Monday, April 6, 2009

Romance, mystery and the common cold

Every generation seems to have its version of advice on how to enhance romance. In the 70s, there was Marabel Morgan's Total Woman, which basically advised women to be a combination of biblical helpmeet and Playboy bunny. (Joan Rivers tried the suggestion that wives wrap themselves in Saran wrap and nothing else, and lie down on the kitchen table, and her husband's reaction was, "What, leftovers again?") In the 90s, there were The Rules, telling women to play hard to get and never to admit how much money they made. And these days you can find hundreds of books recommending that a wife turn over all the finances to her husband because "it's too hard for li'l ole me", even if she's the primary breadwinner.

But in between all the more lampoonable advice you can usually find some more reasonable suggestions, and what pops up most often is "preserve some mystery". In other words, you'll be more alluring if you don't let your husband see you putting on makeup, tweezing your chin, or squatting on the toilet. Which sounds great in theory, although between our hectic lives and my nice-Jewish-girl body hair, if I never let Scott see me grooming, we'd never finish a conversation. But the idea is good, and I vowed to start being a bit more reserved and mysterious, until I came down with a whopper of a cold.

It was bad enough that my husband got to see me wheezing, sniffling, and shuffling around the house in a fog, not to mention my oh-so-attractive watery eyes and red, swollen nose. (Why can't I ever get sick in a pale-yet-alluring way? I remember sharing a cold with a college roommate, and we dragged ourselves out to watch the Hitchcock classic film, Notorious, in which Ingrid Bergman's double agent character is dying from being poisoned, and she looked even more beautiful, especially compared to our haggard appearances, which made us feel even worse.) Oh well, we both swore to love & honor each other in sickness, not just health, and he was remarkably sweet, asking how I was feeling, fetching me hot tea, and ignoring my richter-scale-loud sneezes.

But then there's the matter of Kleenex - warning, this is about to get graphic, so if you're squeamish or lack a sense of humor, switch over to a scrapbooking blog or youTube videos of stupid cat tricks - anyway, it's not just the used ones that pile up on the bedside table but the ones in use overnight. See, I don't know about the rest of you, but when I have a cold, my nose drips all night, unless I employ a tissue as a dainty little barrier (those of you with good imaginations are thinking, please don't go any further here!). Anyway, that means I end up sleeping with an odd white protrusion from my nostril, as if I wasn't already unattractive enough with the aforementioned red nose (and does anyone else also get major chapped lips during bad colds?)

Scott, bless his heart, never said a word (maybe because during my last cold, he teased me and I burst into sleep-deprivation-induced tears), and if I didn't love him madly already because he thinks Nicole Kidman is too skinny, this would've clinched the deal. (Who knows, maybe Nicole sleeps with a weird face mask or something else even when her husband is home from tour or rehab?) Meanwhile, I'm mostly breathing clearly again, so tonight I plan to re-establish myself as a woman of mystery. No sran wrap or baby talk, but I will floss my teeth and bleach my arm hair in private.

No comments: