December 13, 2002

A Whole Lot About the

A Whole Lot About the Girlfriend, and An Overdue Apology

Thanks to a rebounding immune system and hefty doses of Vicks Sinex nasal spray, I'm sliding into the weekend with my health almost back to normal, save for the occasional cough and tissue full of snot. Gotta love the snot.

I'm heading back to St. Paul after work today to see the girlfriend. It was a long week without seeing each other, despite our phone calls. Strangely, we have yet to actually fight, about anything, and fighting has traditionally been one of my stronger areas when it comes to relationships. I'm superb when it comes to on-the-spot arguments, and I can usually leave my targets unable to respond to my crushing doses of harsh reality and common sense.

Alas, Melissa and I haven't had reason to yelp at one another yet, despite four months of dating. As she stated so poignantly last night, "honey, we really are pathetic." And, she's right. We need an argument, something to stir the pot. Okay, we don't, but I just keep wondering if being so content and happy is actually healthy. Then again, every time I think of her family life, I find it hard to want to fight with her about anything.

Her parents are divorced. I know, who's parents aren't divorced in today's world, where the divorce rate in America is over 50 percent. It's not that Melissa's parents are divorced that offers cause to pause, it's why they're divorced. It turns out that Melissa's father remembered that he was gay. That seems to always have a detrimental effect on marriage. So, Mel's parents split when she was in 9th grade, although she didn't learn of her father's homosexuality until a couple of years after.

That made for an interesting Thanksgiving, that's for sure.

On the one hand, I met the ultra-religious mother, a very kind woman who told Melissa countless times when she was growing up that "she was going to hell." The high point of the holiday, for me, was when her mother revealed that she was dating a married man, at which point Melissa said, "Mom, you're going to hell," and to which her mother replied, "Me? What about you?" I kept imagining Satan in the corner, with a heaping plate of turkey and stuffing, laughing and pointing maniacally.

On the other hand, there's the swinging gay father, a man who is so incredibly manly, you would never guess he's actually gay. I remember when I first met her father. It was during one of our first dates, and Mel invited me to go swimming in her father's pool. She offered to show me around her dad's place, and she introduced me to a young man in addition to her father. Not knowing that her father favored men, I asked if the young man I met was her brother or some other relation.

"No," she answered. "Not exactly. That's my dad's boyfriend."

*insert foot into mouth, and chew until tender*

"Oh," was all I could say.

So, Melissa's folks clearly aren't the Cleavers. It's a stark contrast to my own family life, featuring a solid parental marriage that has survived over 30 years, two insane dogs, 11 years teaching in Tokyo and, most incredibly, having me and my brother battling our way through the house for 22 years. Such a family life is alien to Mel, who once stated, in all seriousness, "It's so weird that your parents are still together."

Despite her less-than-normal childhood, Mel seems to be the epitome of normal, although I continually keep my baggage scanners on full alert. Granted, at 27 years old, I allow quite a bit more baggage to flow through than I would have at 22, but Mel consistently passes all my tests, and I've grown just a little more than enamored with her.

The weekend should be fun, with plans to attend the Hollidazzle parade on Saturday, with a possible stay at an Embassy Suites. We also have to do gift shopping at the Mall of America (Ugh!). With all due respect to our great mall, once you've seen it 10 times, you've seen it 10,000 times. Come Sunday, I should really get to writing the book report I offered to do for her, a comparison of two Holocaust-era books, Dawn, by Elie Wiesel and Maus, by Art Spiegelman. Both books I highly recommend. Easy and quick reads with plenty of emotional punch.

I must take this time to officially apologize to someone whom I know I've done nothing but hurt all week. Layne, I truly am sorry for all the scathing commentary I've bestowed upon your site. Your recent posts admittedly bothered me, but I had no reason to belittle you the way I did. It's your site, and your thoughts, and it's not my place to question how you choose to live your life. Reading your site is an enjoyable part of my daily routine, and I'm deeply sorry if I've hurt you in any way. I blame the cold. fucking cold.

Posted by Ryan at December 13, 2002 10:47 AM
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