The art of marriage is a delicate tightrope walk–and I lose my balance all the time. I have a patient, organized, gentle husband, he is a tightly structured concerto and I am a jazz fusion of creative, emotional, occasionally hysterical chaos.
Yesterday my husband asked one thing of me, “Could you please pick up coffee filters?”.
“Not a problem!”… Are examples of things that I said and that could be used later in court transcripts.
I did not pick up coffee filters.
I blogged and worked against a looming deadline for an essay contest, which of course meant mostly fucking around on Twitter in my sweatpants.
I’m building a platform Benjamin, I’m developing a process. I don’t have time for coffee filters!
Which of course I did. And there’s actually a shop right down the street. And it was on the agenda, my husband didn’t assign this simple errand and I agreed flippantly, cackling wickedly with ill-intent. I wrote all day, made dinner, and then went to a rehearsal for an upcoming show. This naturally led to a stop at the pub afterward. I said to my friend Vivi, “Don’t let me forget coffee filters”. So really, I think it’s his fault. I drove him and another person home, and then went home, sat in the office, worked a bit, and somewhere around midnight….
Coffee filters! I briefly consider going out and getting some, but I crawl into bed instead, poke my deeply sleeping husband. “Psst. Psssst. Psssssst! Hey…how important is coffee to you in the morning?”
And of course my husband bore his caffeine-free morning stoically. And yes, I did feel guilty dropping him off and then immediately heading to a Starbucks. But I never said I was perfect, and there is no reference to ‘getting it right ever time’ in the marriage vows. There are mild undertones of guilt flavor in my beverage…I wonder if caramel would cover that up. But I feel bad, it’s such a little thing–filters, but coffee in the morning–I mean, that is the whole point of getting up. We set the timer the night before, and it acts as a pre-alarm clock. You hear the brewing before your actual alarm goes off, and though soon you have to go to work, you know that there will be coffee waiting for you in the kitchen; this hot black liquid that has the capacity to make your day better before it even begins.
And I’m the monster that denied him that.
Sitting in the office with my guilt-laced latte, I think about potential blog topics. I think about how someone once said “If you forget, it means you don’t care”. I disagree. I care. I just forgot the fucking filters. It doesn’t make the the world’s worst wife. I search the web for a decent ‘bad wives’ list, and you know what? I’m not on any of those lists, so that’s the good news…or maybe that also means that nobody knows who I am so that’s the bad news. But then, if I did become known, is that what I would be known for? Being a filter-forgetting insensitive wife? But also, I didn’t find a really satisfying list of bad wives. So I’m going to compile a wee list of historically bad wives (famous & fictional), which will be my way of saying…”it could be worse Ben, I could be Sharon Stone in “Casino'”.
Ginger McKenna appears on all cinematic bad wives lists; it’s almost enough to watch me re watch Casino, but then I looked it up on IMDB, and shit gets real in that movie. It gets an all round 48/50 for intensity levels, and I love whoever wrote the list. Amongst all the pen stabbing, hammer smacking, baseball bat smashing and head in the vice gripping, is a note in the Sex & Nudity section: “There is a brief shot of a woman’s bubble butt”…and it is (spoiler alert!) “beautifully shaped like a ripe peach”. How is that a spoiler? “I want to know if I’m going to see some ass…but I don’t want to know if it is shaped like delicious fruit”.
I bet Courtney Love forgot coffee filters from time to time. It could not be easy to be married a woman who “Rolling Stone” magazine refers to as “the most controversial woman in the history of rock”. And I can’t imagine her being a tidy bride either; heroin and housework are well known mortal enemies, a bit like Courtney Love and marriage. In fact, in recent years their daughter, the unfortunately named Frances Bean, filed a restraining order against Love on behalf of herself and the family dog. Apparently Love is not only a hoarder, she also just leaves uncapped pharmaceuticals strewn about, killing a slew of pets. But there are also theories that Love was responsible for Cobain’s death, whether she pulled the trigger or he killed himself just to get away from her unhygienic ways. Who knows what goes on behind closed doors.
Surely Kim Kardashian should appear on a bad wife list–and most don’t realize that this was her second marriage. She married music producer Damon Thomas when she was just nineteen, and kept it a secret for a period of time. Apparently he once punched her in the face and told her she needed liposuction. And, before they were to go skydiving with Justin Timberlake, he smacked her around. I love that she name-drops even in court transcripts, (though no woman should suffer physical abuse).
You know I love me some Drew Barrymore, but she had a rather lengthy run in the bad wives club. She was engaged twice, the first time at sixteen, then married for the first time at nineteen. Barrymore and the Welsh bar owner split up in less than two months. Her recent marriage–her third–seems really positive, and they have a little baby, and she looks amazing. Although anything after being married to gross-out comic Tom Green, you could be married to an antique lamp, a lawn mower or a piece of masticated bubble gum and it be more mature and meaningful.
Cher wasn’t a perfect wife either. She met Sonny when she was sixteen years old, and there relationship and career grew together in tandem. At a height in their career, Cher grew tired of the Bono’s controlling ways, and their marriage crumbled (as did their show). Three days after their divorce was final, she marred Gregg Allman, who she then divorced two years later.
Believe it or no, but I am writing this blog in almost the exact same outfit.
Hey, no bad wives list would be complete without ole Liz Taylor, that lady collected husbands like diamonds–and that bitch had a lot of both–even famously marrying Richard Burton twice, later spawning the delicious terrible Lifetime special, Lindsay Lohan vehicle “Liz and Dick”. But really, you could drop Burton from the movie and the title would still make sense.
Also, bonus points for Taylor, as she also appears on many lists for the shrewish wife in “Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf?”. She is possibly one of the most boozy soul-crushing literary wives ever.
Marilyn Monroe was a gal who could not master marriage, but really wanted to get it right. She took a crack at it three times. The first time, she was basically given away in marriage to get her out of the foster-care system. The second time, to Joe DiMaggio lasted less than a year. Her final marriage with Arthur Miller was the topic of “After the Fall”, a scathing portrayal of woman who could not be loved enough and could not be saved.
Audrey Hepburn broke off an engagement saying that she didn’t have “the time to be really married”. She married for the first time–to Mel Ferrer who was already married with four children when he met Hepburn. She remarried years later, to a philandering Italian doctor, had a baby at forty, and got another divorce. At the time of her death, she had a long term partner, but they never married. Jackie O did the same thing–twice divorced can still be classy, any more than that is edging on Taylor territory, and it’s a rare breed to make multiple divorces looks that look fabulous.
And sadly, me–Alicia Ashcroft, unpaid writer, a distracted, forgetful, messy, and occasionally hysterical wife. But I’m always quick to apologize. Okay that’s a lie, I hold onto apologies with pretty tight fists sometimes, but it’s a part of my ‘tough but tender’ charm. But I am sorry. I love my husband, and I want to make him as happy as he makes me. And I’m going to the shop right away. …now what was it I was supposed to pick up?