Questions For a Marriage

    Ever see those things like “Questions To Ask Each Other Before You’re Married?”  Yeah, me too. The other night, as we were laying around doing nothing, I came across a questionnaire online and asked Noah if he wanted to play along.
    After the second or third question, we stopped- partly because we already knew each other’s answers, but partly because not every question could be answered easily and I wasn’t looking to have a gigantic discussion at 7pm when no one had even mentioned dinner yet.  Is it important to know if you want children, or what religion you want to raise them, or whether or not you believe in an afterlife?  Yes, and you should make sure that you know some of these answers prior to tying the knot.  But people change their minds, and their goals, and their perspectives.  What your answers may be at a young, 24 year old with eyes wide open may not be the same when you’re a tired, jaded, worn out 48 year old.  So, the question shouldn’t be “do you want to have children?” but instead “if we go through fertility treatments and money and a miscarriage and a stillbirth and then more infertility and money and grief and loss and anger and sadness and a little more anger and sadness, do you still want to be married to me in spite of it all?”
     Take these quizzes with a grain of salt.  You should generally be on the same page, but expect those pages to turn, and, if they do, do you still want to keep reading the book?
     Oh, one more thing- two MAJOR questions that were omitted- how many ice cubes should you leave in the tray before you fill it up again?  Who is going to set the mousetraps or get the dead snake out of the garage?

Copyright 2014 Anne Mathay

Comment est-ce que vous vous appelez?

Our homegirl Juliet famously said “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet.”  In her case, because she and Romeo had different names (and therefore different worlds), they could never be together.

So, what really IS in a name?

Take me, for example.  I am writing this post anyway.  I was born with a first, middle, and last name.  I was never addressed by my first name, my parents for whatever reason choosing to call me by my middle name (my brother has the same deal).  When I got married, I wanted to drop my first name since I didn’t ever use it, but because it was my first name it was technically considered a legal name change.  Enter an add in the paper, lots of state-mandated paperwork, a trip to Social Security and Motor Vehicles and, a few hundred bucks and a court date later, the illusive “Emily” was no longer a part of me.  As a little tribute to my former self, to this day when I initial something, I use the initials that I had at birth.  Call me crazy, but I like the ambiguity of it all.

Over a few (not really, more like many many) drinks this weekend, my friend Mary Kay was filling me in on her high school reunion she attended in Washington State.  She spoke about how some people referred to her as Mary, even though she goes by Mary Kay.  I remarked that I was Annie as a kid, but when I was eight or nine and therefore an adult in my mind,  I made a declaration that I was now to be addressed as Anne.

I’d like to go back to Annie.  I like the ability to reinvent myself, or change myself depending on the situation.  If you’re a Michael, you can always be a Mike.  If you’re a Robert, you can be a Rob (or a Bob, or Robby, or Bobby, or maybe even a Bert).  When you’re an Anne, you’re an Anne.  That’s it.  So, maybe I’ll be an Annie- it smells just as sweet, after all.

Copyright 2014 Anne Mathay

I Know You Want It

Ever have a moment where you realize you’re sort of getting older?  I’m only 31, but was recently introduced to what is arguably the biggest pop single of the summer, Blurred Lines, via NPR.  Subscribing to Spotify is both a blessing and a curse (I can listen to the same ten songs over and over and over again but am not introduced to new music unless I know what I’m searching for) and since I don’t listen to the radio anymore, I’m out of the loop.  As I’m listening to people my parents age discuss a pop song and it’s come-and-get-it lines and video that objectifies women and erases all of the work women have done for equality, I’m feeling ancient.  I should be telling these people what’s hot, not the other way around.  But, I digress.

I dial up the song and am immediately hooked- to the point where I’ve listened to it probably 30 times today (I did already admit to being slightly obsessive and repetitive with my music).  While the song lyrics are controversial, the video is even more so.  If you’re not humoring me and clicking my hyperlinks, I’ll fill you in.  The song (which samples Marvin Gaye’s Got To Give It Up) is chauvinistic and refers to a woman as a bitch while the video shows nearly nude women parading around, purely for enjoyment.

I like it.

Sometimes it’s fun to be sexy, to have attention because of your physical appearance, and to walk into a room and have eyes on you.  It feels good to look good.  It’s empowering, not degrading.  And yes, sometimes we, as women, “want it.”  We all do.  We’re humans, after all.  We have sex, and most of the time for fun.  It’s what we do on Saturday nights, or Sunday mornings, or while we’re waiting for the dryer to stop running or the kids to wake up from their naps.  We do it with our spouses, our boyfriends, and yes, we do it with strangers via one night stands after partying. 

Yes, I understand the critics who express the concerns with this song and video.  The women are nearly naked in the unrated version, scantily clad in the safe for work one.  The men are fully clothed.  These women are here for fun, clearly.  But why is that always bad thing if you’re a woman?

Women should always be in control of their power and their sexuality and unfortunately, sometimes they’re not.  Sometimes lines do get blurred to dangerous results.  But sometimes the lines are blurred because we want them to be- we want to be beautiful but smart.  We want to be flirty but intelligent.  We want to look good and feel good.  Blurry lines aren’t always a negative.  We, as women, blur them ourselves because we can.  We have that power and we have that control.  And that makes us for sure the hottest bitch in the place.

Copyright 2014 Anne Mathay

Jane May Be Onto Something….

     When studying literature in school, I remember learning that Jane Austen originally wanted to call her book First Impressions, but for whatever reason she settled on Pride and Prejudice instead.  Although I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t remember the story very well, I do know that first impressions are important- but are we wrong or right about our first read of people?
     I met someone recently, and knew within the first thirty seconds that they weren’t what I was looking for.  Jane Austen whispered to me to keep getting to know them and not be so dismissive, so I continued (I always listen to my inner Jane Austen).  Although thirty minutes later I still knew this person wouldn’t work, I did have a very enjoyable conversation and made a new friend.
     It’s so easy to judge someone, especially at first.  Chances are, our gut instinct is right.  But gut aside, even if the person aligns with our preconceived notions, they’re almost always worth getting to know.

Copyright 2014 Anne Mathay

Don’t Be A Joyce

     We decide to wait until the warmest day of the summer so far to go stand out in a field and pick fruit at our local “PYO” farm (pick-your-own for those not involved in any 4H in high school).  In our case, we drive ten miles to a farm to gather our own harvest and pay twice the price for it.  But, it’s a fun activity, something to do together, and a reason to get out of the air conditioning (which feels stifling and confining until you leave it, and then you realize why it’s running in the first place).
     Peach and blueberry picking was described as “excellent” so we decide to be crazy and go for dual fruit.  Peaches take all of three minutes to pick our previously decided three dozen, so then we set off for the blueberries, which involves taking a little hayride out to the field. 
     The entire area is covered in what looks like mosquito netting as to not let in berry hungry birds.  You slip through the net at the beginning and then you’re in a world of fruit.  We decide on the divide and conquer method, leaving our flat in the middle of a row and each of us taking a quart container.  It’s easy to get lost in the mazelike quietness.
    After my quart is full, I’m wandering around, simultaneously looking for Noah and for the flat, and I’m aware of a father and his sons that are around the same area I am in.  Dad is a typical dad- big floppy hat on, cell phone strapped to his belt, dressed head to toe in what he probably considers to be outside, rugged clothing.  My first thought is When did berry picking become an adventure sport? but I silence my thoughts in my continuous effort to only think nice things.  I’m now standing in front of Dad, and he says loudly “you’ve got some big ones!”  It takes me a split second to realize that he is talking about the blueberries in my hands.  I give him my polite laugh and continue walking.  I listen to Dad and sons banter back and forth- the kids are about ten or twelve, old enough to be at the beginning stages of parental embarassment.  Dad suddenly realizes that his wife is nowhere to be found, and the boys dart back, retracing their steps.
    Finally, Mom appears- slightly out of breath, face flushed, wearing ankle length pants and sweating bullets.  Mom is clearly not having fun.  She is hot, she is tired, she is finding nothing entertaining at all about being in this patch of bushes and embracing all of the places on your body that produce sweat in situations like this.  Mom can’t figure out how to cut through the bushes, or go under the nets, or pick very much.  The boys are both frustrated at Mom’s inability to keep up, and proud that they’re able to do things she can’t.  Dad’s exasperated cries of “Joyce!” over and over make me smile at this whole scene.  Finally, Joyce’s complaints subside when everyone thinks they now have enough blueberries, so they head for a break in the netting to wait for the next retrieval hayride and the creature comforts that are so desperately needed at this moment.
    I assume that Dad and Joyce and their boys made it safely back to their 72-degree house without any heat-related illnesses.  I think about sweat, and how it is the body’s way of cooling off itself from exertion.  Traipsing through a field with your kids may have been effort for Joyce, but I can’t help but compare how I relished the sweat from doing something fun with someone fun.
    Tonight, after dinner is made but not yet eaten, Noah and I are on the deck, reflecting back on how hot today was, how we skipped the hayride back to the farm and opted to walk up the hill in an effort to take in the views, and how excited we both were that our respective deodorant/anti-perspirants were not only tested but passed.  I ask him, jokingly, if he noticed that I didn’t complain once today about being hot, or tired, or thirsty, or sweaty, or overall uncomfortable.
     He smiles and says, “Yeah, I did notice.  You weren’t a Joyce!”
     “Don’t be a Joyce,” I echo.

Copyright 2014 Anne Mathay