Sunday, April 15, 2007

Worst. Day. Ever. (This Year)

I attended MArt's photo exhibit yesterday. On the way there, I:

1. Was groped on the metro.
2. Got off at the wrong stop.
3. Was followed by the assaulter.
4. Approached by the assaulter after I asked the ticket lady for a map.
5. Escaped from the assaulter; approached by another.
6. Waved for a cab who took me to the wrong address:
"I'm looking for an art gallery. This is a shoe store."
7. Dropped me off in front of a pawn shop.
8. Walked up and down the street in confusion.
9. Called MArt in hysterics.
10. Was told to look up because he could see me from across the street.

"Uh, what's your girlfriend doing over there?"

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Couplehood is for Dupes

MArt and I are going through a very rocky period right now. Very rocky. I broke up with him the day before Zoidberg died, but we made up 4 hours later. I was just so miserable by then that another month, week, day! with him would have been unthinkable. I still think about whether I should have used up another box of Kleenex and stuck by my decision. He was crying, I was crying, then our chameleon died - it was all simply too much to bear.

These last few weeks feel like deja vu. I'm miserable again. Well, not entirely, but I've offered to take myself off his hands again. He is optimistic that we can work it through and regularly calls my bluff. I have very little faith and even less patience. When I discuss this with friends, I'm categorically stereotyped as the "man" in the relationship: stubborn, distant, defensive, and argumentative. MArt, on the other hand, is a (self-described) nag, control freak, domestic Adonis, and expects me to "invest more in our relationship."

So his nagging leaves me cold which makes me more distant and eager to get away from his controlling tendencies that I begrudgingly defend myself against even though he'd like me to be more considerate and affectionate because their absence is fuelling his insecurities ... in the house that Jack built.

And now that I have a job (to further supplement my generous allowance ... and shoe habit), the role reversal is nearly complete.

I know MArt tries his best to please me. At the same time, I tend to also be the target of disappointment. "Stop ripping your lips!" he'd scold. "Don't use that tone!" There are other annoyances and, to me, they all seem rather innocuous. From my point of view, I think that if he says I'm perfect, he should accept my minor flaws. From his point of view, if they are so minor, why can't I correct them?

He calls me a flirt and accuses me of ignoring him when we're out in groups. I say I'm being friendly and we should be able to talk to other people in public. My mother would say this is a problem of perspectives and she would be right. For example, I use the word "argument" synonymously with "reasoning". MArt uses "argument" the same way as "dispute". I use the conjunction "and" to affix a similar or related thought to my former statement. He uses the word "but" to do so. This completely throws me off as I then interpret his assertions to be contradictory and lack discursive progress. These are just some of our linguistic differences that add fuel to the proverbial fire. Furthermore, he has a scientific mind so he's more vested in absolutes than I am, whereas I come from the school of rhetoric where truth is the result of persuasion. But we're both too bullheaded to ever be the first one to concede.

I blame this on our birth order. (Seriously.)

I'm the oldest child and MArt's the youngest child. When he's manipulative, I see through it. When I (try to) intimidate, he makes more of an effort to not budge. This dynamic locks us into a predictable pattern.

Dear Ann,

Is this relationship headed for Doomsville or will these wrinkles eventually smooth themselves out?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Married Life (1912) - Roger de la Fresnaye

I am writing this as MArt sleeps in the next room. A lot has happened since my last entry, so good luck hoping for brevity.

My boyfriend spent March 11 with my parents, eating dim sum and doing errands. It was nerve-wracking for everyone. MArt entered the minivan like a hostage with Stockholm syndrome. My parents looked over their shoulders and resisted the urge to glare. "Happy birthday," they murmured. "Shit," I thought, "like lamb to the slaughter." My mom had insisted MArt join us for breakfast and now this? I tried to make small talk while envisioning unlikely scenarios that could arise from my dad's suddenly erratic driving. MArt sat there with his legs slightly apart, gently squeezing my hand for reassurance (more for me than for himself). I looked at him and mouthed: "I don't think they like you." His face fell. No, no, I didn't mean it that way! But it was too late. He knew: "It's because I'm white." The silence was palpable. I could've sworn I saw my future carved in there somewhere. Then my parents started talking in Chinese. The horror! They could have at least done the decent thing and snickered behind MArt's back, you know, in front of him (which would have proved to me he was being acknowledged). Instead, MArt was forced to listen to their animated conversation about the bloody real estate market (which would've sounded the same to him as, "Go home, cracker").

15 minutes later, we all got out of the car. (Okay, so it only felt longer.) I told my mom to ask MArt some questions about himself. "Like what?" she replied. I don't know, his favourite colour? "We are not children, Lily," she laughed and sighed. It was then I realized, silly me, my parents weren't racists - they were shy! MArt got along fine with them in the restaurant. He managed to pass both my mom's "chicken feet" test as well as my dad's "Canadian Tire" scavenger hunt challenge, which meant eating Asian animal appendages and locating screws and cables at my dad's favourite hardware store. Although my parents didn't talk much about MArt afterwards (which is a good sign because it means they don't dislike him), my dad did enthuse about MArt's exceptional manners. Success!

***

I went on TV to promote a journalism workshop my university was holding for the public. Except, I had to speak in both Cantonese and Mandarin. I guess that's one of the perks of being one of two Asians in a liberal arts program.

*UPDATE*
The host of the show asked me whether I'd like to work as a research assistant with the possibility of being an on-air "reporter" in the future. I think I will decline the offer since it's a volunteer position (and frankly, I'm overqualified for something she thinks I'd accept simply because I'm a student). Besides, I'll be working at a shoe store this summer. That's right, bitches! I recently started working at a boutique to help me with my French. The owner hired me for my looks more than my language skills, but c'est la vie - whatever will prove to MArt I'm not as spoiled as he thinks. (Full disclosure: I've only worked for my parents' retail business and in journalism-related positions, so in essence, this is my first ever paid job.) Mmm ... money. How exciting!

***

MArt and I might be moving in together by June. One year anniversary in just over a month. He is still smitten. Don't know what I'm doing right. Until next time ...