Do you think that this man looks happy ironing? I don't. I think he looks put upon. As well he might, having been asked by his partner "in a calm, specific way" to iron some sheets, please. Not even washing that needs to be ironed, like shirts or hankies. She on the other hand is sitting with her feet up reading the September 2006 Family Circle* and learning that "asking for what you want in a calm, specific way can transform your relationship. It will improve the way you talk to each other, let you both know how you're feeling and will lead to a happier home life. Here Dr Robin Smith,... (Oprah guru etc)... gives us an insight into how to get the best results by communicating with your partner". Yes, well. We're always up for a results based verbal interchange. Does it for us every time.
Ironing is a task I often enjoy once I get started and sometimes I even do Gerards. When I think of the pleasures of ironing, I think of that ABC ad with the classical music and the serene way the iron glides around the shirt. That's what I want in an ironing experience. I don't really care if G does the ironing or not, it's not a compulsory activity in this house. The other jobs; making the bed and doing the washing and the dishes, feeding and tending the child. These things have to get done and mostly they are. Starting from the most important, which always get done, even when I'm not there. I shouldn't have been so grumpy when I got home from work today and saw the bed still stripped. Even if the sheets had been washed.
Oh I know, this piece of advice (from the same article about getting what you need by asking) is for me:
"General: I need you to be considerate of my feelings.
Specific: I would feel respected if you did not joke that I have PMS when I am upset."
Which he doesn't. And if if he did, such a request would probably be useless. Asking for respect seems a bit I don't know, silly? I would have thought that respect was a given and that if you have to ask to have your feelings respected, calmly and specifically even, well I don't know it just seems strange. In the past, I've had conversations with other women where we lament that we tell our partners what we need, what we want and it has absolutely no effect. And we say, "But if he loved me, he'd give me what I asked for... I mean I told him what I need...." It just doesn't work like that (not here anyway) and it's taken me a long time to be OK with that. It doesn't mean that the love and respect isn't there. Just that negotiation between us sometimes involves shouting or sarcasm, and yet is still more subtle and layered than asking and receiving.
On another note, it never occurs to either of us that there may be a reason that I am a screaming harridan every 28 days. Occasionally, I'm still a bit on edge several days later. Sheesh, you'd think after 30 odd years I'd have worked that one out. Although I don't like leaving beds unmade all day in any circumstance. I need to feel that the bed is made and ready for me to fall into, should the need arise. No sheet ironing necessary. Just made up.
*Now you know what total trash I read. Not even from the oppy. I buy it from the supermarket, new. Each month I'm dissapointed. But I never saw January's issue. Could it have been discontinued? Yep, I just checked. Gone. Now I feel all nostalgic...