Sunday, July 10, 2005

Lunch Talk

Mikaela says:
I just had a lunch date last week with an old college buddy of mine at The Range Cafe on Menaul and University (had the chicken caesar, which was good with the dressing on the side, but man -- I've never seen heartier lettuce. I think they're using weeds from my backyard! At least I know it was really good for me.).

Bruce was one of my straight-up fellow nerd scholarship college friends. He grew up in the North Valley and was a straight-arrow as they come. Not too political. Not too anything. Bruce is meticulous yet laid back. Wound up but easy-going, if you can picture that at all.

Mostly what I like about Bruce is that I amuse him to no end, which makes me feel witty and worldly and sparkly and all that good stuff, especially because his giggle is adorable and infectious. He's married now with his second kid just born (Cora James -- how cute is that). We had a very interesting discussion about whether there can really be equality in relationships. Bruces says no. There's compromise, and in good relationships, you just trade off picking up the slack when the other one can't take it anymore.

This seems practical to me, and accurate. But still, I'm holding out for more. What I said is that there can be equality in relationships, but you have to make that a conscious choice every single day, day in and day out. If you choose to go that route, you both agree to make your relationship the highest priority in your lives. Period. Even kids come second, because in this model, you have to split the child rearing consciously and equally in a way that's fair to both people.

Bruce is a smart guy, but not too political. He's a family guy, for god's sake, and the last thing he has time for is what he considers theoretical debate about government. I'm not sure which side of the aisle Bruce leans to, but I'd guess he's on board with the libertarian agenda.

Interestingly, Bruce has been reading the book Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Has anyone read it yet? I'm intrigued enough to seek it out, but the authors' desperate protests that they're just using data to reflect reality -- that there's no agenda and that they're totally objective -- makes me more than a little wary. All the reviews are glowing, not surprisingly, but I'm wondering if anyone out there can warn me off before I waste my time.


Blogger Arvin Hill said...

Ideally, a partner's skills and deficiencies should compliment - not necessarily mirror - one's own.

In terms of career and income, I'm feast & famine while Mrs. Hill is a pillar of stability.

She's busy - a doer. I'm slothful - a daydreamer.

She lacks an aesthetic sensibility. I have a creative eye.

She's a conformist by nature. I am a nonconformist by design.

She's unyielding in areas where I'm flexible, and vice versa.

She can be financially impulsive. I rarely am.

I'm too lazy to be very materialistic and she is too industrious not to be.

In our first ten years of marriage, these and other differences were the source of a lot of tension. After that, they became a source of strength and comfort.

Our differences are pretty obvious to our friends and family. They look to us as proof that opposites attract, yet she and I rarely think of ourselves as opposites.

We are cognizant of keeping the focus on what we share. A love of nature, art and beauty. Belief in the oneness of all things. The realization that life is unbelievably brief. Gratitude to All That Is for having found one another.

As for how we go about making decisions, the greater the potential for a decision's ramifications, the more we confer and negotiate in a rational, methodical manner. (It doesn't hurt that I am intimately familiar with the process of objective Q&A from my old paralegal days, and she is a shrewd businesswoman with a long history with research and analysis.)

Very often, people want a partner like themselves (or at least they think they do) -- and when that turns out not to be the case, they likely consider the relationship unequal. To my mind, this is simply not true. It's the sum that counts, and people would do well not to pay undue attention to particular inequalities as opposed to looking at the big picture.

So as a seasoned veteran of a very successful and genuinely happy twenty-two year marriage, I disagree with your friend Bruce. Equitable relationships are not only possible, but offer the greatest potential for overall happiness. Both parties have a responsibility to work toward that as a goal.

11:18 PM  
Blogger Arvin Hill said...

"very successful and genuinely happy"

I can't believe I wrote that. It's the kind of line reserved self-help marriage "experts" - most of whom should be executed. Ewwwwwwww. I'll bet Kathy Lee Gifford said the same thing.

Oh well. It was a long post. I was bound to slip up sooner or later. I'm not that smug. Really, I'm not.

[skulks off into the shadows]

2:12 PM  
Blogger mjae said...

No skulking. This is an anti-skulking zone. I really liked your post. You sounded warm and sincere and best of all ... really in love. Makes a single girl with growing cynicism about a love a little softer. Thanks.

3:49 PM  
Blogger sophie said...

Actually, I loved Freakonomics. You may borrow it from me, if you'd like.

9:08 PM  

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