Whenever somebody asks me how long I’ve been with my wife, my stock answer is: “Too long.”
Twenty years might seem like a long time, but if you were married to my wife, you’d realize that it easily feels like forty. Not that I don’t love her! There’s nothing I love more than Leila, except for, possibly, my children. And The Walking Dead.
My wife can be challenging. Not that I make it easy for her. As surprising as it might seem, I am far more challenging to live with than she. But I don’t have to deal with my own bullshit.
If you single out just one of my wife’s annoying imperfections, you’d think I have it made. It’s when you put them all TOGETHER that you begin to see the hell I live in.
Example: No shoes are to be worn in our house. Ever. I vehemently disagree with this rule. I love wearing shoes. Feet kind of disgust me. And having to tell every friend or guest or 95-year-old grandparent that he has to take off his shoes to enter my living room... it’s humiliating. Which may, in fact, be my wife’s plan. I thought becoming an adult and moving out of my parents’ house would allow me to do crazy shit like wear my shoes inside my own house. I was wrong.
That’s just one example of many. Like having to wash your hands every time you enter the house (even if you’ve just walked outside to grab the mail). The dishes MUST be put away immediately! Then there’s the situation with her toes (you’ll have to trust me on this one).
While my deficiencies far outweigh hers (just a perfunctory glance at my photo will make that obvious to you, but I can also be a slob, incommunicative, irresponsible, the list goes on…), I will say that I try to walk a very fine line with how far I can push her with my own bullshit. It’s a constant tap-dance to get away with as much stuff as I can, while still making sure that I wake up next to her.
Why do I tap-dance? Why do I let her humiliate me? Don Draper would think I’m the biggest wussy in the world! (I used the word “wussy” here instead of “pussy” because as I was writing that sentence, I heard my wife’s voice inside my head saying that the word “pussy” might alienate some of my readers, i.e. her.) So why do I put up with it?
The answer is that she would have a MUCH easier time “trading up” than I would. And she proved this in our third month of dating. It was a genius move. And one that still has me awe-struck.
It was a Friday night. We were out having a couple of drinks with friends at The Cat and Fiddle (a pub in the heart of Hollywood). I had probably had one too many Appletinis.
SIDE NOTE: One of my other annoying imperfections is that I love to drink girly cocktails. Usually after ordering my Fuzzy Navels or Lemon Drops, my wife likes to follow up with the waitress, inquiring whether my drink comes with a tampon.
Anyway, I was a little drunk, and in a moment of inflated self-worth, I suggested to Leila that perhaps we were “moving too fast” in our relationship. We had only been together for a couple of months and we already spent nearly every night together. I suggested that maybe we should consider dating other people while our relationship grew.
Leila smiled. “Sure.”
And she got up to use the bathroom.
I was on cloud nine. I get to still have sex with my hot girlfriend... AND I get to continue chasing other young ladies at the same time. Win-win for me!
It was a while before I realized that Leila had not come back from the bathroom after fifteen minutes. I was probably too busy scoping out some of the women I might consider hitting on later. But my Cosmopolitan was on empty so I hit the bar to refill.
And that’s when I saw Kevin Dillon. He wasn’t yet the popular Entourage actor that he is now, but I still knew him from Platoon and The Doors. He was making out with a curvy brunette on his lap.
It was Leila. My now-wife. After swallowing his tongue for a few more moments, she glanced back at me with a curt smile and a shrug. “You said you wanted to see other people,” she said simply.
It was a Machiavellian maneuver that accomplished EXACTLY what she had expected it to. When we got back to my apartment, I admitted that I had completely “rethought” my plan of us dating outside our relationship, and if she would only re-consider, perhaps she, too, would like to become monogamous.
She had checkmated me so quickly that I barely had time even to fantasize about all the girls I was going to have sex with.
Now... I blame Kevin Dillon for not being able to wear my shoes in the house.