Archives for June 2013

How Relationships are Like Couches: If You’re Not Careful, You’ll End Up with Something Ugly

Yellow Couch + Yotei

How you choose a couch is a good indicator of your relationship fears.

“I couldn’t commit to the couch,” a friend told me. “I seriously think I have a phobia about new furniture.”

“You didn’t buy it?” I asked.

“No,” said my friend. “I went back to World Market and sat on it again. And, I measured it again. But, I just couldn’t buy it! [Pause] I did buy a bottle of wine and a couple of cool martini glasses, though.”

I laughed. This was me at IKEA a couple weeks ago. Only it wasn’t a couch I couldn’t commit to, it was a mirror to hang over my couch. I was with another friend of mine who, in response to my indecisiveness as to whether to buy a mirror or framed artwork – or some combination of both – stopped abruptly in the middle of the home décor department, looked at me, and said, “You know what your problem is? You are afraid you haven’t found the perfect thing for over your couch, so you have nothing.”

I stood there, listening. She went on. “Isn’t it better to try something, and if you don’t like it you can always take it down and put up something you love better? But, if you don’t start somewhere, how will you ever know what you want hanging over your couch?”

It occurred to me that perhaps my friend’s fear of selecting new furniture and my fear of choosing décor is one big metaphor for our fear of relationships. I mean, think about it – after a marriage that didn’t end happily-ever-after and many unsuccessful attempts at relationships over the course of my lifetime, why would I be able to easily choose artwork for my living room? How can my friend possibly select a couch for her house? What if we choose the wrong one? Again.

Granted, getting rid of a couch or some framed artwork is usually not as messy as divorcing your spouse. But, the fact that you have to change something out again just feels like a bunch of extra work to those of us that invested time, energy and money picking out that couch/painting/husband that didn’t work out the first time. Isn’t it just easier to live without a couch or a mirror or a partner at this point?

Clearly, this indecisiveness is a theme in my life. When I was eight years old, I played pony league baseball. I was the only girl on the team and I stunk. Every time it was my turn at bat, I would stand there waiting for the perfect pitch, never swinging at the ball for fear I wouldn’t hit it. Finally, my father said to me, “Wouldn’t it be better to strike out swinging than to strike out just standing there every time?” Even when I was eight, this made perfect sense. So, the very next game, I confidently walked up to the plate and took a swing at the first pitch. To my surprise, the bat made contact with the ball and I hit a foul.

“Way to get a piece of it, Karla!” my coach cheered me on. I held my breath, bat poised, waiting for the next pitch. The little redheaded boy on the pitcher’s mound wound up, threw the ball and hit me smack in the face. With a broken nose and two black eyes, that was the end of my baseball career. When my dad arrived at the hospital, he looked at me and said enthusiastically, “Well, at least you struck out swinging!”

The other night at IKEA, I took a swing and brought home some mirrors that I promptly decided looked terrible over my couch. So I hung them in my hallway instead. And I didn’t even get hurt in the process. Maybe next time I have the guts to step up to the plate in a relationship, I’ll knock one out of the park.

How Kitchens are Like Penises and Why Women’s Feet Keep Getting Bigger

Still: Kitchen

A kitchen I would like to have.

I have kitchen envy. I am guessing it is something like guys experience with penis envy. Only it isn’t that my kitchen is too small and I wish I had a bigger one, but rather that my kitchen is actually too big for me. And not too big in the sense that I have so much space that I am pirouetting around the island while I chop onions, but, too big in the sense that I can’t reach anything. Let’s back up a minute.

When I was 14 years old, I grew to be five feet tall. Then I stopped. Of course, in my Italian family where most of the women are excited to say they are five feet, three inches tall (which is at least four inches taller than my grandmother), it seemed pretty normal that I never grew past 60 inches. My feet never got any bigger, either.

Consequently, my whole life I have heard, “You are so short!” and “Oh my gosh! You have the tiniest feet! I bet you find great deals on shoes.” That last statement comes from women who wear the average shoe size of 8 ½ or 9, which according to a recent study, says women’s feet are getting bigger because we eat too much junk food.

Now I am wondering: if women’s feet are getting bigger as a result of all the junk food we are consuming, wouldn’t that mean that men’s feet are also getting bigger? And, you know what they say about the size of a man’s foot.

Size. This brings me back to my kitchen. All the cabinets are really deep and up really high, relative to me anyway, because my kitchen was built for an average size adult. And, all five feet of me, except maybe my boobs, which I also inherited from the short, but voluptuous Italian women in my family, is anything but average size. So last night, as I was emptying the dishwasher and trying to shove all the mixing bowls into a deep corner cabinet above my head, I started to freak out. Then I flashed back to the other day in my friend Cathi’s kitchen.

Cathi has an AMAZING kitchen. As she gave me the tour on my first visit to her new home, I was in awe of her kitchen. “Look!” Cathi said excitedly, as she opened a drawer, “Everything has a place. All my pots and pans are so organized!”

Indeed they were. Her new home has a custom-built kitchen with all these soft close, or soft touch drawers – whatever you call them. There are all these dividers in the cabinets with racks and spaces for everything, and they don’t slam shut when you let go of the door. You just gently push with one finger and, ahhh, the drawer quietly closes itself. Like an automatic hatchback on a fancy car.

In addition to making noise when I slam them, my cabinets are so cavernous, that sometimes things just disappear in the back of them and in the middle of July, when I am standing on a ladder looking for my favorite margarita glasses, it never fails that instead of a margarita glass, I pull out a decorative Christmas candy dish that I haven’t seen since I opened wedding gifts 13 years ago.

I envy that Cathi can find her margarita glasses instantly. I covet her soft touch drawers and organized cabinets with all their specially made compartments. Perhaps to console me a bit, Cathi did mention that she really wishes she had a bit more counter space. Blah, blah, blah. 

When it comes to kitchens and penises, it’s not always size that counts. Maybe, just as I am fortunate enough to get cute shoes on sale because nobody else wears size 5 ½ or 6, I should also savor my abundant counter space and forget about the inaccessibility of the cabinets. After all, isn’t how you can best use the kitchen you were given really the key to any woman’s happiness?