Recently I heard an intelligent accountant express his understanding about women. His opinion could be called many things, but certainly neither “intelligent,” nor “understanding.” According to him, the reason men and women sometimes have difficulty relating is because women don’t think rationally. “Women are emotional, not logical,” he proclaimed, emphasizing his opinion with an index finger held skyward.
The Neanderthal sometimes says the funniest things. I am guessing this particular caveman doesn’t have the best of marriages – unless his wife is so illogical as to find her husband’s primitive condescension charming. My wife Ann runs our household efficiently and intelligently, which includes managing our finances, our meals, our home, our work schedules – and of course, our teenage rug rats, both of whom are blessed with strong personalities. So I take exception to this accountant’s observation. There is nothing illogical about Ann.
Except, of course, her ideas about home décor.
My boys have often asked me about the uncomfortable pillows on my bed. There are big ones and medium ones and small ones. They are festooned with embroidery, or sequins, or knobby wooden beads, which makes them anything but comfortable for actually cushioning your head. At last count these pillows had multiplied to fifteen. Their various shapes and colors require that they be painstakingly arranged once the bed is made in a precise array I find impossible to remember.
My boys think I should get rid of all the uncomfortable pillows. Privately I agree. These decorative objects defy all logic. Clearly the sole purpose of a pillow is to provide something soft to snuggle – not to increase one’s work load.
But Ann seems to have different ideas. So instead of the “pillow talks” you’d expect between husband and wife, Ann and I have pillow arguments. Sometimes these occur when we are making the bed. I complain like a broken record, pointing out the extra work required to properly place her darn pillows. Or sometimes the dispute erupts when I am having trouble falling asleep and vent my frustration by flinging one of the unfortunate pillows onto the floor – sequins notwithstanding.
“Why have so many uncomfortable pillows which are impossible to arrange?” I ask rhetorically, index finger pointing skyward. “I know an intelligent accountant who would call this illogical!”
In surgery there is an anatomical problem that requires repair. Surgery is logical: a purposeful action performed in a concentrated, orderly manner that directly impacts the welfare of another human being. Operating rooms make sense as well. You can look in every nook and cranny – there is not one fancy pillow to be found.
Never once have I received a logical answer from Ann regarding the fifteen pillows on our bed. Sometimes my questions about pillows make Ann laugh. Sometimes they elicit only eye-rolling. Once in a while she attempts to formulate an explanation. Ann, an artist, shares her consideration that esthetically arranged visual elements uplift the spirit, lending our mundane lives a touch of the divine. Balancing the functionality of the objects we use with an eye toward manifesting beauty is an act of meditation, even worship.
Mostly I ignore all this profound crap. A minor marital squabble is far more enjoyable. I guess I am a caveman too. So over the years Ann has made it clear to me that if she ever wants my opinion about home décor, she will make sure to give it to me.
Through the decades of my marriage and practicing medicine I have learned sometimes it’s best for a man to simply stand out of a woman’s way. What remarkable beauty you will see! I remember Ann’s cesarean sections in the O.R., the wondrous transformation of her frightened face when she heard our child cry for the first time. Indeed I have witnessed thousands of times the miracle of a woman bringing new life into this world. I am in awe and wonder and perhaps, confusion, too, about the beauty of womanhood. Why would anyone sacrifice their body and blood and soul to usher into this world in an explosion of God’s love a newborn baby?