following scenarios have certainly brought on arguments as well.  Follow me as I discuss the possible tipping points.

Scenario: “Oh yeah, well when was the last time you vacuumed?”
Tipping Point: After finishing vacuuming, they press the button to bring the power cord back in, and it whips them in the shin/testicle/face/breast.

Scenario: “I guess I’ll take out the garbage, again!”
Tipping Point: The garbage bag leaks brown, possibly chunky, garbage juice onto the person’s bare foot, somehow.

Scenario: “It just seems like I’m always the one scrubbing the bathroom down.”
Tipping Point: When placing the toilet brush into the bowl water, somehow water shoots up into the cleaner’s face (mouth and nose included).

There are many other scenarios in the bathroom, like leaving the toilet seat up and someone falls in, someone gagging after fishing the hair out of the bathtub drain for the millionth time, and of course, the dreaded floor piss.  The only real solution I can see to any of these problems is to possibly hire a maid.  Also find a home with a dishwasher, and maybe a urinal.

Food gets us into a lot of trouble too.  Avoid eating like a disgusting pig in front of your partner.  Also, never eat the other person’s leftovers without getting a written and signed document stating that permission has been authorized to eat the last two slices of Meat Lovers.  If your partner has put any effort at all into cooking, recognize the effort and resist the urge to say things pointing out any flaws.

Meat loaf? More like Shit Loaf.”
“First time cooking this?  Tastes like it.”
“What?  Seriously are you trying to kill me?”
“I’m pretty sure it’s not supposed to taste like that.”
“It might have been good if it wasn’t FUCKING BURNT TO A CRISP.”

And so on and so forth.  Maybe a solution would be to hire a chef.  

It seem like most of the above mentioned things stem from laziness.  Laziness is a huge factor in these combustible unions.  Notice there is always one person who gets the door, or phone?  The first time that they say “I’ll get it” they say it with genuine love, and a desire to allow the other person to remain in their comfortable position.  By the twenty hundredth time, the “I’ll get it” has a certain sarcastic tone, as if to say “Oh, don’t worry, I’ll get it, don’t trouble yourself” or even sometimes a more sadistic “I’ll get it AND KILL YOU WITH IT!”  My solution to this is that nobody gets it, or maybe just hire a butler to get it.

A badly timed fart or bathroom break can definitely get you into some heat (no pun intended), but I’ve already discussed that (see: 7 Levels of Conversation) so there is no need to revisit it now.  But it brings up a valid point: Communication.

First things first, avoid the backhanded compliments.

“I love you in that jacket, you look less wide.”
“Great soup honey, I haven’t thrown up in my mouth yet.”
“Looks aren’t that important to me.”
“Really, I don’t mind that you’re stupid, I kinda like it.”

Never tell anyone that their breath smells bad either.  It’s always insulting, but can be especially insulting in certain contexts.

“I love you.”
“Your breath really smells.”

Instead, try a more subtle approach.

“I love you.”
“Gee thanks, say, let’s go brush our teeth!”

See, now you’re doing something as a couple.  Success!

My last point about communication is to avoid all conversations in cars.  They are never worth the effort and have a tendency to go sour, usually because the driver does not give the full attention to the passenger.  Heaven forbid I should focus on the road!  FUCK!  Larry Miller did a great bit on this last summer when I saw him with my wife.  We talked about it on our drive home, until we got in an argument over which is better, Shish Taouk or Shawarma.  I guess you should just hire a driver. Also, the answer is, Shawarma.

Although, now it seems like solution-wise we’ve thought of hiring a maid, a chef, a butler and a driver.  I guess all we need is a nanny and we have a typical Hollywood marriage, and we all know how well those marriages work out.  Back to the drawing board I guess.

Anyways, the first time that any of these things happen, it’s usually more of a “the honeymoon is over” kind of a moment.  But after the twelve millionth time you’re making up miscellaneous reasons to hit the store. 

“Honey, we’re out of milk” says the dude as he is pouring a half gallon down the toilet.

Certainly everything mentioned here is only the tip of the iceberg, but better to at least know what the tip looks like before the whole damn Titanic sinks into oblivion.  Maybe just try laughing about these things.  Laughter is, as you may know, the best medicine.  Also stop hogging the fucking blanket.

That’s it.  I’m going to go kiss my wife now.


  1. Great advice. I personally come across the food in the sink thing with the lady friend all the.

    In general, she is probably a little neater then I am but for some reason her sink habits are awful. She'll always leave scraps of food in the sink - or my favorite, the half-eaten bowl of cereal. And we have a garbage disposal.. just rinse it down! I don't really get it.


  2. This, dear friend, is awesome. I hate doing the dishes. Let me rephrase that: I HATE doing the dishes, for all of the reasons mentioned, especially the piece of toast or pizza that's all dog barfy. Ugh. And the sauce that does, in fact, smell as though someone has thrown up on your face.

    I'll keep all advice in mind. Thanks for the tips.

  3. you kiss your wife? Well hello Mr. Lardy Darr fancy pants romantic! stuff that for a laugh, you can't spoil them!

    I like to use the backhanded compliment "Wow - you look really nice TODAY - WELL DONE!"

    I have essentially remained married due to my wife's determination to prove her Mother wrong about me!

  4. "meat loaf? more like shit loaf," are the words my boyfriend used the first time he landed me in the sack. what an hilarious coincidence!

    i'm also a complete sucker for "do the dishes or i'll kill the dog," and "when you clean the house like this, i can almost tolerate your presence here."

    you're absolutely right. communication is so key.

  5. Having a conversation go sour in the car is the worst...especially when the driver gets angry and kicks you out of the car miles from home :-P

    Nice blog! New follower here, saw you ran marathons and I was instantly on board :-)

  6. I've nearly broken up with myself a few times over dirty dishes.

  7. :)
    Given your testicular vulnerability maybe it's time to invest in a protective cup?

    There's a great book: "How separate bed, bathrooms and kitchen sinks save marriages" by Prof. I.M. Single.

  8. Outstanding blog! Only now I'm afraid to go to bed. I hope she's asleep......

  9. Marriage is indeed messy. So is what's under the sink in the bathroom but I still need to get under there sometimes. (This is starting to sound like some sort of naughty metaphor.) Anyway, here's my point: I agree that laziness kills marriage too. And now I better go clean the bathroom.

  10. Brilliant blog, very good reading instead of working! Instant follower here.

  11. @SD: The half eaten cereal is as bad as otmeal if you let it sit long enough for the milk to evaporate. YUCK.

    @Paul: I think the sauce is the one I hate the most. Tomato sauce is SO GROSS.

    @Glen: That is an EXCELLENT backhander... come to think of it, my wife says that a lot...

    @Kage: Totally did not expect that, god damn hilarious.

    @Christine: THANKS! That's the first time that running a marathon has brought me something other than hurting legs and bloody nipples! I gotta write about running one of these days.

    @Chris: I totally left myself for a dishwasher in college.

    @A&G: You'd think I'd learn after so many tags, but no, I don't. I need a cup that won't look too obvious though... I'd hate to walk around looking like I have a perma-boner.

    @Al: THANKS! Feed her turkey and wine, that usually does it. With Nyquil. And Horse Tranquilizers.

    @DBS: You're right... I need to stop procrastinating too, and finally go and take care of Firday's skid mark along the bottom of the bowl.

    @Kim: THANKS! I also enjoyed writing it instead of working!

  12. Your comment over on Nari's blog seemed pretty perceptive, so I stopped by your blog, which seems very perceptive. Great post - glad I wandered into you!

  13. The bathroom thing bothers me most. My feeling is, I'm not your goddamn mother and there is absolutly no reason why I should constantly be cleaning your piss off of everything. I mean, sure if it had to do with some sort of kinky ... well it doesn't so that doesn't matter. Either sit when you piss or clean the urine off the wall once in awhile.

  14. Food scraps in the sink are the worst ever. I'm not married, but I grew up with a mother who didn't believe in dishwashers. And was also the family cook. Every wash a pot big enough to make rice for 30 people? NOT FUN.

    Also, "“I love you.”
    “Gee thanks, say, let’s go brush our teeth!”

    Perfection. You'll be married forever.


  15. Let's see, I've been through a few relationships and marriages and have been married 20 years this time. Husband #1, charming but lord what a hopeless slob (we are still friends), husband 2 (wanted tons of sex but had no money, bleh), 2 major relationships, neat freaks, nothing got crusty or soggy in the sink and they didn't want me doing any house work cause I didn't do it good enough. Now I don't give a crap about all that stuff anymore; got a great guy with slob habits like me and HE AIN'T going to change. I accept that now, and on occasion I half heartedly try a fizzled out harp at him, get distracted by something better to do and just let it pass. Kindness, tolerance. Loved the read, you are a funny person.

  16. @Tatty: Perception is one of my strengths, unless we're talking about haircuts, because I usually don't notice those.

    @Knight: THE WALL!?!?! Maybe there's something wrong with his wiener. In any case, sitting is comfy.

    @Lorraine: Nasty leftover bits of rice expanding to a huge size and looking and feeling like little maggots? Yummy.

    @Basque: Thanks for sharing! And for the lovely compliment! Anyways, sounds like you got it right this time round :)

  17. Am I the only one who caught the Mad Mission reference?!?! Maybe your wife should give you the third degree Kodyjak style.

  18. I don't think Mad Mission has the global reach that we know it should.