Wednesday, February 12, 2014

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My Wife Has Gone Granola Part III

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I suppose this all started about two years ago with her decision to become a vegetarian. I already wrote about this on my blog, so I won’t go too far into it. But what I will say is that when she made this announcement, I assumed that she wouldn’t last a month without meat. A big part of this assumption was based in reflective thinking: I know that I couldn’t go one month without meat.
Unfortunately, here it is two years later and we are still eating quinoa, black beans, lettuce, and tomatoes for most meals. This is not to say that many people don’t have compost piles, become vegetarians, and use all natural shampoo, bug killers, and laundry additives. And I suppose that if it were just the compost pile, or just her becoming a vegetarian, it wouldn’t be a big deal. I probably wouldn’t give it another thought. But it’s once I add everything up, that I realize ever since we moved to Oregon, and Mel started attending Oregon State University, she has turned granola. I’m not sure if it’s something to do with the people she hangs out with (I know most of them and they don’t seem all that granola) or if it’s what she’s being taught in her classes (she studies horticulture), or just something in the air around Oregon. Perhaps it’s a mix of things, but clearly she is changing. 

I like to consider myself a supportive husband. And Mel has been good to me. When family members asked her what I was planning to do with an advanced degree in English, rather than say “be homeless” (which is surely what she was thinking), she always blushed a little, and then stood up for me, telling family that I planed to teach, even though we both knew that getting a good teaching job with an MFA in Creative Writing was a long shot. There are just too many degrees and not enough jobs. But she knew that it was my dream to be a writer and a teacher, so she stood by me. And this support of my dream can still be seen. For example: we often go out to dinner with my English Major friends, and Mel looks confused by our intense conversations on literary theory, and she appears bored and a little irritated as we bitch about being under appreciated artists, and yet she always goes, and she never complains. 
And on the flip side, I have no idea what Mel is going to do with a degree in horticulture. But I know it’s her dream to work with plants. And sadly, I don’t think about plants much. I don’t even like to talk about plants. I eat mostly meat.
Sometimes I worry that we are becoming very different people. And yet I love her. I’ve heard divorced couples explain their separation with the simple phrase, “we just grew apart.” And I must say that Mel and I are both very different people than we were ten years ago, and thinking about that makes me nervous.
And so, a few days ago, I took a step to better understand my wife. I was in the bath, and on the lip of the tub was Mel’s Yes to Carrots shampoo. I stared at it for a while. I read the label a few times. At one point I held it side to side with my two-dollar bottle of Suave. I opened both bottles of shampoo, and sniffed. Mine smelled like musky cologne. It smelled masculine. It smelled like I wanted to smell. And then I smelled hers.
I assumed that it would smell… well… like carrots. Perhaps boiled and mashed carrots on a stovetop. But it didn’t. It smelled sweaty, almost like candy. And I will be honest here, my mouth watered a little. This confused me because I don’t think that shampoo should make a man salivate. It also caused mixed feelings. It did meet my early criteria of not smelling like poo. However, it didn’t smell right.
I smelled it again.

And then I took a deep breath, something similar to the breath someone takes before a blind plunge. Then I set down my shampoo, and flipped over Mel’s, and poured it into my hand. It was thicker than I expected: more of a paste. And as it slowly rolled into my palm, I swear I could hear change falling (nickels and dimes), and I tried to block out my curiosity of how much this crap costs.
I put it in my hair and started to scrub. I don’t have much hair, I usually shave my head, and so I didn’t use much shampoo. But I must say that it didn’t lather like I was used to. But the smell was very powerful. It overpowered the smell of bar soap and steam that was already in the room.
I rinsed my hair. And then I tried the Yes to Carrots conditioner, which smelled much like the shampoo, but was not nearly as thick. I let it sit on my scalp for a while. And I waited to feel something, something different, something a little more organic. I wanted to feel like I had a better understanding of my wife. But honestly, other than the smell, it just felt like a normal bath.
I rinsed and dried off. Then I got dressed.
I went into the living room. It was a little after 9 pm, so the kids were already asleep. Mel was sitting on the sofa, reading from a textbook like she always did around this time. I sat next to her and said, “Smell me.”
She gave me a suspicious look. Then she leaned in and took a sniff.
“Do I smell different?” I asked. “Do I smell a little more organic…perhaps? Maybe a little like carrots?” 

She smelled me again. Then she said, “Nope. Why?”
“Because I used your shampoo.”
“Cool,” Mel said.
Her lackluster reaction was not what I expected.
So I explained to her how I was worried that we were growing apart. And then I told her that the reason I used her shampoo was so I could better understand her.
“I know it seems silly,” I said. “But carrot shampoo seems silly to me. So… I just wanted to understand you. If that makes sense.”
Mel smiled. Then she kissed me, snuggled up next to me, and said, “Come to think of it, you do smell better.”
We kissed again. Then I raised my eyebrows, “Now we both smell like carrots. Sexy… right?”
Mel laughed and called me a nerd.  

You would also enjoy Confessions Of A Stay At Home Dad.  


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Clint Edwards was blessed with a charming and spitfire wife, a video game obsessed little boy, and a snarky little girl in a Cinderella play dress. When Clint was 9-years-old his father left. With no example of fatherhood, he had to learn how to be a father and husband through trial and error. His essays on parenting and marriage have been featured in Huffington Post Parents, Huffington Post Weddings, and The Good Men Project. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.