Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

September 15, 2009

A Roomful of Faces

First allow me to set the stage.

A crowded living room full of my mom's friends -- many of them the Yenta ones I've told you about before. Everyone's sitting in a circle, my mom at the head (it is her birthday party after all). Next to my mom is an empty chair and next to the empty chair is a woman with a warm eyes and a stack of books to sell. Every 5-8 minutes, someone from the circle gets up, walks across the the circle and sits down in the empty chair. All of this so the warm-eyed woman can stare at them for a few minutes and read their face.

Yep, face reading. That's what my mom wanted to do for her 70th birthday party. And when you make it to 70 (and look as good as my mom does once you get there), you get what you want.

It turns out that my mom's friend knows the Face Reader who - as she told us many, many, many times during the session - has been on over 50 television shows like Tyra Banks and even The Young and the Restless (seriously). She also has a credible health care background and has studied the science (it is actually one) of face reading for many years and worked with law enforcement, corporations, the FBI -- anyone that might want to find out about someone without actually asking them. (It's similar to the guy that the TV show "Lie to Me" is based on, except that he reads "transient" emotions - the ones that tell you what they're thinking or feeling in a split second - and she reads the actual face - eye shape, nose, hairline, ears - all of which are supposed to reveal traits about your inner self. Here's some information I found that might explain it - but don't hold me to it.)

So we threw a potluck party and invited a select group of people who might be up for having their faces read in a festive setting. Interesting and entertaining. Generally a good party idea.

Wine Guy was invited and, naturally, I volunteered him to cook one of the main dishes. I was tasked with scribbling down notes during each person's reading since it goes by in such a blur you hardly remember a thing. I was so busy writing that I hardly had time to ruminate about the fact that both Wine Guy and I were going to have to sit there and have our faces read in front of everyone, Yentas and all.

I could tell that Wine Guy was excited about doing it, being a trained astrologer and all. But the second he made his way to the empty chair, I heard a distinct tittering among the group. [Disclaimer: It was at this very moment that the potential embarrassment of what was about to happen hit me. And it hit hard. Irrationally hard. So understand that I am writing about how I was feeling at the moment - whether it was accurate or not.]

The Face Reader knew WG was my boyfriend and, being the only unmarried couple at the party, this presented a great opportunity for her to talk about romantic compatibility as seen through facial structure. Totally understandable. The very first thing she says when his butt hits the chair is that we should definitely get married. Just. Like. That.

It's all a blur after that. I recall that everyone burst out laughing and that my mom and my overly obnoxious brother Pat-hole took the opportunity (as usual) to holler their exasperated agreement. I think I said something like "I'm trying!" and attempted to smile, all the while cringing inside and wondering how mortified/pissed/irritated Wine Guy might be feeling.

Then she started saying something about how the most compatible couples have a 70/30 match of facial features (70% similar, 30% dissimilar) and that Wine Guy's and my facial features totally line up. Well that was nice to hear. If only I wasn't dizzy with embarrassment while I was hearing it.

The rest of what she said about Wine Guy is also a blur (I have to consult the notes I was able to scribble down for him) but I know her comments were accurate and that she thought he had an interesting face (handsome, if I do say so myself).

A few more people had their turns and then it was mine, second to last. I sat down in the chair and looked into the Face Reader's eyes, praying I would be spared further embarrassment. [Refer to previous Disclaimer.] She looked at me deeply for a moment and then, very kindly, looked up towards Wine Guy across the circle and said firmly and with utter confidence, "OK. You need to marry him."

Huge burst of raucous laughter. I'm know I'm laughing too, because I'm relieved to hear this. But at the same time I'm dying. Again, brother starts hollering. Mom starts with her comments. I believe I even turned around and literally put my hand over my mom's mouth at one point. Wine Guy was laughing and seemed fine but it didn't matter. I was in full scale freak out mode.

When I realized the crowd was not going to simmer down right away, I tried to wait it out. I remember sitting there staring at the Face Reader, who was clearly taken aback by this reaction (it was sort of like a burst of energy the second she said it). I quietly said to her, "I'm just going to sit here and let it pass." I think I repeated that a few times, like a chant, as everyone let it out of their systems.

When I think about it now - after I'm all cooled down - I really don't understand everyone's hysteria. It's not like Wine Guy and I have been together for a decade or something. Yes, they all know that I am ready to get married and that I've had marital mishaps in my past -- but I just don't see why everyone feels they are perfectly justified in shouting out their opinions about my personal relationship. Especially during a moment that's supposed to reveal some insights into me - not just my relationship.

But I can hear my mom's voice now as she's reading this (even though I asked her to stop reading my blog - but really, that ain't gonna happen), "But we all just want you to be happy. We know getting married is what you want and we want it for you too." I totally believe that and now, in hindsight, I know that that their reaction was entirely out of love and good humor.

But at the time, and for the remainder of the party, I was pissed off. I felt like my face reading time was ruined by their heckling and that my mom and my brother were completely out of line. I was sure that Wine Guy was mortified and even less likely to propose to me now that this had happened.

While having cake a little while later, the Face Reader pulled me aside and asked, "What that was all about?" I tried to respond but, honestly, I was still so flustered I think I didn't make much sense. I said something like, "Oh, it's my family just making inappropriate comments about my life." Then Pat-hole walked up and began to declare his position as only Pat-hole can, "Baby Sister (that's what he calls me), Do You Want To Know Why I Said --"
Before he could continue (when he asks a question like that he doesn't really care if or what you answer) I shouted , "No! I don't!" and stormed off. Again leaving the poor Face Reader confused.

On the drive home I let it out to Wine Guy. Mostly I wanted him to know I didn't approve of all the "pressure" that was being thrust at him. It would have been nice if I'd said something like, "I hope you didn't feel uncomfortable during the face reading." Alas, I never say what I should - especially when I'm upset. Instead, my emotions just came pouring out in a flow of negativity and slight hysteria. (I know. I'm a real catch.)

Apparently, readers, I am really good at hiding my feelings because Wine Guy had no freaking clue how upset I was. And, to make me feel even more ridiculous for letting it all out, he responded angrily that I must be completely insane for feeling negative about the situation at all. Now I'm really confused.

So, wait. Not only was I wrong in how I interpreted this entire event (not unusual) but that Wine Guy was, in fact, perfectly fine with all the marriage joshing. Tell me if I'm crazy (well, I am. But only address this last sentence when you tell me) but when a guy knows you are waiting for a marriage proposal, and he knows your mother, brother and all your family friends are waiting too. And this kind of thing happens. And you think it's all in good fun?

Well, unless Wine Guy is a total sociopath with no empathy for other sentient beings (uh, I fell in love with one like that before - Naval A-hole - so I'm not being sarcastic) -- he must actually be realistically considering it.

Wow, it was a long and unnecessarily painful road to get to that happy realization wasn't it?

So on one side, I'm choosing to see this as a really positive sign from Wine Guy.
On the other, I clearly have some massively unresolved issues that have completely obliterated my ability to read a situation.

I'm seeing the shrink on Friday.


September 9, 2009

And Seal it with a Tupperware Lid

I realize as I write this blog entry that I'm going to make Wine Guy look like a saint. From the little he has read of this blog, this is what he dislikes the most - that he comes across far better than he actually is. I don't disagree with this. In fact, I often wish you all knew the non-saintly things WG does every single day. Like clip the dead skin on his heels in the dining room. Or ask me for the millionth time "Guess what?" just so he can reply "Chickenbutt."

But, alas, I made a promise to myself (and to him) way back when I first told him about this blog that he need not worry - this blog was about ME. Not about HIM. So I try to keep things limited to how I feel, react, agonize, analyze over things in my life. Yes, they often relate to him, but I try to keep my bitching about him specifically to a bare minimum. Why should he have to be any more careful than a boyfriend of someone who doesn't have a blog (does anyone not have a blog anymore?)

So, back to Wine Guy's sainthood.

He left this morning to visit his parents in Texas for a few days. Over our 2+ years together, we've been apart quite a bit, but it's usually me that goes out of town for work or to visit friends. He's a bit of homebody.

Last night I had plans with a friend that left me only about 45 minutes to eat at home before I had to leave again. He volunteered to cook dinner for us and have it ready by the time I got home from work. Wine Guy loves to cook but he doesn't do it as often as either of us would like. We tend to eat out during the week. (Bad, bad, I know). So this was a nice little domestic surprise.

By the time I came home he had the sumi salad made (our new favorite) and was grilling spicy asian chicken. As usual, everything was delicious but it wasn't until I got home later that night that he really surprised me.

"Here's the leftover chicken," he says as he holds up the Tupperware before placing it in the fridge. "Don't forget to eat it while I'm gone." I'm notorious for forgetting what we have to eat in the house since I very rarely cooked all those years I lived alone. As far as I'm concerned, a refrigerator is for keeping your drinks cold.

Another Tupperware container. "And I made tons of the sumi salad so that should feed you for the rest of the week."

Wow, OK.

Another, bigger container this time. "And I cut up that pineapple so make sure you eat that in the next day or two."

Hey, I got no problem with that.

"Oh, and I forgot. We've got that leftover mushroom polenta I made this weekend." He then proceeds to explain how to reheat it in the pan with a little oil.

He continues to rummage through the refrigerator finding more goodies to keep me fat and happy. Marinated mushrooms. Balsamic chicken. Leftovers from the long weekend.

I was relieved knowing I wouldn't have to scramble for lunch and dinner the rest of the week. And I was wishing we did more smart cooking and eating like this when Wine Guy was actually going to be in town.

But then I remembered. This is how Wine Guy tells me that he loves me.

He's not the most affectionate of guys. He often needs to be prodded for a welcome home hug. Sometimes I will grab his hand while we're walking and force him to hold mine for a few minutes. I remind him to tell me that he loves me. After awhile, all of this can make me feel a little neglected.

But then he does something like this and it's like a swift kick in the rear. I remember that he's not a typical guy. That's why I love him. So I have to love the atypical ways he chooses to show that he loves me too. And for a girl that likes to eat, I have to say this is a pretty good alternative to public displays of affection. No?