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Green on Red

Emily Flake

By Mink Stole | Posted 8/4/2004

Iím 23 years old and have been a vegan for six years, but I have plenty of friends who arenít. Actually, most of my friends arenít. Iím a pacifist and a member of PETA, I avoid leather, and the idea of creating ďfashionĒ from dead animals nauseates me. Iím not preachy about it, though, feeling that Iím far more eloquent in my behavior than I would be if I pitched a fit every time somebody I know ordered a cheeseburger. I entertain a lot and my friends respect my beliefs, so, although they know that dinner at my house wonít include any blood, they come anyway and we always have a good time. But a couple of weeks ago a friend brought her brother, who is my opposite in every way. To be polite he left his leather jacket at home, but he owns guns, hunts, and belongs to the National Rifle Association. Heís also gorgeous and has a great sense of humor, and, although it kind of horrifies me, Iíve got a huge crush on him. Am I crazy even to think about dating him?

Conflicted and Attracted

No, CAA, youíre not crazy. If you had added, ďand he thinks George W. Bush is our smartest and best president since the late, great Ronnie Reagan,Ē it would be a different story, but as it stands youíre still well within the limits of sanity. Gorgeous is gorgeous, and so far youíre only dealing with his ďothernessĒ in theory; you havenít actually seen him kill anything. The toughest thing about mixed relationships is learning to accept the otherís point of view as valid, no matter how different it is from your own and dealing with the inevitable jolts to your sensibilities. He might not have any trouble with your veganism, and youíre tolerant of meat eaters, but how are you going to feel when he wants to bring home a dead deer?

If the attraction you feel is mutual, of course you should date him. If youíre squeamish about your physical reaction to someone whose values seem so different, try thinking of it as an opportunity to explore another point of view. It would be narrow-minded and discriminatory to dismiss him out of hand before you got to know him better. Just because you have some pretty fundamental differences doesnít mean you might not have some other, also important, things in common. Imagine how much happier the world could be if instead of hating and fearing our diversity we could all learn to reserve judgment for at least the time it took to share dinner and a movie.

 

For the five years before we got married, my husband and I were best friends. Now weíve been married for four years, have two great kids, ages 2 and 3, and have a big problem. My husband can only be happy if the house is spotless. If itís the least bit untidy he turns into a major crank. And he blames me. I admit I have a much higher tolerance for the messiness of a family of four, but Iím not a slob. He works long hours, but I have a full-time job, too. And when I get home, Iím tired and want to spend some downtime with him and the kids, not whip out the vacuum cleaner. My husband helps with the cooking and the dishes, but I do just about everything else, including shopping, laundry, etc. I told him if a clean house was so important to him we could hire a maid, but he wonít hear of it because he says he doesnít want a stranger intruding into our lives. I love him, and heís still my best friend, but sometimes I think he cares more about the house than he does about his family.

Not so Squeaky Clean

Your husband, NSSC, is either completely delusional about what it takes to make a household with toddlers run smoothly or heís a bully. Or maybe heís a little obsessive-compulsive. Whatever it is, what I have a hard time understanding is why his vote on the subject carries more weight than yours. A manís home may be his castle, but that little doodad between his legs doesnít give him the right to play king to your scullery maid. Even if his salary is bigger than yours, you contribute plenty to the household in paid (and a lot of unpaid) labor and you should have equal say in how things get done. And unless you stand up for yourself, this situation isnít going to get any better.

Something tells me, though, that this is one of those easy-for-me-to-say scenarios, and that itís a lot easier for you to take the blame than to make a stand. Iím not a big fan of spousal deception, but since youíre in a canít-win position already, maybe you could hire a cleaning service without telling him. Agencies in most cities use bonded, licensed professionals who just want to get in, get the job done, and get out, without snooping into your private lives. When he starts to notice how much better the house looks, you can either fess up or take the credit. If thatís too scary, you could offer him a deal: If he canít accept how much you can do, either you get a maid or you both get some counseling.

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Pick and Choose (4/12/2006)
First of all, homosexuality isnít like snake handling or Catholicism; it isnít a cult or a religion you can be recruited for or converted to.

Territorial Rites (4/5/2006)

Family Guy (3/15/2006)

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