Friday, June 19, 2009

This is how communication breaks down

Recently, my husband and I have pinpointed our main problem to be lack of communication or just general issues with how information is communicated between us.

Case in Point #1
I'll share this story first because it is the ultimate example of why we have issues, but I'll warn you that it is an extreme case.

A couple years ago when our marriage was not in a good place, and just after I had given birth to my daughter and was still feeling fat...wondering why the weight wasn't just falling off like it does for every other previously pregnant woman on the planet, it just so happened that the movie Monster (starring Charlize Theron) was repeatedly being shown on our cable TV.

You remember this movie, right? And, if you remember the movie, you will surely remember the way Charlize was made to look for the movie.

During a fight, my husband said that I resembled the character from the Monster movie.

Keep in mind that he, like most humans, has a tendency to say particularly mean things during arguments that he later regrets saying because they are not exactly true.

(Oh god, please tell me I don't look like that. I know I have aged a bit since having kids. And, sometimes my hair gets frizzy especially during rainy season. And, when I don't wear make-up, my dark circles show up. And, maybe when I am really pissed off about something, my emotions show on my face and that might make me appear less attractive, but ...)

So, anyway, this comment has always stuck in the back of my mind, but our marriage is in a much better place now, so I know he would never say something like that ... or would he?

Last night, guess what? That Monster movie was on TV again and we happened to turn it on during a certain lesbian love scene between Charlize and Christina Ricci. My husband was gagging, not because they were lesbians, but because, he said, Charlize looks so ugly and how could Christina stand kissing her?

Shortly thereafter, I got up and went to the toilet. Baby Luka was sleeping in his Moses basket on the kitchen table. I was gone for, perhaps, one minute or less. When I came back into the room, my husband looked at me and said in Japanese:

"Looks just like you."

My reaction:
"What?! Shut up. Fuck you."

What was I supposed to think? He is completely engrossed in the Monster movie, making comments about how ugly Charlize Theron looks, and one minute later, he says, "Looks like you."

Let's back up for a minute. In Japanese, it is very common to leave off the subject of your sentences because this is a very intuitive culture where all Japanese people can read each other's minds. So, often the subject is not mentioned throughout a conversation and for foreigners like me, it leaves a lot of room for misunderstanding.

If he had included his subject, the sentence would have been:
"Luka looks just like you."

And, I would have said, "Really? You think so? Wow!"

He claims that while I was in the bathroom, he got up to check on Luka in his Moses basket and noticed (not for the first time) that Luka resembles his mother.

He also claims to have no memory of making that nasty comment to me during an argument which occurred 2 years ago. Men - they forget so easily!


Anonymous said...

I have a lot of respect for you talking about the truths in your marriage, I wonder if we can sometimes just say Men are from Mars women are from Venus?

Michele Matucheski said...

This was HILARIOUS! I loved this story! --Your Sister

Jill said...

I'm caught up with your blog now. Luka is SO precious!! And this story? Well, you need to publish this story. It is that good!-and very relevant to the 30-something crowd, especially those in culturally diverse marriages or workplaces.