Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Honey Badger B Don't Care

One of the strange things about B is how indifferent he is to most things. I have an opinion about everything (as you can see from the title of the blog!) and often long to give people unsolicited advice, because I feel like I really know what they ought to do (I am usually able to restrain myself: good, because there are few things more irritating than ignorant strangers assuming they know your life better than you do).

B, on the other hand, never has this temptation because he really doesn't care what decisions people make. For example, I ask B what he thinks about single motherhood by choice. I have a long, complex viewpoint on this, depending on the situation, the child(ren)'s personalities and gender, the mother's position in life and socio-economic status, etc. B says, "I don't care. People should do whatever they feel like, it's not my business." He also feels this way about people's sexual habits, marriages, spending habits, life choices, and so on. This often makes him seem really tolerant--a completely false impression, as for things he does care about he's even more judgmental than I am.

In daily life, B's indifference is often convenient. Because he doesn't care about home decor, I am able to arrange the house exactly as I like; I spend money as I see fit, spend my time (and our free time) doing what I want to do, and make 90% of the decisions about little R's life. He would never tell me how to run the house, dress, work (or not work), or organize my time. He does tell me to exercise, but only because I asked him to (though I think if I were fat, he would actually care about this).

This is probably the main reason we have never fought about little R or parenting. He isn't indifferent to little R's welfare of course, but as he trusts my judgment and has no particular attachment to any parenting decision/strategy (about this, he is indifferent), he leaves all decisions to me (breastfeeding or not? co-sleeping or not? how to discipline? sleep training? cloth or disposable diapers? daycare or not? activities?).

Sometimes this trait can be annoying. For example, B does not care about clothes (he often wore a monk outfit around school when I first met him; for a change, he would wear grey flannel long underwear as pants). So if he is going anywhere important (like to a conference to present to hundreds of people) I have to dress him, otherwise he will just show up in some wrinkled, mismatched outfit. Luckily he has a job where eccentric appearances are not that unusual.

He also doesn't care about social norms or customs very much. So celebrating holidays, writing thank you notes, giving gifts, and attending family functions are all things whose importance escapes him (he only does them to please me). At least he is consistent: if we never celebrated his birthday again, he wouldn't care, and when asked what gifts he wants, he always suggests things I would like to buy (for myself).

For the most part though, I really like this about him. It is very soothing to me to be constantly with someone with so little anxiety about "fitting in" or appearing "normal". It also fits in with my concept of how a man ought to behave, as both my father and grandfather are stereotypical eccentrics. As some valuable advice, my grandfather told me his strategy for making old clothes last longer. "When people point out the stain on my shirt to me, I pretend I didn't notice and say, 'Oh, really? Thank you for telling me.' Then they think it was just an accident that I am wearing a stained shirt." (He had a very successful professional career in academia.)


  1. Haha that's funny about your grandfather. I think it's definitely helpful to have a balance like you and B have..Mike sometimes surprises me with opinions on the things he really cares about that I thought he wouldn't care about at all!

    1. Interesting. Usually I have the opposite reaction to B: "You mean, you don't care about that?????" One thing he does care about is food though: he will spend hours searching for the perfect place to eat. I am more of a gourmand than I used to me, but I'm still a little bit of a food heathen and am happy eating hot dogs from a stand or a package of cookies for lunch. It always surprises me that finding the perfect bowl of ramen really is worth all that trouble to B.