After a long day in the office, I walked into the house to find my wife waiting for me with her hand on her hip.
“Hey beautyterrific,” I said with forced, friendly enthusiasm.
Jenna just glared at me.
“Oh no,” I thought. “It’s going to be one of those nights.”
When I averted my gaze to kick off my shoes, a heavy object hit me in the side of the head, nearly taking me off my feet. It was the copy of “Stage of Life’s Way” I had lent to her.
“Ouch, what was that for?” I complained, rubbing my now throbbing head.
“Why do you think?” Jenna replied.
“You know, if you’re going to arrive home ahead of me – a nice dinner would be a lot more pleasant. Coming home to a big, fat steak after a hard day and a cold beer, now that’s what I call love.”
“Don’t try to be funny, Joel. I’m serious right now.”
“I think the lump on my head is convincing enough. Do you always have to be so dramatic?”
“That’s nothing,” Jenna stated. “You don’t even want to know the tortures I devised for you. Believe me, you’re getting off easy.”
I nodded in understanding. “I’ll take your word for it. I still don’t even know what I did.”
Jenna’s expression became dark again.
“I want to know if this represents what you and your friends think about women,” she demanded, pointing to the book on the floor. “Were you trying to communicate something to me when you asked me to read this?”
I looked into her accusative eyes for a second, trying to figure out what could have offended her.
“Oh yeah . . . ” I replied slowly, suddenly understanding. “Maybe I should have warned you. You must have read the banquet speeches from “In Vino Veritas” and stopped reading before you could give each character’s unique positions some context.”
“Oh yeah . . . ” Jenna mimicked, trying to get a rise out of me.
“Well, if we would have drank that whole bottle of wine together like I wanted to the other night, maybe I would have warned you that there was some material you were going to encounter that could be considered . . . well. . . misogynistic.”
“Is that what men do?” Jenna demanded. “Get together and philosophize about the various ways women inevitably seek to destroy the spirit of men?”
“Men do like to commiserate,” I said with a smile.
“So which one are you, Joel – the boy who’s afraid of love because of the pain of possibly losing a woman’s affection . . . or the man who thinks love’s a big joke . . . or the man who thinks the greatest service a woman can do for a man is break his heart, or, excuse me, by dying . . . or the fashion designer who thinks that women only care about how they accessorize themselves . . . or are you secretly the seducer who’s wise enough to take the bait and then move onto the next victim?”
“Right now, I can see why the seducer is the only one who escapes with the bait,” I joked.
Jenna shook her head in disbelief. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Well, if our relationship was only superficial, I don’t think we’d be having this discussion. I imagine that a seducer would think that a conversation like this wouldn’t be worth the reward. ”
“That’s true,” she acknowledged.
“So how about you have yourself a glass of wine and I’ll have a beer?” I asked.
Jenna nodded. “That sounds good.”
I walked over and gave her a hug. She actually allowed herself to be held.
I then whispered in her ear, “You’ll find the beer in the fridge downstairs.”
“No, my dear,” Jenna replied, “you’ll find the wine in the kitchen.”