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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Valentine's Day Tip #1 - Just Say Thanks and Shut Your Mouth

For those of us living in the world of the coupled, we sometimes forget that most basic grace - good manners. The gift of good manners is often overlooked because for many couples, there develops a shorthand by which we communicate. Oftentimes, we're overtaken by the busyness of life - jobs, kids, aging parents, cooking, cleaning - and the first things that get cut are the "thank-you's". And once the thank-you's take a powder, it's only a matter of time before there is a complete breakdown in all of the elements that comprise good manners. In place of good manners, we develop  C.C.E., short for Crazy Couple Etiquette. C.C.E. can be a bit confusing to outsiders, and, depending on how long a couple's been together, it can transform the most benign situation into a  potential powder keg.

For instance, in the dating world, talking while another person is talking, and constantly reminding the speaker of details forgotten or disordered is considered rude. But it's perfectly acceptable in C.C.E.. Hell, they even give it a cute description, calling it "finishing each other's sentences."

So, in the spirit of Valentine's Day, and as a public service to couples and the innocent bystanders who spend time with these couples, I propose that we work together to drop the crazy, develop a new couples' etiquette. I'd like to hit the "delete" key on the following:

  1. Saying "we're pregnant" - Unless you're a sapphic couple who've both decided to be pregnant at the same time, this expression needs to go away. The one with the morning sickness, stretch marks, fatigue, and the baby growing inside of her is the one who's pregnant!
  2. Girls Night Out - This one vexes me. First, the people who usually use this phrase haven't been girls for a lot of years. And second, it supposes that in couples land, it's deemed a special circumstance for the female half of the partnering to spend time with her friends.
  3. The existence of "man caves" - You know, prior to man caves, the only other place where you had all of your favorite toys in one place was your play pen. This persistent narrative that men are like children keeps alive the myth that in every hetero pairing, girlfriend/wife = mommy! How the heck is that healthy, much less sexy??
  4. Purse as couple carryall - I must admit that am I guilty of taking a larger-than-necessary purse with me as my everyday accessory, but over the years, my husband's gone from pondering its construction to cramming it full of things. At the theatre, keys, cell phone, and eyeglass case are handed over to me as I am taking my seat. And now, this has extended to vacations, with my backpack loaded down with extra waters, knick-knacks purchased from street vendors. GET YOUR OWN BAG!!!

Now that I've given you all a starting point, let's hear what you'd all like to banish from C.C.E.! Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day, with your help, many more couples will live to see a bright future with Cupid:) I'm just saying!

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