Wednesday, November 02, 2011

From the October 26 issue of The Oxford Journal

Gentlemen, if you’re going to ask the woman in your life the question, “Do you really think you need...?” don’t be surprised at the response. There’s only one reasonable answer to give you, and that’s The Look. 
Familiar, centuries-old, perhaps even genetically implanted, this  facial expression is a mixture of disbelief and disdain. It is usually followed by The
Word: “Yes.”
Shoes. Scarves. Hats. Magazines. Nail polish. Cookbooks. Cats. It doesn’t matter what the collection is, if it’s in a woman’s house, it’s important. If it means something to her, it’s unquestionable.  
My husband and I recently renovated our home and we are slowly putting the house back together now that the renovations are completed. The new kitchen is different than the old so finding places to put glasses and mugs and baking dishes is as much of a challenge as finding them once they are put away. Since cooking was a priority once we’d moved back in, all the boxes containing pots and utensils and graters and measuring spoons were unpacked first; the only boxes left to unpack are two boxes of  mugs. My mugs.
“Do you really think you need so many mugs?” my husband asked after I announced that my least-favourite mugs would have to go on the top shelf because I couldn’t reach it without a stepping stool.
I froze, mug in hand, and stared at him. This from the man who uses the same two mugs. This time, however, instead of giving him The Look and The Word, I tried a new tactic: The Explanation.
“Well, each of these mugs serves a specific purpose,” I began. “Some are for morning coffee, others are for afternoon tea. Within those categories, they are further subdivided into mugs for perked coffee or instant coffee, mugs for black tea, mugs for green tea. Of course, if it’s chai tea in the morning, it’s a certain mug, the one that matches my yoga mat since that’s what I’m doing when I drink that tea, BUT if it’s chai tea in the afternoon, I use  that tall brown mug there...”
By now, my husband’s eyes had glazed over and he had this strange half-smile on his face.
“You’re doing a great job, honey,” he murmured before stumbling off, shaking his head as though there was some strange buzzing sound inside it. 
I looked down at the mug in my hand. It was dark blue, picked up at a pottery shop in the Island a few summers ago, during a trip with my parents, before my father was too sick to go. It was a shame my husband walked away so soon. Every one of my two dozen mugs has a story and I would have gladly shared each one with him, over a pot of blueberry tea...which goes in the dark blue mug. 

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