Thursday, May 14, 2009

Marriage 101, Lecture 288: They say it's your birthday, or, The boy who cried "Bee!", part 2

So SH was horrified at the idea of a cake at work. Work is work and not work is not work and never the twain shall meet, to the extent that it's like pulling teeth to get him to tell me about the customer who is going through the male to female sex-change operation. "What's s/he wear? Does s/he wear makeup? Jewelry? What kind of shoes? High heels? What's his/her hairstyle?" This is fascinating stuff and I want to know and all SH can remember is that they had this design issue on the chip. Next time, take notes, I tell him, and watch to see which bathroom s/he uses.

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Clarksdale, Mississippi, where Robert Johnson went to the crossroads.

I don't know if this not wanting the cake at work and not wanting a personal event to be public is a male/female thing or if it is just SH's personality. I took a cake to Juanderlust's, the artist formerly known as Harpo, work, and he seemed to be pleased. I think women like to get flowers at work or at least in front of their friends because much of the pleasure of getting flowers is that other people know you got flowers.

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Speaking of.

One of the best personal events made public I ever saw was when this guy proposed to his girlfriend at Jazzercise. It was during the transition from the dance section to the floor exercises and the instructor gave the microphone to a guy who had been standing in the wings. He was holding a rose and started talking about how if you saw this flower lying on the sidewalk you might not think much of it but if you picked it up you would realize it was perfect, blah blah blah.

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I couldn't figure out what was going on, then saw that the woman behind me, "Madison,"* was sobbing. She was always kind of bitchy** to me at Saturday breakfast when the group would go out after class***, so I thought, Yeah, if I saw you on the sidewalk, I wouldn't think you were special, even if I did pick you up.

But it was the perfect proposal: it was memorable and it was in front of all of Madison's friends, so not only would she get to tell them about it, they would get to tell her about it from their point of view. It was a completely shared experience that would grow into myth over time.

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She's probably divorced now.

But it was a great proposal.

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I think there were 20 Baptist churches in Clarksdale and one Catholic church.

* I hate that name.

** And she was dumb. She was a labor and delivery nurse. She was in her early 30s. Said she was going to wait until her 40s to have kids. I told her she might want to re-think that -- that fertility plummets after the 30s. Oh no, she said. She saw women in their 40s having babies all the time. I said she saw the ones who actually got pregnant, not the ones who didn't. She didn't get it.

*** I was working in Cedar Rapids for a few months and had made friends with a woman, Beth, in the class. She had invited me to the Saturday breakfast and Madison thought I was an interloper trying to steal Beth from her. I wasn't stealing. Beth liked me better. Besides, it's not like eating biscuits and egg-white omelettes and the Hy-Vee in Cedar Rapids is such an exclusive event.

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