So one of my girlfriends has recently re-entered the dating scene. She’s met a couple men who have been worthwhile but after a few dates she’s finding that she’s doing all the work. I was talking to her yesterday about a man she’d been dating for about a month and she was saying “if there’s a time to woo, NOW is the time to woo!!!” But there is no wooing going on. None whatsoever.
I have very high expectations for the men that have the privilege of dating my girlfriends. They are an amazing bunch so any man hoping to have any of them better make sure he’s ready to do some sweeping off of feet. Wooing is required.
I was talking with my husband about the need to woo. He was wondering aloud if wooing just doesn’t happen anymore. I was telling him that you don’t need to spend much money to woo. You can buy a card and a stamp, send a note saying “I’m having a lot of fun spending time with you,” and you’ve accomplished wooing for under five bucks. How hard is that?! It’s not rocket science.
Don’t you hate it when you give someone advice, or talk about how easy something is, and then six, eight, or ten hours later it dawns on you that you aren’t doing anything close to what you were just saying is SO EASY? Case. In. Point.
The Friday after this past Thanksgiving, my husband and I had a Come to Jesus discussion. We had spent the week painting the entire upstairs of our house and were returning home after our 348th trip to Home Depot. We had just stopped for a Diet Coke at McDonald’s (he was smart to make that stop before starting) and my husband said “I want to talk about something.” Sh-t. That’s never good. But, okay, we have always said we want to be communicative so that we don’t find out that one person is terribly unhappy after months of silence. Right? So maybe it’s not so bad. Then he continued with “you know I’ll love you until the day I die…” HOLY. SH-T. “…but…”
So my lovely husband proceeded to tell me that he was a little unhappy/concerned because I wear sweats every day. EVERY. DAY. I get home from work, change out of my cute work clothes and heels, and throw on sweats. Now, as an aside, I just want to be clear that the “sweats” to which he was referring are Adidas yoga pants, Puma or North Face fleece jackets, and running shoes. He told me that when we met I got gussied up to go out to dinner but that now I am in sweats all the time.
I was mortified, embarrassed, and sad. And then he said something to the extent of “so you dress cute, and then you find someone to marry you, and then decide it doesn’t matter anymore? Nice.”
I’m assuming all of you are either a) gasping for air after choking on your soda or, b) saying “NO HE DIDN’T!!!”
Oh yes. He did.
So much for my embarrassment and sadness…it was at that point that I climbed up onto my high horse.
- Oh, so my taking care of the little girls, the house, the puppy, all of that is INVALID just because I don’t dress CUTE anymore when we go out to dinner?!
- So what you’re saying is that you married me because of my CUTE outfits and that’s it?!
- You’re saying I’m a trickster because I got you to marry me by walking around the MALL OF AMERICA in FOUR INCH HEELS and I’m not willing to do that anymore?!
- So nothing else I do as a wife and mother is WORTHWHILE because I wear SWEATS?!
- ARE. YOU. F-CKING. KIDDING. ME?!!!!!
I was WICKED. PISSED. The next morning we had a house full of guests for our annual Christmas Tree Cutting Down Adventure and party. There’s nothing like entertaining all of our friends and their children when I want to rip my husband’s face off. Merry. Effing. Christmas.
I was so relieved when Monday came and I could get back to my office and further away from that dreadful conversation. That week I spent a lot of time thinking. I am a feminist. I am a strong woman. I don’t base my worth on my appearance. What the hell was this?! Not to mention, isn’t it GOOD ENOUGH that this man is LUCKY ENOUGH to be MARRIED TO ME (obviously)??? As I calmed down, however, I had to admit that he was right. I did dress a lot better when we were dating. I did come home from work, put on something cute, and head out to run errands and hang out. I did try to look good. And to be honest, while I don’t base my worth on appearance, I do want to look good.
The thing is, when we had a couple really awful years, a lot of that stuff went by the wayside because we were just trying to hold on. Once things got better, it was such a relief, and then we were focused on getting into a new routine as happy people. Despite us doing so much better, I was still dressing like I was in the midst of depression, without even realizing it. Furthermore, my husband was thinking that I WAS unhappy BECAUSE I was still dressing in sweats (again…to be clear…ADIDAS YOGA PANTS/PUMA JACKETS).
That shocked me. How could he not know how much happier I was?! I didn’t get it. The bottom line, however, was that it concerned and bothered him.
When my husband and I met we were the King and Queen of wooing. On our first date he brought me a slice of carrot cake (my favorite) when he picked me up. He used to text me every morning and say “good morning beautiful.” I used to leave him cards, buy him gifts, and I would send long emails about how much fun I was having dating him. There was no way either of us, from the very first date, ever questioned how we felt about each other because we made it blatantly clear by wooing each other.
As time has passed and we’ve been through the ringer and come out on the other side, we may have made it…but the wooing didn’t pull through. This morning when I thought about the conversations I had yesterday with my girlfriend and then with my husband, I realized that I have put just about zero effort into trying to woo my husband over the past year.
While that discussion wasn’t fun, and typed out it paints an incredibly unflattering view of my husband, it was necessary. I’ve always said I want an honest relationship that will allow us to be clear about where we stand and how we feel. Would I rather him get bitter about the fact that I look like I’m headed to the gym every single day? Or would I rather put some effort in and have him feel like I care about myself and about what he thinks.
More than that, if wooing is so EASY (according to ME), shouldn’t I be putting some thought into that as well? Wouldn’t my husband be more inclined to do things to woo me if I were doing the same? Probably. In turn, wouldn’t that make us both so much happier, and wouldn’t it strengthen our marriage?
TODAY: What if I try to woo my husband like I did when we first started dating? What if I encourage him to woo me by setting the example myself? What if just by wooing we could be even happier than we are now (and we’re pretty damn happy)?
PS – As an aside…I was cleaning my office today and I found a picture of my husband and I attending our youngest little girls “Reading Café” last Spring. The kids dress up and bring their parents a menu of several books they know how to read, we choose one, and they proceed to read it aloud. In the picture there are several other parents visible. Everyone in the picture was in work attire or relatively dressed up…except me…I was in sweats with my hair up in a messy bun. Yikes! Sometimes it’s good to have someone who will tell you the truth even when it SUCKS to hear it.
PPS – My husband thought it would be fitting for me to let you know that as I type this…I’m wearing sweats. I assured him none of you would care.