Blogger's note: Ya'll wore me out yesterday. We now return to our regularly scheduled program.
There are many, many things I adore about being single – flirting without repercussion, picking the movie I actually want to see, and considering a splash of water and ChapStick plenty of make-up for the day. But as the thermostat begins to dip a little, I do realize that there is a significant valid upside to coupling up. Clearly, not just any one gets invited to make up the other half of the Chele-sandwich… I have my prerequisites. In this continuing review of what Mr. BnB should bring to the table, I thought I'd add this next one.
Requirement #7: Cornerman. Boxers have one, everybody needs one. That dude who cheers you on, pumps you up and believes in you 200%. He is down for TeamChele. Guys who understand that the better they make you feel about yourself, the better you will make them feel. When a woman believes a man is truly in her corner and won't let her down, she will go above and beyond to show her appreciation. Whether it's as simple as him saying, "You are wearing the hell out of those boots today" or as deep as, "No one makes me feel the way you can." Sincere appreciative waving of the pom-poms is an invaluable strategy to keeping a woman happy and making her less likely to harp on the fact that you are genetically incapable of remembering to put down the toilet seat. Easily said, the more a man is down for TeamMe, the more I'm down for TeamWe. And now, a BougieTale to illustrate my point.
Not so long ago, I received a call from a girlfriend of mine in the San Francisco Bay Area. We'll call her Rose. I met Rose while waiting in line at a Cheesecake Factory near Stanford. We were both waiting on dates. She ended up marrying hers; mine was kicked curbside before they brought out the cheesecake (inappropriate under-the-table groping, long story, moving on!). Rosa and I became good friends, she introduced me to the church I adored there and I was a bridesmaid (for the umpteenth time!) in her wedding to Chad. This was twelve years ago. She and Chad were that couple you looked at and went, "Aww." They finished each other's sentences, they held hands just walking from room to room, they consulted each other on decisions great and small, they attended church together, they were young, good-looking, employed, ambitious, spiritual, deeply in love and now they are getting divorced.
I don't know which of us was more devastated, her when she told me or me when I heard it. I knew they had been having problems for a while (about two years) but with counseling and prayer, I thought they'd pull through. Funny, she said the same thing about me and one of my exes. "No matter what was going on, I kinda always figured you two would end up together." "Yeah, well – what happened with ya'll?" I countered. I'll share a short version of her side of the story.
About three years ago when they were thinking about having kids, Chad lost his job. For those not in the know, Cali is no place to be jobless. She was fine with stepping up and was careful not to share too much of her worry about their finances, knowing he was doing all that he could. She told him they should hold off on having kids until they were back on a more stable financial footing. He wasn't happy but agreed. Eighteen months into his joblessness, she started feeling like he wasn't putting as much effort into his job search as he could and suggested that he take a less "sexy" job at a lower pay rate just to get his foot back in the door. A huge fight followed and from that day forward, they fell into a passive-aggressive sniping match.
Instead of telling her that he didn't want to take a step down, he took a lower paying less prestigious job. Of course he hated the job and blamed her for it. He started criticizing her. Everything she cooked was wrong, she gained ten pounds and he harped on that. So now she was not happy at home, she started staying at work later. He accused her of cheating with some dude at work. Faced with the constant accusations, eventually she did cheat. Then he cheated in retaliation. From the outside looking in with the 20/20 hindsight, you can see how one toppled domino led to another and another until they basically destroyed the foundation of their marriage. Their counselor said it was a case of neither of them being willing to cheer the other on regardless of circumstance.
I spoke to Chad a few days later, he was less sad, more bitter. He felt like her tip-toeing around his feelings when he first lost his job and then making the decision not to have kids showed a lack of faith in him. He checked halfway out of the marriage there and then. He said the pastor told them at their last session that they had used words like bullets and had shot each other until the wounds were too serious to be repaired. At the end of the conversation, he asked me the exact same question that Rose had: What would you have done differently?
I held my peace with both of them but of course in my "never married wisdom" I had a million and a half opinions on where they went wrong, what they could've done differently. What good comes of my post-game analysis when they are both down and suffering? I agree with their counselor. They forgot that they were on the same team, working towards the same goal. They forgot to prop each other up instead of tear each other down. So while I'm reviewing the wish list of requirements for Mr. McYummy, I believe I'll add down for whatever, completely into me with brilliant communication skills. Jeez, reviewing the list - am I gonna have to build this guy from scratch?