I love those subtle social hints long-term partners are magically able to telegraph – when I’m at a party, for instance, happily schmoozing, and Husband suddenly appears at my side holding my coat, wearing his own, and jingling the car keys.
I’m pretty astute. I usually pick right up on that.
Husband has found, over the years, that meaningful looks can be ignored. Pointed glances toward the door may be overlooked. Exaggerated throat-cutting motions from across the room often go unnoticed.
The direct approach, on the other hand, brings immediate results.
Decades ago, Husband is still a novelty as my mother and sister and I face a thorny social dilemma. We have to come up with a plausible excuse to avoid attending some obligatory function or other. There are onion-skin layers of mannered complication. Round and round we go, worrying at the problem as if it were a sore tooth.
“The truth is always appropriate,” says Husband, without looking up from his crossword puzzle.
We three women stop mumbling over our bubbling caldron. We look at him. We look at each other.
He has a point.
To this day, we trot that phrase out on such occasions. It’s become a family mantra. We don’t always act accordingly, of course. But we’re at least aware of the option.
When friends stop by after work recently, I give them a drink and a snack. Time passes. Husband is in the kitchen cooking. It smells wonderful. My need to invite them to stay for dinner hangs heavily in the air. They are good friends – surely we can make it work? Husband senses this. He sends a Don’t Do It signal, which I ignore.
I can’t ignore the note above, waved like semaphore behind their backs.
I tell the truth. It sets me free!
How truth-ish are you? Does truth-esque sometimes suffice?