killing flies with syrup

I had a friend in high school that was allergic to eggs.  The kind of allergic that required you to walk around with a needle, just to be sure.  Halloween pretty much sucked it for her once we were in middle school and the kids learned about egging cars and toilet papering houses.  One friend got the pleasure of having maple syrup poured down her back, beneath her shirt.  One of the cool older girls in the ‘hood complimented my friend on her shirt, which was cut in Flashdance style, hanging off one shoulder, splatter painted.  Puff paint might have been involved.  Older Girl got closer to my friend and went to check the label of her shirt, after my friend gave her the “sure, go ahead" nod.  It was a NafNaf shirt; she was proud.  That’s when Older Girl pretended to study the label while pouring the syrup down my friend’s back.  If this happened to me, it would probably make for a better story, but I think we all get ours eventually.  I got mine tonight.

While cleaning the dishes from our dinner (of ricotta fritters, brussel sprouts with bacon, chipollini onion, and maple glaze, sunchokes au gratin, ricotta and broccoli rabe stuffed butterflied chicken and wine-vinegar-marinated rabbit… with Beard Papa custard puffs for dessert), The Suitor yelled to me, as I gathered the rest of the dishes near our sofa, “So, like, am I going to get in trouble if I talk to women in bikinis at the pool in Austin?”  What the fuck is that?  Why would he go there?  Why would he make an issue out of that, enough to formulate the question from our cold New York apartment?  He knows my sensitivities, so why would he go there, picking at them?  Would I ever dream of bringing up the reverse, asking if he’d mind if I spent an afternoon speaking with a sun-kissed man who took a small interest and had a slightly bigger thing for redheads?  No.  Why would I want to make him worry?  We’re wearing sweats, in our home, cleaning up after dinner and a day of tennis and shopping, and he asks me this.  WHY?????  That’s just fucked up.

“Talk to whomever the fuck you please.”  Then I wondered if it was “whomever” or “whoever.” 
“Well, I’m just asking now, so I don’t get in trouble later when I come home raving that I met a really cool girl one afternoon, who also happens to be good-looking.”  I seriously wanted to get out the maple syrup and pour it over his head, let it get stuck in his hair, on his clothes, in what chest hair he actually has.  What an ass.  Why would you do this other than to just push my buttons?  "I’m just saying, it’s a pool.  If I make a friend there and she happens to be shapely, am I going to get shit for it?"  Yes, he used the word shapely. Why would he bring this up now?  Why would he bring it up at all?  "Well, I mean, I’m just saying, if I want to make a friend, and she happens to be… well, basically, I can tell from your face that I’m only allowed to make friends with men or out of shape old ladies."
"I get it."  YOU ASS AND A HALF.  "And, yeah, that’s pretty much how it goes.  You want to go make friends with shapely women…"  And then I didn’t know what else to say.  I was too angry.  I worry that I’ve shared too much of myself with him during times like these, because this, dear reader, is what I call "rubbing your nose in it."  That’s what he was doing.  It looked like dish washing, but it was nose-rubbing.  I wanted to use the two-handed backhand I perfected in class today with a frying pan to his head. 

I know how to push his buttons back.  I really do.  Instead, I said, “I am insecure.  There.  Is that what you want to hear?  I am. You win.  You always win.  You got me to shout, "Uncle."  Feel good now?  Huh?   And I would be pissed if you came home telling me you met some really cool girl by the pool, who happens to also be hot, that you think I’d dig.  I can make my own friends, thanks.  I don’t need my husband-to-be to do that shite for me.  Stick to doing the dishes, bitch.”  Okay, I didn’t say that last bit.  Instead, I just left it with, “I can make my own friends, thanks.”  I left it with “thanks anyway, I don’t want syrup with that.”  I mean really

Ahem, after reading this, our conversation continued.  "Yeah, why don’t you add the facts in there?  Well, it’s not like I care what people think.  I mean, write what you want, but you should consider adding the facts."  Then he began to enunciate the following:
"FACT: we’re moving to Austin, where we know no one (except the weather man), and we’re looking to make friends, and you wanted a pool–insisted on a pool–and we need to make friends.  FACT: the reason you wanted to live in a gated community as our rental was for you to see if you liked the lifestyle and people.  Where’d ya think we’d meet ’em, playing shuffleboard at the clubhouse?  Please."  He said "FACT" a few more times, but there wasn’t any more info than what I’ve stated.  Bottom line, he knows my sensitivities and there was no cause for him to go there, to ask me a hypothetical he knew would raise my pulse.  And please, if you’re going to chime in with a "well it shouldn’t raise your pulse,"  I’ll agree but default with "but it does, and that’s who I am.  I’m okay with that." 

He is absurd and makes me laugh.  I can’t help but laugh.  He’s caught at it, at being an ass.  He’s trying to talk me out of it, to illuminate the facts, by spitting the "ct" of FACT at me.  Then he mentions making friends with only men, and added with a laugh and kiss, "I love you, Stephanie."  He was wrong.  Don’t worry, I’ll never get used to it.  He won’t let me.

And if you’re going to ask for the recipes, try TV Food Network or Epicurious.  Merci.



  1. You were right. It's "to whomever".

    And what about that dinner menu brought women in bikinis to mind? Was there some women in bikinis fiasco the last time you served rabbit?

  2. Wow. You are getting married when a comment like that sends you into a rage? Sounds like you would be wise to invest in some good therapy before you invest in a home together. I'm scared for you because if you don't work at it, history repeats itself over and over again.

  3. This is the grown-up version of the little boy who teases you in grade school because he likes you…and he knows he can get to you. It's literally as simple as that. But darn it if it isn't the most annoying thing in the world! Plus, men need to realize that the shapely women at the pool probably aren't interested in anything they have to say in the first place.

  4. He doesn't want to go to Austin. The food you make sounds very good …. too good for a guy that says things like that to you.

  5. i think the only reason someone says something like that, completely out of the blue, is because they are looking for a fight- and the fact that he aims right at your achilles heel … well its just plain mean-spirited… this is really the person you want to spend the rest of your life with??

  6. I think it's more than a little bit presumptuous to say that this is a reason not to get married or a sign that they won't work…. Give her (and him) at least some credit?

    "I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to
    annoy for the rest of your life.
    — Rita Rudner

    Best of luck with the move, Stephanie.

  7. there has to be more to this story… he wanted to rattle you and quickly put you on the defensive – either because he's pissed about something specific or because he just wants to fight. it's a ridiculous comment, and one that blurs whatever real aggression is going on. sorry to be harsh, but what a dick. good for you for posting about it though. you're brave and these risks are what make you such a compelling writer.

  8. I'm with Katie.

    And, it was an EXTREMELY insensitive question/remark for him to make.

    Perhaps you should give this whole thing a little more thought.

  9. aaarrrrrrrrrggggjdfkdfskfjslkdjlksdjf1!!

    You made me shake my fist at him, from miles and miles away. I shook my fist. Yarg!

    ps. you know the weather man? Mark Murray?

  10. Shakes head. Yeah really, why did he go there? It's bad enough that sometimes the insecurities force us there on our own. What a giant absurd nut roll! I'm sure given the same question I'd have shouted, "Don't ask me stupid questions!" I'm somewhat similarly insecure, having moved 2 years ago to my husband's hometown. It was really good to answer as you did. I hope your suitor will learn from it and try to be more sensitive. Best wishes for your move. May there be kind friendly people where you hang out. My best friend lives in Austin with her husband and their 2-year-old son. They like it. I hope it's everything you want it to be!

  11. You DID add quite a bit. The intro paragraph was a good addition – it puts everything in context.

    No advice or judgment or anything, just "thanks".

  12. I agree with you that it's fucked up. Perhaps when he sees this post it'll give him a better understanding of why this upset you so much, although I think by now it's likely he understands.

    Sorry your day had to end this way.

    And Epicurious is a great source for fantastic recipes.

  13. i hate to be harsh but he sounds like an emotional bully. this doesn't sound like fun-kidding-around husband and wife banter as katherine above suggested… it's not only disrespectful but i agree with kit- it's mean-spirited.

    i waited for what seemed an eternity until 'the one' showed up- how did i know he was it? he takes me (and my insecurities) seriously and always shows me complete respect. you're too good for this stephanie.

  14. For crying out loud – you're moving to Austin. It's really hot there. You'll be living in an apartment with a swimming pool. Get used to seeing really pretty girls in tiny bikinis all of the time. Welcome to your new life. You'd better leave your insecurities behind in New York and start bikini shopping for yourself now. In all that heat, a bikini is a woman's best friend. And the better you look in it, the more men you're going to attract (committed or not). Fact of life sweetie.

  15. I gotta say, usually I find your insecurities quite grating, but this time, all I could think was "knowing you the way he does, why would he push your buttons like that?"
    It just seems mean, like he was spoiling for a fight and knew exactly how to get a rise out of you. Why would someone who loves you, purposely want to upset you like that?? I don't get it?

  16. I say always answer a question you don't like with a question he won't like, babe. Easy, simple, FACTUAL.

    After he asked that, you should have asked "if he'd mind if I spent an afternoon speaking with a sun-kissed man who took a small interest and had a slightly bigger thing for redheads?"

    I think he should answer that question. ;) Suitor?

  17. i think you are very emotionally aware and totally called him out on this one without being gratuitously mean yourself. You were very fair and held back from what you could have done reaction-wise. you go girl. he must have just needed to have a spat for some reason, or see you vulnerable. did you beat him in tennis. :) your dinner sounds awesome.

  18. Glad you added that last part it demonstrates the emotionally charged conflicts love brings after months of being together – glad to hear it's going well.

  19. I'd say the Suitor has some major insecurities of his own. I think you need to keep that in mind. His remark? That's not about you, that's about him. Does it temporarily bolster his self-esteem to make you jealous? Next time he makes a comment like that to you, ask him what he is so insecure about.

  20. Now I don't believe that was a "leave the bastard offense" however it does sounds like he was looking for a fight. Something could have happened earlier in the day and he was simmering and instead of talking about that he decided to hit where it would hurt?? I know because I use that tactic sometime…shame on me…and instead of giving me the fall out fight that I want my boyfriend usually takes the high road (just like you) then after I feel like a total and complete ass. Not to mention we still haven’t worked out what I was mad about in the first place. And I’m with Meg buy a bikini or better yet have him buy you a bikini. Forget Hallmark offenses like that combined with a response like yours screams gift ;-)

  21. I like that one of your previous commentors referred to that quote of Rita Rudners, because it came to my mind as I read your post also. The thing about the gated communities though is that generally the only shaply girls hanging around the clubhouse are either the jail-bait teeny-boppers whose parents can afford to live there, or the somewhat well-preserved women of a certain age who while away their hours of no-maintenance grounds and house servants by absorbing more sun, neither of which should be any threat to you. "If I didn't love you, I wouldn't pick on you". A good narrative, which I enjoyed.

  22. Man, so much restraint not to fight back with his insecurities. GOod for you though! And the thought of him only making friends with men was funny.

  23. How does the weatherman look in a speedo? Better than Pooter? Oops, keyboard malfunction: I meant "Suitor."

  24. Why is being bothered by suitor's question even being dubbed as insecure? I don't think how one responds to that question has anything to do with security. So, if you were to answer his question with "sure that would be great, we could both be friends with her" you would be displaying how confident a woman you are? People have posted that they are "similarly insecure" and I think that we need to stop making this an issue about us, about our mental heath, our security, how well adjusted a woman we are and that that depends on how well we can take someone's shitty comment. That's just a game men invented to get us to compete with each other.

  25. I thank God I had brothers, because I have dealt with this absurd behavior my entire life. However, I couldn't do it without them. He loves you, gal! You are so lucky!

  26. I think you'll have no problems making friends (without help! LOL)–Austinites are more outgoing and laid back, which I'm sure you've seen when you were there. In NY and here in DC, people keep to themselves when walking by, and in Texas, they often smile and say hi. (Always makes me off-edge my first few days back in Texas when visiting.) LOL. Writing workshops, clubs, Barton Springs, Whole Foods–I wouldn't worry, and the Suitor shouldn't either. :-)

    As for the pool, carry a Tazer and zap him when needed. (big grin)

  27. Stephanie,

    I've been married for 15 years and a comment/question like that would piss me off. But I probably would have fired off with, "What cute shapely young thing by the pool would talk to YOU? But my husband is a teaser, and in the beginning of our relationship, loved to push my buttons just to see me get mad – I guess he thought it was cute. argh. BUT he is a good man, and that is truly what matters.

    Is what the Suitor said insensitive? Probably. But actions speak louder than words, and I can tell you from experience that a little bickering like this is not a deal breaker. Sometimes it can just be a way of learning to deal with having another person around all the time, and settling into a life together.

    So I guess my point is that you're not wrong for being upset at a question like that – but that doesn't mean he's actually going to do anything, and as long as he's not CONSTANTLY nudging you with those kind of comments, it's probably pretty benign stuff.

    Hang in there – you're both going through a lot of changes right now.

  28. something about his comment really, really bothers me. and that "FACT" cr@p (among other "you-are-so-illogical!-here,-let-me-point-out-how-specifically" bullsh*t) is creepy controlling. all the other sweet, perfect stuff you don't type here doesn't matter when i hear junk like that. what if you were telling us about how physically abusing he was, but then said we know nothing about how sweet he is the rest of the time? should we turn a blind eye then? what about this emotional craziness he covers up with his logical propaganda?

  29. I have to agree with RD–the FACT crap really seemed very bullying to me. Like he is incapable of seeing anything beyond his own perception–he doesn't understand what he said that hurt you. It sounds like he just decided to pick a fight and also rub against a sensitive spot of yours that would hurt you. Why?
    When I met my husband for the first time (ten years ago) he was very big into teasing and I wasn't. I would say things like, "Ok, I can't take it any more. I'm an only child–I'm not used to this!" but my skin got thicker and he backed off quite a lot and now we are a regular George/Gracie. I love our teasing and banter. It is a bedrock of our marriage.
    But I cannot think of him ever deciding to go after one of my sore spots–and I have a few, and they change over time. Like my weight–my husband would NEVER tease me about that, because he would draw blood. I just don't know–The Suitor sounds like he goes out for blood in these fights you have.

  30. I don't agree with his delivery! I hate that he is truly picturing women at the pool and calling this out to you. But boys will be boys…
    Maybe the suitor is feeling his own insecurities about the upcoming task of meeting new people and finding friends. While he stated it very insensitively to you, maybe deep down he has his own worries that innocent efforts to create a new social network for you both, might be misconstrued and damaging to you both – instead of a positive experience. Why that scenario has to involve bikini clad women, who knows??? Maybe he thought he was setting the stage to divert a potential insecurity in you by prepping you. Still, could have been handled differently. Regardless GOOD FOR YOU for passing on the syrup!!!

  31. It doesn't matter if any of his facts make sense. What he said initially was idiotic. I don't think there's any debating that. And he hurt your feelings, and then tried to dig himself out of the hole by spitting at you. Not nice, and if he doesn't get that, man, that's sad.

    It is "whomever" by the way.

    I have a lot of friends who are women — I've just always felt more comfortable around the ladies, starting with my older sister — but I don't rub my girlfriend's nose in it.

  32. It's okay for Suitor to enjoy meeting attractive women. But it's unnecessary to announce it and force you to agree. Do it, but don't talk about it.

  33. He is human, just like you. Yeah, he was pushing your buttons and he was being an ass. He's probably nervous to move, feeding off your nervous energy as well, stressed for a variety of reasons and he is displacing that in your direction. Something tells me that you do it too – in spades. You both do it because you know each other and love each other and you can handle it, even if you don't feel like it. You'll be fine. That's the good thing about your blog – gives you a place to vent among friends. Just keep it in perspective. Good luck with your move.

  34. My ex husband used to tease like that – iron fist in a silk glove – and feigned shock when I was hurt. Oh, I *love* that he's my ex husband. It was sad to watch him do it to his new wife too – she was a sweet young thing – but now that relationship is over as well. Dumb ass.

  35. Cha cha cha changes! …..He's scared like you- (hey! it's a big move!)….why can;t he just be honest and tell you the..(ahem)…"macho" jerk!
    Wishing you all the best Steph! You are clear about your issues..he's in a fog…

  36. you rock.

    in law to be…forwarded me your post today. she says: 'read her blog today…reminds me of how you and Zack tease…cute.'

    she also is very aware that like you, i get hotflashes when the words PINK PONY (atlanta strip club) are within an earshots distance of me. and they don't even have to be coming from his mouth.

    like your Jane article, this is great insight into your relationship and the insecurities that lots of women have about OTHER women.

    you are so easy to read, I love it!!!

  37. ukk, the comment by the suitor was a little to close to home for me. i used to have a boyfriend who would make comments similar to this one and it was just to get a rise in me (he knew about my past with a cheating boyfriend as well), to me it was the most disrespectful thing a guy could say and made me feel more insecure than ever. however, your relationship is unique and i hope you two can work it out…

  38. You guys are so obviously headed for disaster. Get thee to counseling ASAP or you'll be moving back to NYC alone.

  39. One of two possibilities:
    TS is a cruel person and is exploiting your unfortunate past experiences to gain some kind of sick power over you. In that case, well, good luck to you.
    Or, he's upset/stressed/angry about something else, and is picking fights as a means of addressing the issue. He might not even be able to put his finger on whatever it is that's got his knickers in a twist. In that case, you can decide whether you're happy with someone who communicates this way. If you can deal…well, OK. Sometimes I think getting married is about choosing a person whose ugly stuff you can tolerate and embrace. Just keep your eyes open before you leap.
    Option 3 is that there's more to the story and it wasn't so out of the blue?

  40. argh! this still bothers me. holding hands under tables with gentle squeezes of never doubting the two of you and "i-love-you's" after a disagreement do *not* excuse mean and condescending behavior.

    and, just for the record, you are NOT wrong in every disagreement the two of you have, stephanie. just in case you actually believe you are.

  41. I have been reading for awhile now and I do not want to be mean…but I must say you are definitely desperate to remarry and have a baby.
    Phil sounds very insecure and annoying and I truly do not believe he is in love with you.

    Don't move with him. Go there alone. That would be your smartest and most fun adventure.

  42. oh puhlease. austin is full of young, tall, male hotties. what makes suitor think bikini clad women want to be HIS friend?

  43. Poor Suiter! I love reading your posts, Stephanie, but something in me just sank when I read this. Whether he was right or wrong you just made this personal moment a gang-up session on the internet playground. I think you should write whatever you want to write, I have said this here before, but to warm over housebound arguments seems so disrespectful of him. Kind of "gotcha back" mentality.

    I love your blog, support you and can't wait to see you at the reading this Thursday. Perhaps I won't reveal myself (gulp.)

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