Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Opposites attract...and annoy.

I think I may have mentioned that Bing and I are almost complete opposites.

Well, we agree on a few really key issues: we share the same politics (liberal) and the same religious ideas to a certain degree. I am far more liberal than she is, though, and she is sure there is a God, I am not.

But, honestly...that is about it.

Some days I am just astonished that we can love each other as deeply as we do, stay together. I was talking to my bff, Harriet, this morning and she told me that Bing and I remind her of Allison and Joe DuBois from the television show, Medium.

"You even resemble them physically..." she said.

Well, I watched that show last night and I can state right here and now that I do not have beautiful big breasts like Patricia Arquette, nor do I have her youth, psychic nature, or beauty. I did see Bing in the character of Joe a lot, though.

Bing and I have so many differences:

Movie likes and dislikes.
I kid you not when I say that while we both love movies, we both have very different tastes in them. I sat through Ironman last weekend and thought it was incredibly boring and stupid. Bing was riveted, on the edge of her seat. I was half pouting, because it was her turn to pick and I really, really wanted to see this instead and knew it wouldn't be staying long on the prairie. Liv sat in between us, she is not a big movie fan, in general, and she fell asleep. On the way home, Bing kept going on and on about how fantastic the movie was and I sat there thinking my god, it was so incredibly boring...how could she even like it?

We started taking turns picking movies when it became painfully obvious that we were never, ever going to agree on them. I distinctly remember watching The English Patient and Out of Africa and nearly weeping with joy at how incredible they were while Bing sat next to me looking as if she were undergoing root canal. And all those Arnold movies about The Terminator? I was rolling my eyes and yawning through virtually all of them while Bing wouldn't even listen to me when I made rude comments about how lame the dialog was.

We have liked a few of the same television shows and movies, but usually because they satisfied both of us in some big way. We both liked The Wire, Six Feet Under and The Sopranos, we both really like Dexter and Battlestar Galactica. We both like the Harry Potter movies and Star Wars ones.

But, otherwise, no dice.

Food.

Bing eats like the athlete she is. She is a runner and eats her fruits and vegetables. She rarely eats meat or pasta, will crave ice cream about three times a year tops, and can say no easily to any and all desserts.

If I wasn't diabetic, I would be a junkaholic. I am forced to eat well to live but I don't enjoy it and I sneak a cookie once in awhile. I am also addicted to coffee. When Bing isn't home for dinner, we have grilled cheese sandwiches a lot, or oatmeal. Cold cereal. Deli sandwiches. Bing makes meals. Eggplant quiche. Big healthy salads loaded with avocados, tomatoes, peppers and cold chicken. She likes to grill in the summer and she and Liv have the salmon while they put a burger on for me.

Exercise.

Bing is a runner. She runs every morning come rain or come shine. She works out nearly every day or else mows the lawn, she takes a yoga class twice a week. She throws around phrases like what she bench presses, warm up exercises and body fat index. She runs in marathons, does sit ups while watching television and loves going for solitary bike rides alone on warm summer evenings.

I walk the dog. That is it. I can run if Liv is about to be hit by a car or something, but that is it. And I do my exercises for my knees now that the physical therapist bullied me into, but the key is that I truly hate doing them.

Clothes.

Bing irons her jeans. There. Her filthy little secret is out. She always looks put together. Even when she mows the lawn in her shorts and tee shirt, she may sweat like a pig, but her clothes come from a drawer where they have been sitting folded neatly. I have seen her wear a dress once and it wasn't pretty. She has several business suits for when she gives presentations at seminars, etc, but they are all pants. And they are all dry cleaned and pristine. She sleeps in long johns in the winter and boxers and a wife beater in the summer and she folds them up neatly each morning and puts them back into her drawer to be retrieved at bedtime. She carries a Tide To Go Stick with her at all times and knows how to use it. She has humiliated me in public more than once by whipping that sucker out of her jeans pocket and dabbing at me with it when I manage to spill something on myself in a restaurant (which is a common occurrence.)

Me? I can put myself together well for work. I have several business suits that get a lot of wear and several nice skirts and blouses. But, in general, I am sort of a sloppy dresser at home. I tend to like peasant skirts or at least big swirly ones and wear them with bulky sweaters in the winter and sleeveless tee shirts in the summer. I wear jeans sometimes but I don't iron them. Ever. While Bing has her socks folded in color coordinated balls, mine fly around in my dresser drawer free and easy and when I am in a hurry, I have to dig for a match. This is why I often end up with one navy blue sock and one black one. I am inattentive to socks. I don't iron at all and sometimes my clothes look a bit rumpled. Bing calls this that messy, Stevie Nicks gypsy girl thing you have going on. I call this being comfy. I am not neat and tidy looking. When we go out, Bing looks like a well dressed lesbian and I look like a messy peasant girl that she picked up on some dirt road.

She admits that she finds this a bit sexy when she isn't being bothered by the fact that I bunch up my nightgown in the morning and shove it into my drawer.

We have opposite neat/sloppy preferences.

This one is sort of hard to explain. Let's just say that even though Bing is a tidy dresser and has a thing about color coordinating towels and folding them just so and obsessively shining up faucets and cannot STAND crumbs on a counter, she is basically very, very sloppy. She leaves her mail, her school things, her keys, her sunglasses, her tools all over the house willy nilly. She starts projects (like our bathroom which was started over a year ago and is still unfinished) and then loses interest and wanders away.

Now, I am her opposite. I am a tidy person. I do not like the sunday paper to be strewn all over the living room floor for days. I like a tidy house. But, in saying that...my closets are messy, I miss a lot of crumbs on the counters and I am a creative towel folder. I basically fold them up hastily and throw them into the closet. I sort of throw silverware into drawers when they come out of the dishwasher. Bing lovingly seats spoons one on top of the other with precision.

We are like mirror images of the other. What is important to her is unimportant to me and vice versa. We drive each other crazy. Bing will ask me why I can't stack all the vegetable cans together in the cabinet. Is it that hard? It makes it easier for us to find them when we cook. I will ask her if she could please PICK UP THE GODDAMN SUNDAY PAPER ALREADY. IT IS FUCKING WEDNESDAY, OKAY? PICK IT UP. And hey...while she is down there, could she please do something with that radio that she took apart and left all over the floor?

Our biggest difference, though, is our personalities.

Bing is a very calm, unflappable person. She doesn't get emotional very easily, is pretty even keel. She is annoyed by chatty people. She does get angry but when she does, she blows up and it is over. Poof. Five minutes of yelling and then she is over it and it is behind her.

I am not emotional either. I tend to be rather cool and aloof. But...I am not particularly calm. I have been told that I am a "type A" personality. This basically means that I am right all most of the time and I think everything should be done my way. I am very sentimental, too, but I hide it from just about everyone. No one needs to know that I bawled at each and every tooth that Liv lost. No one needs to know that sometimes when Bing is sleeping, I need to take a strand of her hair and kiss it.

When Bing and I argue, she tends to let her anger out and then she is done and is ready to fuck. Put it behind us.

I hold a grudge. I seethe silently. I let her vent and then sit coldly staring at her and when she asks me if I'd like to respond, I roll my eyes and shrug, tell her no.

And then she tries to kiss me to make up, and I nearly jump out of my skin and tell her to take her cotton pickin' hands off of me. THIS SECOND.

Then, of course, I explode. I painstakingly pick apart her argument, tear it to shreds and hand it back to her in pieces. I respond and then some. By this time, she has realized that it is going to be a very long night and profoundly wishes that she had just sucked up her anger because, hey....Maria is going to stay mad for about four hours.

I go silent and deadly. She goes wary and careful.

And four hours later, well....okay...I am ready to make up. Bing begins to breathe again and we can talk calmly.

When we go out with friends or family, she is by far the most friendly, the one who wants to stay at the party for several hours. I am the one who is ready to go home and read a book in about an hour.

Bing and I are about as different as two women can be. How she knew at age eighteen that we were meant to be together and I didn't know it until I was in my 40's...well..I don't know. And sometimes I don't know how she stands me. She says it's easy, that I am her mate, her lover, her everything. That even when I drive her nuts, she still wants to wake up with me in the morning.

And, I have come to the conclusion that I feel the same way about her. When the chips are down, she is the one I want, the one I need, the one I seek. She's my morning kiss and my goodnight one too.

We manage to make it work, although we both acknowledge that this relationship is work. It isn't just an effortless slide into home plate. We have to plan our strategies to get around those bases. Maybe that is the key, we are on the same team.

So...tell me about your marriage, your relationships, what makes them work, what splintered them, what worked and what didn't.

If you aren't coupled, what didn't work or what was the final straw? Why did that towel get thrown in? Are you happier alone?

I'm torn, I admit. I could live without Bing, I have lived on my own and liked it very much. Yet, I have decided that this relationship will be my last one. This one will be the one that sticks. And with a woman who is my complete opposite. I wonder why that is? I wonder if that is precisely why it works. Maybe she is ying to my yang?

I'm curious about your relationships.....

20 comments:

Patty said...

After WAY more than my share of failed romantic relationships including two failed marriages, I have been rewarded with magic.

As you say about Bing, I could live without him, but am not sure about how I would be growing as a person without him. He pushes all my buttons that trigger all of those feelings I have been running from for all these years, but he refuses to let me run. He also is willing to face his fears, established many years back, that surface as a result of my button pushing. No one (male or female) has ever been willing to do that with me before.

He is the calm to turbulent sea me, and I am gas to his sputering camp fire. We both believe we are one another's greatest blessing, and everyone that reads this can go ahead and gag all you want to. I just read this book and it is totally making me (try and) write all poetic sounding. Gag! But true.

CDJ said...

Well, as we have shared many times before. Hubbz and I are about as alike as you and Bing. In fact, I think in a former life they may have been conjoined twins.

I, too, could live without him, a fact he seems to be aware of and doesn't like one bit. We have very different communication and arguing styles. I tend to clam up, but in my defense, he gets really defensive. I tend to be able to let things go, easier, though, while he's the one who seethes and stews.

Movies? We just don't go to movies anymore. We haven't in years. Because we can't agree on one and I refuse to waste time or money on a movie I'm not interested in.

We are equally untidy and often have to clean up after each other, which we have actually learned to live with OK.

I could go on and on... really, I could, for like... hours. But I'll leave it at that because things are pretty agreeable around here these days, so there's no need to get myself all riled up, is there?

I'm glad you and Bing found each other. It does sound like a perfect match. And for the record, I believe that every relationship is work and if someone told me otherwise I'd think they were lying -- to me or themselves. So, don't be too hard on yourself ;-)

MLC said...

From the "serial single" grrl -- I think it's about making a choice to love. A verb...choosing to love, working at it, a committment.

Love is not something that happens to you, completes you or fulfills you.

That's my take on it.

janet

Trop said...

I would fall apart without Court. We shouldn't work, given that we are so different, but we do. Our differences are: I tend to be more cerebral, both in my choice of movies and books and even music. She's more for entertainment and escape. She loves to play games, I don't like games. I am a political junkie, she is not. I am easy to weep, she rarely cries. She's a planner, I'm a follower. I'm good at finding my way to anywhere, she is easily lost and is not especially good with maps. She's romantic, I'm practical. I'm ornery and kid-like. She's refined and was born to parent. She knows when to be quiet, I say too much too often. I'm aloof and quiet, she's engaging and social.

sandyshoes said...

Yeah, I guess relationships are work, aren't they... and I haven't been doing the work lately. To be honest, we are coasting. I don't know how long that can continue. I feel like we put a lot... a LOT... of love and affection in the bank before we had kids... and we don't love each other less now, but we are drawing down the savings pretty severely and haven't been working on making deposits.

Mr. S. and I are very similar. It makes it (too?) easy to take things for granted.

Val said...

Ah... great idea for my own blog entry... thanks! :)

But I am a true believer in opposites attracting AND working!

Jezzica said...

...the Wire and the L Word are relationship superglue.

the only daughter said...

My husband was different in that he was, in fact, a he. I think...No, seriously, he was 12 years older and once I matured some (I was 17 when we met) polar opposites would be an apt description.

Too many years later it was over and then I was single for 8 years.

Then I met her. We are at present, a commuter / telephone couple and for the little more than a year that we've been dating I've picked up on a few differences in personality, tastes in music & movies and more. It will be interesting to see and fun to discover how these differences manifests themselves once we are in the same place, day in and day out.

TroyBoy said...

I think it's interesting how Bing's apparel is very neat and tidy but her living space, not so much. I happen to be very consistent in my slobbery.

JYankee said...

i think opposites DO attract...Papa Bean and are a lot like you and Bing...opposites..I laughed as I could see some of the differences..especially in tidiness, etc... I guess it is just a matter of "priority" in that person's mind eh?

dive said...

Relationships?
Ha!
I'm an ug, so they don't tend to happen to me.
Your description of Bing, however, is probably the most accurate description of me ever written (except that she looks good).
I'm off to realign my cutlery.

Skeeter said...

I think your right about the Wong Kar Wai movie. I think it's going to be really good. My fav Chinese rock star diva, Faye Wong, was in his Chungking Express picture and his 2046 film.

Mrs. Skeeter and I have been married 25 years this May 15th. We met in Calculus 2 class in the university. Although true, it still feels strange to say that by marrying her, I married half the girls in class. I was the lucky one. That and *one* other thing, I think, is what keeps us together.

Gypsy said...

Being opposites of each other makes life so much more interesting and unpredictable. I think there does have to be some common interests but viva le difference I say.

SassyFemme said...

With the exception of the eating/exercise habits and the style of fighting/arguing, I could have written this about Fran and me. I'm very much like you, Fran is very much like Bing.

We only go out to the movies if there's something we both want to see, which is rare. Otherwise we do pay per view. Once in a blue moon Fran will take herself off to the movies when there's some action/adventure movie that has to be experienced in the theatre. I've never been to a movie alone in my life, nor would I go.

Neither one of us particularly likes to exercise, but we do. I just prefer to row in the basement, she goes to the gym for the treadmill and a class now and then. We both love to hike and bike.

Fran is far more adventurous in food than I am, and a far better cook. Over the years she's introduced me to a number of foods and cooking styles that I love. She knows now to just have me eat something and then she'll tell me what's in it. I've learned to love spices and spicy food. As a whole we like/dislike most of the same foods, with just a few exceptions of things like asparagus, pineapple or Indian food, which I can't stand.

We are different yet in complimentary ways. We both love computers, but she loves shoot 'em up games, I love blogging and reading various articles. We both love to read, but she generally prefers mainstream mystery, adventure, or historical fiction. I prefer contemporary lesbian fiction.

Over the years our differences have lessened, and we've learned how to work around the others. She is my rock. We pull very tightly together in tough times, rather than let them pull us apart. We know that together we can handle anything, yet without the support of the other it feels like the weight of the world is crushing down. She's my best friend and the other half of my heart.

DN said...

I don't do relationships well.

Jenna said...

I think with our past relationships failing we all learn what doesn't work. So when you meet somebody who makes you see yourself in their eyes you hang on to them.
Sly and me are so different, I live in he city he in the national forest, recycle means a whole more to him than to me. I love to clean, relieves the pressure of the whole world on my shoulders. he loves life, everything revolves around how to do things the way you love to...The biggest difference I I've noticed is the way he doesn't pry into my hurt feelings with words that hurt even more at times, he leaves me alone with just enough space that I know he's still there.

kristi said...

Ok, I am blogging about this!

MmeBenaut said...

My aunt wrote on our engagement card: "Vive la Difference" and on our wedding card: "you are each responsible for the other's happiness". That's a lot of responsibility and it does take work because we are opposites too, in most things although in habits I seem to have a mix of both yours and Bings. I love healthy food but I like junk stuff too. I would love to be more athletic but my injuries weigh me down. I love the house to be tidy but I have two full ironing baskets. I sometimes fold my nightie or pjs and sometimes I throw them on the floor. I'm a traditional wife in many respects but I insist that he keep the loo clean after he's used it. I like a mix of movies. I prefer the Out of Africa style but one of the best movies I saw was that Tom Cruise one about the precogs (can't remember the name). I'm not quite into Terminator and both Arnie and Rambo leave me quite cold. M.B won't watch a movie unless he's forced to. I'm more into educated sensitive new age guys who can be just a wee bit naughty too. Our new found interests are blogging and computers and photography. We studied French together but I was so far ahead that I quit. He has well and truly caught up now so sometimes we have conversations for an hour or so in French, just to see if we can understand each other!

I also saw something on Oprah the other day that I thought was interesting. (I'm not a faithful fan but sometimes I flick the TV on when I'm dusting and if it's good, I take a rest and sit down and watch). I think it was this New Earth "religion" she is spouting - but the interesting bit was that if you take the ego (I) out of the mix, all that is left is love. I thought hard about that and for me it is true. When I put aside whatever negative feeling or thought I may have (my perspective and my ego), all I feel for M.B is love. I absolutely adore him and this will be the last relationship for both of us, I'm certain of that.
I could go on but I think I've already said enough! Wow Maria, you sure come up with the tough questions.

Kate said...

Si irons his jeans, too. When I find them on the ironing pile, I fold them up and put them away without ironing. They mysteriously reappear the next day. There they will stay until he irons them himself. I'm a nice girl, so I wil slide an iron around on his shirts, but NO WAY am I ironing that man's jeans.

Pixielyn said...

I thought so hard about this post that I actually thought I HAD posted....LOL.
My husband and I are opposites. In everything and in every way. But we fell instantly in love when we first saw each other and have worked damn hard to stay together despite the differences.
We make it work. I determined early on way before marriage that if I couldnt hang with all his differences that I wouldnt marry him, so far its ok, it all works out.
Compromise is our motto. And some times the opposite sides of the spectrum make for a better normal middle of the road kind of agreement. I'm the more conservative, he the more fly by the seat of your pants liberal. He has the hot dragon temper, I'm the quiet passive agressive seether.
I'm the home body, he the Mr. Partyman...He gets energy from crowds, noise and action. I get my energy from quiet. Solitude.
But I love him with every cell in my body so I will compromise, give in and acquiesce to make it all smooth.