Saturday, September 10, 2011

You cut tomato, and I cut tomatoes

Set your tomato preferences here
Michael told me this week that he thinks he often concedes to me in an argument.  Because I’m older, because he first knew me as an authority figure (he was a reporter; I was an editor, but not his editor), he still subconsciously believes, he says, that I must always be right. This isn’t true all the time, but enough so that it apparently gnawed at him.

We’ve been talking about this lately because of an ongoing discussion regarding two rather quotidian items: how to cut tomatoes and vacuum wood floors.

Last week Michael asked me for the 875th time in our life together how I like a tomato cut. (I like it cut across; he cuts from top to bottom). I figured he was just being passive-aggressive, because it’s not really that hard to remember. So this time I just opted out. I don’t care anymore how you cut the blasted tomato, I said. Eureka! I realized that I really didn’t care how he cuts a tomato. It tastes the same. There is no right way.

Who's Who?
If I’m honest with myself, I can admit that having Michael think I was right all the time gave me a little ego boost. We both know I'm wrong a lot. (There was that time I was outraged in the supermarket checkout line to find David Duke, leader of the Louisiana Ku Klux Klan, on the cover of a national magazine, only to have Michael tell me it was really Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman). 

But we both fell for the myth (she must be right: she's older!) without even realizing it. Now, when I drag that myth out of the dark corner of my brain and into the light, it seems not only silly but dangerous.

I still think I’m right about the wood floors, though.


  1. Ok, now I'm curious - what *is* the right way to vacuum floors? :)

  2. Love your blog. Being 19 years older than my husband he does not always defer to me - maybe because we are both strong-willed first children? However I am noticing how I have crafted a way of "advising" him on tasks, claiming more of life's experiences. Last week he planned a picnic at our favorite park to honor the end of summer. I had to restrain myself from offering my "advice" on how to better start the charcoal fire. When I didn't interfere I noticed that while it was taking longer for the fire to start - we sat and peacefully enjoyed the beautiful evening, the wildlife and the reflections on the lake. Hmmmmmm...

  3. I am so glad this subject came up! I kept finding myself assuming I was right because I was older (and therefore wiser?!) and he should listen to what I was telling him. And of course, he would question 'my' authority (how dare he!) on such matters as how to mow the lawn or load the dishwasher, etc. After a few of these, I would just tell him to do it his way, thinking that he'll soon see that I was right and he was wrong, that my way was better than his.
    Instead what I learned was: the dishes are still clean, the lawn is still cut, and that once again his innovative ideas weren't wrong, just different.
    Gotta love a man that loves you enough to keep on keeping on :)

  4. Blog Princess G: Our disagreement about vacuuming wood floors is so arcane you don't even want to know. It has to do with whether the brush on the attachment should be up or down. Aren't you sorry you asked?

    KK and Corly: Thanks for sharing your bouts with "knowing it all" as the older (wiser) woman. It does tend to creep up on us, doesn't it?

  5. Sheri and Michael -- Loved your story! I'm always attracted to older women stories. My husband is 15 years younger than I and we've never found this to be a problem. In fact, I've always been quite proud of our age difference and my brilliant and handsome, child-desiring husband! After we found ourselves in love, he told me he had always found older women much more attractive than "girls." Music to my ears!
    (Before we were married, his mother said to me, "I'll give you five years.") This year we celebrated 48 years of happiness together! We have three children, seven grandchildren, and now one great-grandchild. In December we will travel to meet our great-granddaughter! Exciting!

  6. I am roaring with laughter about the tomato argument. My husband (20 years younger) cuts the tomato vertically, when everybody on earth should know that tomatoes are sliced horizontally, if going on a sandwich! He calls me the Tomato Nazi because I have lots of rules about tomatoes, like never refrigerating them before they are sliced. I referr to his cutting technique as the Michigander Metho after I learned that his whole family cuts them the "wrong" way. This is definitely a geography based argument, rather than an age based one.

  7. AnxietyDreams: I'm from Michigan! And I learned to cut tomatoes horizontally! I also don't refrigerate them. So I don't know if this is geography based. But I do know Michael and I have been talking a lot more lately about how I'm not so right about everything.