Thursday, 2 April 2009

Chameleon Love

There's a new teacher where my husband works. He is athletic, handsome, and still single. All the women teachers have a mild crush on him: he's a dashing sort of guy and he has good manners. I know this: we gave him a lift to school one morning and he held the door open for me. (My husband doesn't hold the door open for me unless I'm sick or carrying something heavy. He knows better.)

On Valentine's Day, this man, Ender, ordered a gigantic bouquet of roses for his girlfriend. All of my husband's female colleagues oohed and ahed over this and made an even bigger fuss over Ender than usual. Such a lovely bouquet -- they only wished their husbands were still so romantic! This irritated my husband. He isn't really a bouquet of roses sort of husband, I'm afraid. He has brought me the odd bunch of flowers over the years, the odd bit of jewelry and box of chocolates, but this isn't really his style.

And honestly, I don't mind one bit. Hana yori dango, as they say in Japanese -- dumplings are better than flowers -- and I'm inclined to agree. Of course, if I could have dumplings and flowers, that would be great, but it would also be asking for too much, which is something my husband seldom gets from me.

"Flowers are okay," my husband ventured, "but wouldn't you rather have a man who can cook?"

My husband, I probably don't need to point out, can cook.

To his surprise, they all disagreed with him. "No! We'd rather have a man who brought us flowers on Valentine's Day!"

"What about a man who can give you a back rub? Or who'll do the dishes when it isn't his turn?"

My husband, I probably don't need to tell you, can do these too, though often not without begging on my part and griping on his.

But the ladies were adamant: they didn't want a man who could cook or do the odd bit of housework or give them a massage, they wanted the flowers. And they gave my poor husband a hard time for admitting that he was the sort of man who didn't think flowers and other traditionally romantic gestures were de riguer in a relationship.

The other day we were out walking when my husband suddenly stopped in his tracks and held his hand out. "Don't anybody move. Do you see that?"

We all looked, but no, we didn't. "See what?" we chorused.


He pointed and we looked again -- and saw it. A chameleon. Sitting right there on the trunk of a tree, far too close to the road. We've seen a few of these run over by cars, and our Eldest brought one home back in October, for a week that was all too short. Ever since our last one disappeared, I've been pining for another.

Gently, my husband managed to encourage the chameleon away from the tree and onto his hand. And he gave it to me. It is now sitting with its tail coiled around the Pakistani Night that I've planted on our porch, a beautiful little creature that changes its color from green to camouflage to lime yellow.

So, although I'm sure Ender's fiancee loved her flowers as much as I hope she loves Ender, I'm not envious. I've got a husband who can cook, do the dishes when it isn't his turn, and manage the occasional neck rub.

And he finds me chameleons.


Charlie said...

You, dear Mary, have made me ashamed of me. The only thing I ever give Martha are head colds.

tanita davis said...

Color me jealous. I dearly want a chameleon. I miss my snake.

I'm not a flower kind of girl. I've never been fond of those, or the idea of Christmas trees... why do we give each other dead greenery?

laura said...

A husband who can (and will) cook, give back rubs, and spot a chameleon is a wonderful person indeed! Do you know how many cheating husbands I know who lavish their (unsuspecting) wives with flowers? Too many! Picking up a bunch of flowers (besides being a guilt eraser) is a lot easier than helping around the house. I will admit that Hans does buy me flowers on occasion (but not on Valentine's Day, waaaay too expensive!) but that's the kind of person he is, and anyway he usually just gets them at WalMart. Now if I could just get him to bring me dumplings (my favorite) that would be great.

Jacqui said...

I love this post and I totally agree.

The Mighty Thor is a great cook :)

Robin said...

I completely agree with "hana yori dango". And "hana yori dango" plus a chameleon is simply perfect. (As long as you don't have to feed it bugs.)

angryparsnip said...

Flower can be picked up anywhere fast no thought needed.
To cook, help with the house and find you a Chameleon now that is the gift of TIME. Fabulous!

Merry Monteleone said...

I'm not much for lizards, Mary, but that was a wonderful story.

My husband type person can't boil water, he does help with the house work on occasion, and when he brings me flowers it's always from the grocery store, which means I have to arrange them and quite frankly, I suck at that... they look sad and off and weird when I try to arrange them... I'd much prefer chocolates... but, ya know, if you complain too much you don't even get the flowers, so I just try to say thank you and shut the hell up :-) Okay, sometimes I complain about the arranging them bit.

Kara said...

please tell me that that's his last name and that is first name is "Book"

Mary Witzl said...

Charlie -- You can't fool me: women like Martha don't stick around if all they get from their honeys is colds. Just ask her and I know she'll agree. And don't you have plenty of lizards out there in Arizona? Is Martha a fan of reptiles by any chance?

Tanita -- In a few months, they'll be all over the place here, I'm told. But right now, they're still quite rare. Too bad you can't take one back with you, or I'd suggest a visit here in June.

I LOVE snakes! I think they're more beautiful than jewelry. Pity about the rodent thing, though... I had enough of those around with the cat.

Laura -- You're right. We used to know a man who bought his wife flowers for no reason at all just because he loved her. Until their neighbors got to know them, everyone suspected the husband of gross infidelity.

Flowers on Valentines Day smacks, to me, of keeping florists in business. I'd take dumplings over roses myself -- or a nice selection of blossoms from Walmart.

Jacqui -- Good for Thor -- and you! I'm almost embarrassed to mention this, but when my husband and I first got together, I had no idea what a big deal it was to have hooked up with a partner who could cook. I assumed that because I could, it was a superfluous skill. Idiot.

Robin -- I don't think I have to feed it bugs, as there are plenty of free range, organic critters on our enclosed porch. But if I had to, I think I could manage. Especially when it opens its mouth just like a baby bird does -- so cute!

AP -- I really agree. The ladies who swoon over flowers seem silly to me. It's easy to pick up a bunch of flowers, hand them to your partner, then buzz off. Cooking a meal is labor intensive and a real labor of love. (So is washing up after it sometimes, but never mind.)

Merry -- I can arrange flowers, but I usually do a bad job because I'm rushing to get dinner finished or in a hurry to do something else. And I gripe about being the only one in the family who is deemed capable of finding the scissors (which someone else has always used and not put back), the vase (which almost always has something else in it already), etc. So whenever I'm handed a bunch of flowers, my reaction is often less than thrilled. Come to think of it, no wonder I don't get flowers.

Mary Witzl said...

Kara -- I change everybody's name so they can't google themselves and learn that I've been writing about them. But Book Ender would be a brilliant name!

Bish Denham said...

You absolutely have the husband with the better set of "options." Mine doesn't really cook, though he does make eggcellent breakfasts, but he washes dishes, does laundrey, sweeps and mops, shakes out rugs, cleans the bathroom, does windows, rubs feet and combs my long hair after I've washed it...all without being asked!

That's love.

No chameleons here, but we do have lots of lizards running around the yard.

adrienne said...

What a charming story. A chameleon whisperer has to be a keeper!

Charles Gramlich said...

That sounds like me and Lana. I brought her home a tortoise shell the other week.

Mary Witzl said...

Bish -- Your husband combs out your hair? Okay, NOW I'm envious!

It sounds like you and I have it made. In fact, we probably shouldn't be telling anyone about these guys. Have I mentioned that my husband snores? That whenever he cooks, he leaves the kitchen looking like Grand Central Station? That he tells the same tired old jokes over and over? (Okay -- that ought to do it.)

Adrienne Ooh, I like that: chameleon whisperer. I think I'll call him that.

Charles -- If Lana's anything like me, she'll have appreciated that tortoise shell more than a bouquet of roses. Especially if you're not into arranging flowers yourself.

Charles --

Kanani said...

Ah, the chameleon is a dear gift!

My husband has always been very sweet when it comes to flowers. I love them. They're something special I wouldn't buy for myself. Lately because we live 3000 miles apart, he's been having them sent. And when I arrived in Savannah, there were a dozen gorgeous tulips waiting for me!

Chocolatesa said...

"Hana yori dango" I love that! Heehee :P I've always preferred practical things (especially food) to flowers too :D

Postman said...

Ah-hah, now I've got an ace in the hole if my (future) wife ever accuses me of not being romantic enough. I need to run out and find her a chameleon. An engagingly witty and delightful post. (Even suspenseful near the end there.)