We pick cold cuts with our unwashed fingers from styrofoam plates
My wife and I now live in Zamalek, in a flat with a terrific Nile view, a small kitchen and a limited storage space.We own two armoires, one chest of drawers and one side cabinet. Since we moved there from our separate abodes, my wife has allotted me one drawer and two shelves. “Sweetie, but you have moved nothing in yet. Look at your shelves, they are empty! I was not sure what to say. Even with my trimmed-down lifestyle, there is no way I could fit even a fraction of my belongings in the space she’s giving me. I own 36 T-shirts, 27 used pairs of sports socks, an original 1977 beach towel the size of Texas with two small holes on the side, four terrycloth bathrobes and 29 scarves, two of which served in Desert Storm. I need at least two extra shelves, but this is not the problem.
I have moved in, but only in the flesh for now. I keep one terrycloth bathrobe in the conjugal flat and the rest of my wardrobe stays downtown, in the bachelor homeland of lore. Before you think I am being paranoid, let me tell you what happened to my bathrobe, the one item of clothes I have subjected to my wife’s attention. She WASHED it. She went ahead and sent it to the laundry, and that was on the first morning following the first night she made acquaintance with this totally innocent item of clothing. I came home, ready to have the one beer and one cigarette I am now allowed to have at night, and here it was: damp. I had to spend the evening wrapped in a blanket, teeth shattering in a cold balcony with a river view.
I’ve learned to think ahead. In marriage, as in war, one has to anticipate the adversary’s next move, and do something about it before it’s too late. She wants me to bring more clothes in. I have no problem with that. My problem is with her next move. “Where is my shirt, darling? I would say. “It’s in the dry cleaning, sweetie.Could you pass there on your way to work and pick it up and get the linen back with you? But here first honey, please take this scarf and skirt with you.Tell them the scarf is to be dry-cleaned and the skirt is to be washed at low temperature. Make sure you talk to Samiha, not Ali.And ask them if they know how to remove wine stains from jackets. Then stop by the pharmacy next door and see if they have a water-based nail-polish remover. This is what would happen if she gets her hand on my wardrobe.
The thing with women is that they want to improve your life. It does not matter if you’re happy, if you’re completely satisfied, if you’re so full of yourself and believe you’re an icon and will go to heaven. None of this matters.Whatever you have, they’ll have to improve.Whatever makes you happy, they’ll have to make better, regardless of the consequences. My wife never does anything for her self.Well, she does, but who cares.Whatever makes her happy is fine by me. But the bulk of her time is dedicated to me, to her one true love, to our life together, to our home, to our combined and entwined and indelibly merged lives.
The other day I got a call from a friend. “Do you want any special type of glasses for the thanksgiving party at your house this weekend? she said. Now what do you say to that,”Yes dear, some Vera Wang with an art deco touch would do just fine! My friends drink from plastic glasses in parties, and that’s in the good parties. We drink Stellas from the bottle.We smoke in the house.We sit on the floor.We pick cold cuts with our unwashed fingers from styrofoam plates, and that’s in the fancy parties.
Now, I am inviting 21 friends to a seated dinner, in my house, with catered food, and I am thankful she didn’t issue written invitations, although she did send SMS messages saying “RSVP. My idea of a party has been to invite three friends and tell them to tell the rest, and tell everyone to bring a friend.
Then I would serve cheese and bread and cucumber and order pizzas later on and have the guests pay.This is how things are done in the land of the bachelor, the homeland of my forefathers, the land in which I took my first breath in life and that will in my mind remain Mecca and Jerusalem and Babylon combined.