I woke up this morning wanting to stab my husband with a dull butter knife, on account of a dream from which I had just jerked awake. In it, Kent and I were at home and I was cooking in the kitchen and his cell phone rang and he sat in the living room and chatted on the phone with someone that was obviously a close friend, and as I listened, the conversation seemed less close-friends-joking and more flirting-private-jokes and I asked him, Hey, who is that? and he looked at me with irritation and went back to his conversation, laughing with the other end of the phone, and I kept asking him who he was talking to and he finally covered the mouthpiece of his phone with his hand and told me he was talking to Christina, his friend from school. He went back to his conversation with Christina and laughed and laughed and whispered and chatted and my dream-self began feeling the acid green churning of jealously and anger bubbling up inside me, and I started gesturing to Kent that I wanted him to get OFF THE PHONE and to help me in the kitchen and to STOP FLIRTING WITH CHRISTINA THAT FUCKING WHORE, even though in the back of my dream-head, my dream-self was telling my unconscious-but-real-self that There Is No Christina. Kent kept getting more and more irritated with me, and as he got irritated with me, he got friendlier and friendlier with CHRISTINA THAT FUCKING WHORE and I got the clear idea that the two of them were laughing at me, and my dream-head was trying to reassure my dream-self that she is just a friend and he is allowed to have female friends and it doesnít mean anything, and then I heard what sounded like Kent making plans to meet CHRISTINA THAT FUCKING WHORE at the museum the next day, and my dream-self got REALLY pissed and started begging Kent to get off the phone and insisting that it really really really isnít okay for him to go to the museum with another woman, and the more I insisted it wasnít okay, the more he looked at me like I was crazy and like OF COURSE he can go to the museum with another woman, and that Christina really wanted to see an exhibit and he wanted to take her, and then I started freaking out, saying BUT THATíS A DATE YOU CANíT GO ON A DATE WITH HER, SHE JUST ASKED YOU ON A DATE AND NOW YOUíRE PICKING CHRISTINA THAT FUCKING WHORE OVER ME. And finally Kent got off the phone, smiling and apologizing to CHRISTINA THAT FUCKING WHORE and when he clicked shut his cell phone, he just shook his head at me and walked away, and the awful burning jealousy had bubbled up even further in my belly, and I took his cell phone and started frantically clicking through his contacts and Recently Received Calls, looking for HER number, and I finally identified it, just as Kent was coming back into the room and he saw me with his phone and got angrier, and I was trying to dial her number and kept fumbling with the buttons and eventually closed myself in the bathroom so I could dial in peace, and as I was trying to get through to CHRISTINA THAT FUCKING WHORE I kept getting a busy signal, until finally she picked up and I introduced myself and then I started yelling at her and calling her a whore and telling her it is NOT OKAY to ask my husband out on a date and at that point, my dream-self already felt like she was sinking because by calling CHRISTINA THAT FUCKING WHORE and yelling at her and calling her names, my dream-self became exactly the kind of Crazy Jealous Wife that no woman ever wants to be. And the voice on the other end of the phone just laughed at me, the Crazy Jealous Wife, and told me that she understands my husband better than I ever will, and that if Kent wants to be with her I have no reason to get in the way. They are just friends after all. I hung up the phone and walked out of the bathroom, where Kent grabbed his cell phone and saw that I had called CHRISTINA THAT FUCKING WHORE and got mad at me, worried that I had upset Christina and hurt her feelings. Then I woke up.
As far as nightmares go, it was non-violent and had a minimum of scary monsters, but it was still pretty gross; I woke up feeling sick, and angry, and also wanting to stab my husband with a dull butter knife. Itís noon now, and I am just starting to loose that angry feeling, even though he didnít technically do anything wrong. Or non-technically, too, I realize. Still, I had that awful dream! And he was so awful to me! And wanted to take some other woman to the museum! And acted like I was crazy for having a problem with that!
I donít know who set the rules or when they changed or how flexible they are, but while I have no issues with men and women being friends with the opposite sex regardless of marital status, I do have a problem with my husband wanting to spend the afternoon at a museum with another woman, albeit an imaginary dreamed-up one. I would never describe myself as the jealous type, at least not romantically (am much more likely to take issue with husband choosing work over me than to worry about him flirting with his assistant), but the idea of him with CHRISTINA THAT FUCKING [imaginary] WHORE made my blood boil, and perhaps my subconscious was creating a person to represent my fears that Kentís career will take precedent over our relationship, or maybe it created a person to represent my fears that if he ever had to choose between his mother/sister and me, heíd pick them (Uh, hi, issues much?), or maybe my subconscious was just telling me, DAMN GIRL THAT BITCH TRYINí TO STEAL YOUR MAN. Whatever the reason, I woke up less on the wrong side of bed and more on the crazy side of crazy.
I work in retail. This means I work with 80% other women, 19% gay men, and 1% IT guys. My circle of friends is largely married or otherwise paired up, and the men I am friends with are mostly the other halves of my girlfriends, or the fags to my hag. I used to have many guy friends, only some of whom inspired fantasies about the occasional make-out session. Somewhere between college and marriage I lost my platonic male friends, and the unspoken rule seems to be that while itís fine to maintain relationships with the opposite sex after one is married, initiating NEW friendships with the opposite sex, especially when that opposite is single, is not so much allowed. Of course, your spouse can't ever come out and say, No, you CANíT be friends with that nice guy you met at the gym, or NO, you canít go for a bike ride with that girl from your office. Your spouse can instead count on the fact that even in relationships where trust is strong, you would probably feel kind of naughty meeting your friendís husbandís charming and single college roommate for a glass of wine after work one night. Even though wine and conversation is benign. Even though you will keep your clothes on. Even though you are no oneís property and even though you are woman hear you roar, and even though you are allowed to be friends with whomever you want. Even though.
Work Wives/Husbands are different: we all have those people at the office who play the surrogate romantic role between the hours of 9 and 5, and the flirting is casual and easy and safe and understood and allowed. Well, you all have your Work Wives and Husbands; I work with all women so am celibate in the workplace. But work-flirting is allowed. So is flirting and hanging out with the partners of married and dating friends Ė I know my husband emails and chats with my friends and it doesnít bother me at all; if he ever made a comment about me chatting or emailing too much with one of my friendsí husbands I would open a big olí can of YOUíRE NOT THE BOSS OF ME on him.
But itís different when your partner initiates a friendship with someone of the opposite sex, isnít it? Or am I crazy? Iím not above admitting that I could be way off base here. Am I one of Those Wives, the kind you see in a movie played by someone like Joan Allen or Elizabeth Perkins, the kind who drive their husbands into the arms of Penelope Cruz or Charlize Theron on account of being such shrewy bitches, the kind who made their husbands want to be with someone less conventional, someone who will go with them to the museum in the middle of the workday and then blow them in the cab on the way home, someone like CHRISTINA THAT FUCKING WHORE?
So, uhÖNew Yearís, huh?
Iím not a superstitious person (no, just CRAZY because I got mad at my husband for something he did IN MY DREAM), but it has been suggested to me that the way you ring in the new year is indicative of the year to come. That is an idea I can get behind, and maybe part of it is a self-fulfilling prophecy and maybe another part is all how you look at things, but regardless, I am very glad that I awoke from the Christina Dream on January 2, not January 1. When the clock struck midnight of December 31, I was at a party with my friends and I kissed my husband and I had no worries weighing me down beyond remembering to bring my camera home when we left the party. January 1 was a day without arguments or illness or crazy dreams or injury. We slept really late. We went to the movies. We read a million magazines. We texted our friends. We drank a lot of coffee. We talked a little about resolutions and a little more about where we thought weíd be when 2007 made its appearance. We rented a crap film from InDemand. We lounged. We were happy.
What were you doing at midnight?