Flip open your iPad or iPhone and you’re most likely to find something like this: The 5 Biggest Mistakes… The 7 Sexiest Women… 12 Habits of a Wining Personality… As a country we’re fascinated with lists, categories and any way that we can pigeonhole our fellow man. I’m going to show you two. The first is theirs, the second is mine.
11 Basic Personality Types: There’s a frothy, saccharin categorization of 11 personality types on the internet…which I found it to be utterly useless. It’s like reading your horoscope in the paper. In short, they’re all…GREAT! Did you ever read your horoscope, and think, “Ahhh, YES that’s me,” only to realize that your eyeball had lined-up with the wrong sign? “Hey wait a minute, I’m an Aquarius Ahhh, yes, now that’s me all right.” Judge for yourself: The 11 categories are things like: Leader, Artist, Idealist, Nurturer, Protector, Thinker, Doer, Guardian, Giver, Inspirer, Executive etc. Even without putting pen to paper I can assure you that at some time or other I am all those things! Any listing in which every category is wondrous has an inherent problem. Yes, we’re all doers and thinkers and givers, but in stating that, you are stating nothing. It’s warm and fuzzy, but pointless. But then…all these perfect personality types meet other personality types…and get married! Read on and snarl.
The 10 Most Interesting and Infamous Marriage Types: Keep in mind that these are pure-tone categories to which you may share certain aspects, but definitely not others. And…none of them is particularly complimentary…because they are meant to point out things to work on, be aware of. Are you up for looking in the mirror right now? Me either. Let’s skip over to the 10 Best Tattoo Parlors in Newark, New Jersey.
1. When You Marry Daddy’s Little Girl: If I were to adopt Lewis Black’s persona for three micro-seconds, I’d cut to the chase and sum it up this way: “Well, you’re just screwed, that’s all. Why? Because the gal you are about to marry has just spent the first 20+ years of her life idolizing…Daddy!”
Daddy intervened when those bad kids were gonna rip the head off her doll. Daddy bought her first shiny new Miata. Daddy carried her into the emergency room when she broke her arm. Daddy is bigger than you, handsomer than you, and probably has way more money. Daddy = God. And it’s always going to be that way. If and when things go south, guess who she’ll be on the phone with. Can this kind of marriage work? Yes, it’s possible, if you always remember your place…one step behind Daddy.
2. Marrying into the “Clan”: No, not the KKK, that’s silly. The CFC, the Closed Family Clan and guess what, you don’t qualify, no matter who you are. At best, you can be the occasional guest speaker, privileged guest. What does it all come down to? Blood. It’s that simple. I had a single buddy about 20 years ago whom we hung around with. He met a gal. Great gal, pretty gal, personable. This was a four-thumbs-up kinda gal. I was best man at the wedding.
But then… The first inkling was when her family had its yearly get-together. Everyone was given a sweatshirt and a t-shirt with a cutesy rendition of their family name on it. You could wear one or the other, but you had to wear one. And then the noose began to close, tighter and tighter, with Mom and Dad helping out with…deciding what car to buy, what house to buy…and where. (Has to be within 25 miles of Mom and Dad.) Investing? Naming kids? Everything was already decided upon. All you have to do is show up…and keep your mouth shut.
3. If you Marry a Doctor: Marriages to these sorts of people can work and can thrive…BUT…you’d better know what you’re getting into…before you get into it. Pamela’s father was a doctor. Her brother is a surgeon, and her mother was a nurse. My grandfather, who was a surgeon, founded a huge hospital in Gallipolis, Ohio. My uncle was a surgeon and my grandmother was also a nurse. Blah, blah, blah…
And what’s on the pro-side when you marry a doctor? Usually a house, car, and bank account that are at least one step up from your nearest neighbor. What’s on the downside? Pull up a chair. For the most part, when doctors’ wives get together, there’s the unspoken understanding that doctors make crummy husbands. It’s often bandied about that doctors shouldn’t even be allowed to marry. It’s the God Syndrome and the higher up you go on the medical food chain, the commensurately larger the ego becomes. At some point, the wife and family are viewed like tiny insects from the wrong end of the telescope, because doctors have their patients and a constant gaggle of nurses to worship them.
4. Are you Married to me…or to the Children? 99.999% of the time, this is a guy problem. Most of the time, it moderates or even disappears when the children get married and move away and you get back to what you thought it was going to be like. But not always. The country is filled with tigress-type women who’ll defend her children right-or-wrong against all comers (including you).
5. When you Marry a Soldier or Sailor: Same general subset as doctors only without the status or the money. And there’s a hierarchy even between the branches. If your husband is at sea for six months at a time, well, guess what. You are going to learn to be basically single for prolonged periods, only to come home to find your husband instantly wants to regain utter and complete control. And this works out just fine……? At the other end of the spectrum is the Air Force which is the most civilian of the branches. Tours of duty can be accompanied about 70 percent of the time. Better to know all this going in. As a sidebar, there’s an excellent television series (much better than its name) called Army Wives, which tells the whole story down-and-dirty. If you’re seriously dating a military man, downloading and watching should be considered mandatory.
6. Marrying a “Girl’s Girl”: First off, how do you spot one? If your girlfriend’s fingernails are long and look like ten little abstract paintings, you’re in trouble. If her hair is always perfect and when you run your fingers through, she says, “Uhmm, sweetheart, you’re messing up my hair.”…..trouble. How many pairs of shoes does she have? More than 20? Eyebrows should rise. More than 50? Cause for major concern. But most of all, when you find that your girlfriend’s very best friend isn’t you but another girl or group of girls, well…you should be aware of where you stand, and in this case, it’s behind the gaggle of girls, the Jimmy Choo salesman, her hairdresser, nail girl and spa gal. Just so you know. The plus side to all this? Your girlfriend will never embarrass you with old bat-around tennis shoes or steal your thunder by doing any outdoor chores. (Girl’s Girl = High Maintenance)
7. Marrying a Man’s Man: How do you spot one? Well, if you are ever referred to as “the wife,” the “little lady,” “wifey” (this is horrible…the bottom) or anything that begins with “the”. If you are banned from the TV room on Sundays, because of “the game”… not the best sign. If your mate can belch or fart on command…not a good sign. If some guy shoves you or cops-a-feel and you know your mate can put him on the ground…actually that’s a pretty good sign! But, if he has a motorcycle and an old t-shirt that reads, “If you can read this, the bitch fell off,” or even if he thinks this is funny, you’re in trouble.
8. Marrying Your Grand Amour: Now, this one sounds innocuous enough. That’s the goal isn’t it, to marry your great love? Sure it is…unless you are someone other than the two great lovers themselves. Though they may be charming, you should know right away, that as friends and relatives, you are not part of their little cognescenti. You are incidental rather than integral. And very often the closeness of that grand amourish couple can be nauseating.
They hold hands for godsakes, and after 30, 40 years still f–king holding hands? Pass the barf bag. They don’t need you. You know it, they know it and it’s not gonna change. The only (and this is a bit mean-spirited) consolation is that eventually when life takes one of them out, it’s going to take out the other as well. One shot…two people. They’re like some Greek Myth, the two beings that exist only as one. One has a left wing, the other the right and together they can soar. For them…us…there is no other way, but everything, even a grand amour has its cost.
9. When you Marry into a Religion: Unless you are marrying into the Church of England, or marrying a Unitarian, there’s a potential for trouble here. The bottom line here is to realize that you are not going to win. God, or Jesus, or whatever deity your mate believes in, will kick your ass 100 times out of 100 times. You won’t win. If this is something you can live with or, more accurately, work around, then things can be just fine. But you must always know where you stand in the hierarchy (with you on the bottom).
10. When you Marry Your Opposite: Here’s where the fun comes in! Classic example: James Carville and Mary Matlin. Super democrat vs. Super republican. You would think they would have poisoned each other on their wedding night. And yet…
Vegetarian: We have several couples we know where the woman is a vegan or vegetarian and the husband…isn’t. It can work…I think…maybe. We slip secret pork chops to the husbands in a folded paper napkin. They are never turned-down.
Sex: One is into one thing…the other isn’t…at all. Guess what. Abstinence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder…it can make the heart go yonder.
Shared Interests: Well, I was going to run this last section on a few more lines, but as you can see, there’s a trend forming. If, when you’re looking for a mate, you can possibly find someone who sorta has your same values, tastes, goals, religion, economic and political views…all else being equal, it works out a whole lot smoother. Yes, I know, we’ve all watched the Disney movies and seen Pretty Woman proclaim the opposite. But they’re characters in movies…and you’re not.
Did you find yourself in one or more of these categories? Congratulations, you are living and breathing and part of the human race. The reality is life and marriage and relationships are far from perfect things. They are, however, constantly evolving things. The whole goal, if you can, is to evolve in roughly the same way.
P.S. There was a time in Pam’s and my dating when things got serious. One Friday afternoon, I stopped at her house and took her out for a drive. I was deeply concerned about something. We drove up to Scarsdale and I pulled over to the side of the road. I said, “I’m worried because your dad’s a doctor. I’m worried that if you and I get married, there will be refrigerators and color TVs showing up from out of nowhere. And with that, he will be calling all the shots…” I hadn’t even finished the sentence when I looked over and saw Pamela doubled-over and holding her sides in laughter. Finally, she caught her breath… She said, “Oh…….Henry. Not to worry.” She was right…