In the company cafeteria, all the next generation ambitious black people would sit together during lunch talking about dating, office racism, who got fired or hired and the next happy hour or event. While conversing the fellas would give a conservative nod or silent greeting to the corporate honeys walking by and likewise the women would give some eye hustle to suited dudes and both men and women would confirm with their friends in the circle the eye candy passing by. Only when the subject was heavy all attention was inward and this was one of them.
This one dude says, “Marriage is work.”
I usually allow opinions to float over me but when there’s a right or wrong issue or an opinion that I feel passionately enough to support or defend, I welcome the fight.
I paused while I swallowed to get my response out and said,
“No…marriage should be maintenance, not work…at least not all the time.”
I knew what he was going to say and right on que…
“How do you know?! You never been married.”
I said, “Yes but I’ve bought a car before.”
A collective group chuckle, “What?!”
He dismissed, “Man you don’t know what you’re talking about.”
I said, “When I’m in a relationship I invest in it…flowers, wine tastings, Kennedy Center events, dinners, weekend trip to the islands, etc.”
As I looked at the women getting all geeked on what I just said, “Don’t get it twisted, I hope that my woman would reciprocate in some why, I’m not going to be just putting out and she don’t do something.”
Someone (female), “Something…I know what that something is.”
“No…it has little to do with sex, it has everything to do with her just showing her appreciation somehow.”
My “adversary” continued, “If you looking for 50/50 you’re going about it the wrong way.”
I said, “Not at all…that’s NOT what I’m saying, it’s never 50/50 and if you keeping score you shouldn’t even be in a relationship at all.”
“What I’m saying is maintenance has to be frequent, just like when I own a car, I detail it, change the tires, tune up, premium gas sometimes, change the brakes, armor all, hell sometimes I even shampoo the inside. I expect the car to have a clutch or some major repair once a year maybe…on a bad year twice but not every damn month. If I own a car that is repeatedly in the shop, why would I want to keep it?”
“Just like a woman…if she’s arguing, lying, not communicating why would I keep her around? What cause she looks good?! That’s gets old quick!”
Someone joked and said, “Is it a new Jag?”
I laughed and said, “That’s my point…you buying the Jag cause it looks good but it costs more money to maintain that Jag.”
“Just like some women that are high maintenance…you choose to deal with that bullshit, that’s your fault.” (I knew that statement was a little aggressive so I backed off…the group is usually clowning or joking but I’m passionate about these black family subjects.)
I softened up and said, “Look…I’m not saying anything about your marriage or your woman bro, I don’t know her or you, but I know I’m not keeping a woman or a car that’s causing me more stress than it’s worth.
Why would anyone stay with a man or woman that is not helping you or reciprocating love in the way you recognize, why the hell would you marry them?!”
“Look I’m single and hella happy and marriage, for me, hopefully will be just as happy as my “single-hood.”
A woman in the group whispers something about perfection…or me looking for perfection. I responded, “I’m not looking for perfection…I’m looking for perfect for me…chemistry, you can’t fake that”
A woman said something serious at the end of the table that had everyone’s attention. I could tell it was serious by the body language of the group…I didn’t hear it so I said, “Say it again…I’m sorry.”
A woman was pointing her fork at me, a woman I knew to be newly divorced with 2 kids.
Holding her fork up pointing at me she said, “So if you’re not looking for perfection, how did you get to 45 and never been married or have any kids?”
All eyes were on me…
My marriage argument…Part 2.
“I don’t want to be married just to be married. I can’t think of anything lonelier than spending the rest of my life with someone I can’t talk to, or worse, someone I can’t be silent with.”