Posted by: bestoffair | February 27, 2010

Men are Socialized on Mars, Women are Socialized on Venus

My husband, the most wonderful and caring man in the entire world, and I had a fight last night.  He wasn’t expecting it.  Oh no.  He thought he was just expressing his disappointment with having gained three pounds and his wish to eat healthier.  I tried – o how I tried – to shut down this line of convo before it got out of hand, but one of his worst (and best) qualities is that he does not let me sulk and so fight we did.

You see, I am normally in charge of meals at our house.  However, I just had ACL reconstruction a few weeks back.  I thought, especially with the surgeon’s instructions that I was supposed to eat very healthily (the way we normally do when I cook, focusing on whole grains and vegetables), that Husband would step up and figure shit out for just a few weeks.  He did not.  The couple of times he cooked anything, it was after I begged him to and, indeed, found recipes.  He tried to be a good caretaker.  He did try.  But somehow all that men seem to pick up about caretaking is the right words to say.  They don’t learn the actions associated with good caretaking.  (Note that, in the four weeks until I was mobile enough to deal with this on my own, the floors got cleaned one time – when my friend came over and felt sorry for me because I had to sit on that nasty floor to do my therapy exercises.)  I told him I’d been longing for a wife the past few weeks, not to be gay with but to take care of me.

It is still very hard for me to be on my feet for a long time.  Cooking requires being on your feet a lot.  So does grocery shopping.  I can go to the smallest grocery store, but I can’t wander.  I have to get right down to business and even then, by the end of the excursion, I am hurting.  This is now, 6 weeks after surgery.  Husband protested that, with a list, he would have been thrilled to go to the store at any point.  I had to break it to him that with the residual effects from the pain pills, I was in no position to figure out what I needed for a good 2-3 weeks postop, let alone give him explicit instructions.  Had the positions been reversed, I would have seen that he was incapacitated and taken care of it.

So why the fight?  We’ve been eating VERY unhealthily for the past few weeks, since surgery.  I have not had a choice.  Some days I would eat all three meals from fast food places, simply because they had drive throughs and it was easier for me to get to the car and drive there than it was to figure out assembling a meal for myself out of the meager ingredients in our kitchen.  I have not had a choice about eating healthily because at this point I have had very little ability to take care of myself.  Husband has had a choice.  He did not wish to exercise it and is now abdicating the responsibility of his choices – to me!

And so we fought.  We raged.  He understood why I was upset.  It made him sad because he thought he was trying to take care of me.  I told him I don’t blame him (I truly don’t), that I blame our patriarchal society.

We kissed and made up, and will eat healthily moving forward, as long as he can deal with figuring out meals, etc.


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