posted by Joe Anaya on June 11th, 2012

At brunch with friends, my wife declares, “Mating for life is hard.” She expounded on her hypothesis with this gem, “In the old days, people only lived to be 50, so by the time you got sick of them at 40, you figured ‘What the hell, I only have 10 more years.” I know exactly what she means. I’ve had moments where I’ve wondered whether I could take it another minute let alone another 30 years. (Our thrice divorced contractor once told me, “They say women live longer, but I think it’s husbands trying to get away from their wives.”)

In fairness, it was after her 3rd mimosa. And she was trying to assuage a single gal’s anxiety over having never been married or even having a long-term boyfriend in the last decade. Usually, such pearls of wisdom come out after a little alcohol and with a playful squeeze of my knee under the table. She just loves to give life-advice, usually free-of-charge and at my expense.

When lecturing our niece about putting too much emphasis on having a boyfriend she recalled, “I had a great life when I was single. A really great life.” The point being lost on our niece as she glanced uncomfortably at me. So, I throw out, “And your point is?” My wife then explained how she was happy being single, so she I didn’t need a man to make her happy. She didn’t have the urge to get into a relationship unless a man brought something extra to her life, something she didn’t already have.

Was that a back-handed compliment or a fore-handed insult?

While listening to a bachelor friend bemoan his poor luck in even getting women to agree to a date, she lectured him on his choice of infatuations, typically they are way too young and stunningly attractive. The kind of attractive that would seem right at place hanging on George Clooney’s arm. While our friend is not unattractive, he’s no George Clooney. She told him, “Your standards are too high. You have to settle, look at me.” She acknowledged her faux pas with a dismissive wave, “You know what I mean.”

I know what she meant. She has talked before about how she wouldn’t have picked a sensitive, creative type, who challenges her beliefs, and tells her when she’s wrong and certainly not someone who writes publicly about their private life. But she found a man who brings something extra to her life she didn’t have alone and despite the rough patches, the good always shines through. I do know what she means; I’m just not going to tell her that. I like bringing it up and embarrassing her, as well as telling her with a wink and a squeeze of the knee, “I love you too.”

File Under King of the Castle