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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

It's just a jigsaw

Marriages, partnerships, mortgage sharing and other modern-day unions de convenance  profit from shared interests. But few shack up with identical clones. People differ: how does that work?

One major VR/RR rift concerns cucumbers. Even the smell drives me into hysteria whereas VR relishes them several times a week. Yet it’s under control, mainly because it’s up front: visible and olfactory. Allowing me to see myself as tolerant, a marital goodie-goodie. This claim may sicken others but cucumbers benefit me.

VR hates Western movies; I revere The Searchers. But VR can read through telly, sometimes sleep through it, as with international rugby matches. Obviously I would not watch The Unforgiven at peak viewing; the situation demands delicacy. VR's powerful abilities must not be over-stretched. It’s called an accommodation.

Like many women VR hates physical cruelty, real or simulated. I'm more immune. But VR can accept simulated cruelty, as in The Sopranos and The Wire, if the story has recognisable integrity. Bringing about that conversion involves nerve-shuddering nicety. Force on my part is instantly detected. Very much give and take.

VR favours public transportation, rhapsodises about trains. I'm not a petrolhead but suffer in buses and planes (insufficient kneeroom) and financially on the railways. Cars have disadvantages but offer qualified independence. VR no longer drives and I think recognises a balance here. VR's adulthood emerges.

Although just as atheistic as me, VR sets store by the decorative trappings of Christmas. Left to my own devices I wouldn't install a tree with lights outside the front door. Without applying moral force VR persuaded me to believe the tree looks well at night. And now it does. An excellent resolution: a concession in which all sense of resentment has faded.


  1. I am fairly convinced I make far more of the concessions to marital harmony and come much more than half way. I'm sure Tom is similarly certain that he does.

    Nothing has succeeded in making me interested in cricket, though that doesn't stop him from talking to me about it as if I was. But I suppose he has to talk to someone. Sometimes I can remember players names that he can't, this seems to have happened by a process of unwitting osmosis.

    Neither of us much likes watching violence and cruelty, but I think perhaps I've a slighter greater tolerance of it, in fact, if, as you say it is a part of something worth watching. Mostly we avoid it and this cuts down yet further on shared watching possibilities.

    I've perhaps a slightly lower tolerance of westerns than Tom, but I too rather like The Searchers, and many others. Even fairly rubbishy ones can be visually rather good looking and gazed at for a time with the sound down. I maintain that watching five minutes of High Noon when one stumbles on it on digital channel somewhere is as difficult as eating a single salted peanut, (only more satisfying), you have to then sit down and watch it out.

    Unforgiven and Once Upon a Time in the West encompass both issues; we both like them and have them both languishing unwatched on DVD, we never seem to be feeling quite strong enough. Not that the violence or cruelty in them is particularly graphic but there's an undercurrent of it that's difficult, and which the presence of Morgan Freeman or Claudia Cardinale don't quite overcome.

    Public transportation vs car is still under negotiation.

  2. Having watched 'Gone Girl' (everyone can find a way to critique this one) and discussed it some, and read the comments of online reviewers, the conclusion of almost all is that marriage is all about compromise and often in the largest possible sense.

  3. Lucy: No potential conflict over what's eaten and drunk? I know Tom cooks which must make things even-Stephen more or less. As I've said before, washing-up (my job) is less than a fair swap for meal preparation. VR is a spinach addict; I can take it or leave it so - quite naturally - I take it, often by balancing the whole pile on my fork and swallowing it in one go. It's the sliminess that gets to me.

    Stella: Here's the proposition - does anyone want to marry their mirror image in all but gender? What would be the point? Compromise is a breeding ground for discovery and discovery (although we may not recognise it at the beginning) is what keeps marriages fresh. VR and I still fight but these days the fights last less than a minute; not so much fights as clearing our respective throats.

  4. Oh god yes, he hates more or less everything I love (to eat). Except I love most food so the subset of things both of us eat with enthusiasm is adequate, being more or less equal to what Tom likes. The only exception really is kippers which I don't like quite as much and really don't much like preparing (though VR's method is helpful). The cold comfort is that a lot of things I miss out on, such as pasta and grilled cheese, aren't very good for one anyway so I suppose he's saving me from myself. He only really cooks flashy special curry meals which garner praise and admiration, but I've stopped being snarky about that. Really.

    We both love spinach and butter beans, so that's all right.

  5. Lucy: No need to answer THIS - you've been doing sterling work in the comment department over here at Tone Deaf and have earned the right to be silent. Not me, though. I've just realised I too have been saved from myself, notably with regarded to fried food. But humanity is also abroad. Every so often I'm given something fried - not enough to fur my arteries but AS A TREAT. I do hope this can at least be extended to grilled cheese; the phrase evokes literary memories but whence? Jack Aubrey is served grilled cheese by Preserved Killick but the memory goes back much further. Beatrix Potter, perhaps? Wind In The Willows?

    "Flashy special curry meals". Is this a coded message for using every pan and every bowl the pair of you own and leaving the kitchen looking like the Somme? Plus, of course, being enfranchised to acquire every form of chutney available in Northern France and filling cupboard space with bottles and jars, the contents initially brightly coloured but all eventually turning into a hard brown crust that even wolverines can't penetrate? A small price to pay.

    Which reminds me - I need a further application for onion marmalade.

  6. When I first started cooking for Mr B2 (a wee while ago now), spag bog was one of a very small repertoire (and a favourite of mine). He eventually confessed that he didn't like it.

    It took me several years of marriage to find out that he liked the taste but not the fiddling with the extra-long pasta. Since we swapped to pasta shapes, marital harmony has been complete!

  7. Blonde Two: I like that: "Falafels cemented our marriage," says golden-haired temptress.

    I like it even more since the Rs proceeded in exactly the opposite direction, proving that there are no absolutes at the dining table. For years we shared Mr B2's opinion - that spag is difficult (and messy) to handle and fusilli is a more forkable option.

    But fusilli had one defect, it is thickish and its chewiness is at odds with the complete pasta taste sensation. Might thinner spag chieve a better gustatory effect? It does, though I rush to say we're not doctrinaire about this. The hell with the mess.

    The world's there for us to explore, Blonde Two.

  8. Robbie - I have the perfect answer to our conundrum. Tagliatelle! It has the required thinness and length but is much easier to handle.

    The world of pasta eh? bIs Herefordshire awash with fantastic pasta restaurants?

  9. Blonde Two: Otherwise known as noodles. And you're right, of course. Except that they're employed with meat in white sauce - chicken especially.

    Herefordshire awash? No but Tesco is. We live circumscribed lives, Blonde Two. I am not the extrovert hero you imagine.