Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The One-Two Punch of Ice Cream and Affection

Yesterday, sitting at my computer and breaking out all of my company's 2006 sales, I almost cried. No, not because I was sitting at my computer and breaking out all of my company's 2006 sales (although, that almost made me cry. Out of boredom.), but because of the damn Easy Listening station they play right over my desk.

Billy Joel's "The Longest Time" serenaded me while I transferred over miscellaneous sales. "Who knows how much further we'll go on / Maybe I'll be sorry when you're gone / I'll take my chances / I forgot how nice romance is / I haven't been there for the longest time." It was enough to make my eyes well up, so that I was forced to tilt my head back and fan my face to dry my tears, a style favored by the weepy girls on reality television.

It's never good when I start my day second guessing my entire life, and then being forced to listen to romance and breakup songs all day long. It does something to my psyche. Something horrible.

This is what caused me to be mad at Billy when he called to tell me he was on his way home, EARLY. Although he technically has one early day a week, his actually being able to leave work before nine rarely ever happens. It's like Halley's Comet, only more rare. So imagine my surprise when he told me he was on his way home and suggested we "rent a movie or something." I, of course, had it set in my mind that, if he should actually get off early, we would go out to eat, just the two of us, since the last three weekends have been packed to the gills with familial obligations on both our sides. So I was miffed at his suggestion that we stay in. But I didn't tell him that, naturally. I just huffed out "yeah, whatever" and chose to resent him for it.

Somewhere between his call and his actually getting home, I decided that I couldn't take my mood out on him. I didn't care if we stayed in or went out. I just wanted to see him. So I tried to pep-talk myself out of it before he pulled in the driveway. I managed to talk myself out of displacing my frustrations on him, but I was still foul. He, of course, knew something was wrong. I'm sure he suspected it on the phone, but I confirmed his notion when he actually got home: He came into the bedroom to find me laying on the bed, immersed in "Pleasantville" on HBO. He burst through the door, sporting his new sunglasses and a broad smile, and I offered a weak grin in return. He looked so cute, in his shirt and tie and big brown shades, but I just felt so blah. So I complimented his eyewear as he removed his tie, kissed him back when he kissed me, and said "nothing" when he asked me what was wrong.

The thing is, I hate being like that. I hate being the grumpy girlfriend, the mopey one, the glum one. But, sometimes, I just can't help it. And I know that, if I were to tell him what was on my mind yesterday, he'd offer me solutions. And I just didn't feel like hearing his suggestions. I know his intentions are the best, and that he cares enough to offer helpful advice, but I just didn't want to hear it.

There was an email that went around a while ago, Men's Rules. One of the rules (which were all numbered "#1") was "Come to us with a problem only If you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for." I had sent the email to Billy, and he laughed, citing how true that rule in particular was. Men, generally, do not understand the catharsis that is just bitching for the sake of bitching. He always offers me some option or solution when I tell him my problems, as has every boyfriend in my past, as does my father, as does my brother. It's a male thing. Women, on the other hand, just nod sympathetically and commiserate. That's what I needed yesterday. And I knew that if I heard him utter the words "Why don't you just..." I may have exploded. I thought it best to save both of us the Raging Bitch Session for the night, and chose to circumnavigate the issue altogether.

But I can't imagine how it must've felt for him. He tried so hard to get me to tell him what was wrong. "What happened at work? Did you have a bad dream about me? Did your friend do something? Are you tired? Is it your period?" I said yes to that last one, for two reasons. One, yes, as a matter of fact, I do have my period. And that, my friends, makes me irrational and emotional for no reason whatsoever. And, two, saying anything related to the feminine cycle usually forces those of the male persuasion to shut up immediately. They chalk up your foul mood to hormones and estrogen, and, anyway, they surely don't want to know more about your cycle than they have to, so they just accept it as is and leave it alone. But, still, he knew there was something bothering me. He must've known there was something beyond my monthly visitor, because my cramps and bloating and quick-draw tears are usually just the gateway to some other issue.

When Billy's had a bad day, and he's sullen and quiet, I automatically wonder if it's me. If I've done something wrong, or if I can do something to help. I wonder if he feels the same. He knew I wasn't happy. And I'm generally a very happy person, so it must be tough for him to watch me try to smile, force a laugh. He knows.

We went downstairs and ate some leftovers, and while we cleaned up, he asked me once again what was wrong. "It's nothing, Babe," I said, rinsing my bowl out in the sink.

He went into the freezer and pulled out our Ben & Jerry's Pistachio ice cream. "Well," he said, prying the top from the carton. "I don't know why you're in this mood, but I'm gonna try like hell to get you out of it." And he stuck a spoon in the ice cream, smiled, walked over to me and kissed me hard on the lips.

How can you stay grumpy with a man like that?


Cheetarah1980 said...

I have my period too. I feel your pain. A man who offers kisses and ice cream is every woman's dream. I want to be you when I grow up.

portuguesa nova said...

Great title!!

Save yourselves both a whole buncha' trouble and just follow up every problem you present to Billy with: ...But it's nothing about $40 won't cure.

Eypo said...

"Come to us with a problem only If you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for"

Just went through this, hehe, and remembered that you wrote about it...