Thursday, February 14, 2013

What My Husband Is Like

R makes constant appearances on the blog, but B is more of a lurking presence. Partly this is intentional (because I choose not to put his picture online, and otherwise maintain his privacy), and partly because I find it easier to talk about motherhood than marriage.

But it's a pity, because to me B is a very interesting character. He frequently drives me crazy, and I don't always feel loving (or even friendly, going for the jugular instead), but since I met him I have found the twists and turns of his mind endlessly fascinating. It's like studying a painting by Brueghel: the longer you look at it, the more there is to see and the more layers of meaning are uncovered.

I met B's roommate first, and naturally asked him what B was like. "Well," he said, "he's really smart...but he's a little weird. He's cool though." This is a good basic description.

B is really smart, the kind of person who gets an almost perfect score on his SAT despite taking it hungover and without studying (this was during his dissolute high school years). He was a scientist (actually there's a paper published in a major journal for which he was a co-author); now he's an economist. He speaks (and reads, which is much harder) fluent Chinese and is a voracious reader (he's read all of Gibbon, Dostoevsky, Hoffmann and most of Balzac, among other things).

He is also definitely eccentric. There's the way he doesn't care about clothes, social norms or other people's opinions, the way he used to eat pancakes for every meal to save money, the way he doesn't hear people when they are talking (because he's so wrapped up in his own thoughts: his parents used to call him the "absent-minded professor"). He has unusual interests (Bitcoin, pharmacology, cotton mills, 1950s Japanese cinema among others), and when he's into something, pursues it with a single-minded, almost obsessive focus, thinking about it almost every waking minute.

There's other aspects to his character too: his sensitivity (he usually knows what I'm feeling better than I do, to the point I regularly ask him what my feelings are), his loyalty (once B likes something/someone, he likes it forever), his critical nature (because B's list of approved things may be stable, but it's short), his cynicism, his playfulness.

We've been a couple for all of our adult lives and been through so much together: cancer scares, surgeries in foreign countries, childbirth, family drama of all types (death, divorce, insanity, addiction and so on), living abroad, depression...I love him, of course, but more than that, he is a part of myself. It's hard to imagine life without him, or even myself without him (because for better or worse, our relationship has shaped me in so many ways).

This post is part of Becoming Peculiar's Meet the Spouse prompt.


  1. what a wonderful post! I'm so intrigued by him!!!! although I can tell you from this post that if I was married to him it would drive me insane since I have such a strong...(needy/opinionated/strong willed) personality

    1. Haha, I think I would drive a lot of people insane too. Maybe that's what love really is: finding someone who isn't bothered by your otherwise-maddening character traits.

  2. Hooray, thanks for sharing this! Your husband sounds like a fascinating person. I love his eccentricities. I'm SOOO impressed by his reading accomplishments. And I really got a kick out of how you approached describing him. You obviously love him, but you talk about him without any of the usual sentimentality that's stereotypical of women in love. For some reason, I found that particularly romantic. :)