Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Great Moments in Marriage

A funny story from J.G. at Eternal Recurrence.

Reminds me of "Great moments in marriage," tho.

Here's one: We are at a party, full of Duke glitterati and people from the Durham community, with a lot of visitors from New York thrown in. A little over my pay grade, or at least over my cultural scale of conversation.

At our table of ten, other woman tells story of getting married in Catholic Church, though she wasn't Catholic (hubby-to-be was, is, VERY Catholic). Had to do classes, make promises, etc.

My wife says, "Oh, we had to do that, too! I'm Catholic, but Michael isn't. And something funny happened to us, didn't it, Michael? Tell them!"

I stare at her, say, "Okay...." and then tell this story.

We had to go to classes, and take a test for compatibility, before getting married in 1986. After three weekend (I was commuting down to DC from Dartmouth, in NH) meetings, we had the final debriefing. The priest kept shuffling papers. Then, he turns red, and just blurts out, to me: "Have you told her about your problem? Don't you think you should? It will matter for the marriage. And I'm not sure the church can sanction this union."

I was fairly hung over, as I had been for many of these Sunday a.m. at 8:30 meetings, since we always went out the night before. Thinking quickly, I said, "What?"

It took him a while to work up his courage, making guttural sounds. Finally, he said, "Your problem....the problem with your....(bright crimson bald head now, on priest)....your IMPOTENCE!"

[Apparently, in one of the questionnaires, not really paying attention, I had answered that "YES", I was impotent.]

[This was funny, in part, because Donna had direct evidence, about 7 hours earlier, that I was actually NOT impotent, at least not when I visited her.]

So, she starts giggling, and pretends to cough. I stare at the priest, and mumble about being sorry, I must not have been paying attention. He is mortified (NOTE: How can a celibate priest give advice on sex and marriage, in the first place?) We finish the meeting very quickly, and get the blessing of the church, once it turns out I can make the girl pregnant, so she can do her Catholic duty and reproduce like a wild rabbit.


So, I finish telling this story at the party, and there is hilarity. Good job, I'm thinking to myself, way to be a good dinner guest.

As soon as it quiets down, my wife, who is looking pure daggers at me, says, "My GOD, Michael, not THAT story!"

After we get home that evening, I spend the rest of the night in husband purgatory, teetering right on the brink of husband hell. And I'm not even Catholic!

EPILOGUE: I have no idea what story she actually meant, by the way. When she starts speaking to me, I'll let you know. Should be no later than the end of January.

UPDATE: Anonyman wrote this in comments, but it deserves light in the post itself....

Nice story. Of course, you could have had the exact opposite problem, as I did (no, not impotence)at a recent "holiday" party at my signifcant other's office. I showed up, on time for once, got us drinks, and joined her talking to a group of women from the office. I had given her the drink I retrieved for her and remained there as a dutiful husband. I then proceded to spend the next half hour listen to women discuss not only their own birthing experiences, but those of other women they had known. I stood there motionless, thinking I was scoring points by not leaving, not laughing (at the wrong things), and not vomiting over everyone's shoes. When we finally left, I sat silently in the car waiting to receive my praise for being so polite and well mannered. After about 10 minutes of stony silence I couldn't take it and asked her if everything was OK. To my surprise I was severly rebuked for "just standing there" and "not contributing to the conversation". When I pointed about that I had no "birthing stories" to share, and it was all I could do to keep myself from being sick as I stood there, she told me I should have made somthing up rather than just not say anything. So mm, next time just make it up, it's better than telling the wrong story, or saying nothing at all.

3 comments:

The Unknown Professor said...

I guess some people would rather feel impotent than be impotent.

Anonymous said...

Nice story. Of course, you could have had the exact opposite problem, as I did (no, not impotence)at a recent "holiday" party at my
signifcant other's office.

I showed up, on time for once, got us drinks, and joined her talking to a group of women from the office. I had given her the drink I retrieved for her and remained there as a dutiful husband. I then proceded to spend the next half hour listen to women discuss not only their own birthing experiences, but those of other women they had known.

I stood there motionless, thinking I was scoring points by not leaving, not laughing (at the wrong things), and not vomiting over everyone's shoes. When we finally left, I sat silently in the car waiting to receive my praise for being so polite and well mannered. After about 10 minutes of stony silence I couldn't take it and asked her if everything was OK. To my surprise I was severly rebuked for "just standing there" and "not contributing to the conversation". When I pointed about that I had no "birthing stories" to share, and it was all I could do to keep myself from being sick as I stood there, she told me I should have made somthing up rather than just not say anything.

So mm, next time just make it up, it's better than telling the wrong story, or saying nothing at all.

anonyman.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

Are you sure your wife doesn't read the blog?