It echoed through the once-quiet air of our dining room and hit me like I owed money to the wrong people. The sound came into my house every morning, sometimes during the day, and mostly every night. A noise like a chain smoker training for the Emphysemalympics.
I looked across the breakfast table at my wife. The same pretty, petite lady I married sat across from me, holding a fork full of pancakes dripping with syrup. She smiled a straight, white, cover-of-a-magazine smile.
"Sorry," she said. "I had a little phlegm."
She doesn't smoke, she doesn't have health problems, but she daily hacks up a disaster movie amount of nasal fluids I don't need to know about. And she usually does it while I'm eating eggs.
Back off, guys. She's taken.
Dining wasn't always like this. Oh, no, but things have changed.
I was honest with my wife from the moment we started dating.
"Hi beautiful," I said. "I'm a beer-swilling pig."
I told her I would be a caring, supportive partner, attending festivals, art shows and whatever thing I didn't care about but interested her until football season. Then I'd sit in front of the TV, stick my hand down the front of my pants and only respond in grunts to statements that had something to do with offense, defense, beer, special teams, food, instant replay, "Gilligan's Island," cheerleaders and beer.
I've stuck by my word.
Guys, women don't work like that. Not at all.
Let's see if this sounds familiar.
You meet a nice girl. She smells great. She looks like she just stepped out of a TV commercial. When she walks by it feels like a summer breeze and when you look at her, her eyes are wide, soft and have pupils big enough to hide pirate treasure a sure sign she likes you, or is whacked out of her head on Bennies.
And she doesn't eat enough to sustain a coma victim. Again, it might be the Bennies.
You've dated this girl.
The problem? This way of wooing men is something women steal from romantic comedies that always end in a madcap way with the male and female leads kissing atop a really tall building/on a baseball diamond during a game/surrounded by flesh-eating zombies.
1) People aren't like this in real life.
2) The movies never show the couple six months later.
Ladies, I beg of you, fart. Belch. Pick your nose and wipe it on your shirt. Eat three quarters of a pizza and a pint of ice cream in one sitting. Clog the toilet. Watch MTV instead of PBS. Just be normal.
And, guys, love them when they do.
I know breakfast tomorrow will be loud and phlegmy, but eventually it will be endearing. I'm certain.
Copyright 2006 by Jason Offutt