@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
“You would think you came from a broken home with a bad divorce based on your feelings towards marriage,” my friend said to me.
It’s hard not to laugh at that, because it would seem that way. But he is wrong. My parents marriage is so fucking good, they have nearly ruined relationships for me. You might think, “that doesn’t make any fucking sense at all!” Or you might think, “that doesn’t make any sense at all,” if you don’t curse as much as I do.
Allow me to explain. Because I was going to anyway. My parents have never been romantic. Ever. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them hold hands. My dad seldom bought my mom flowers or jewelry, and not just because we didn’t have a lot of money, mostly because my Mom never really desired these things to begin with. Neither of them are particularly materialistic. Both my parents saw flowers as a “great way to waste money cause they’re just gonna die anyway, and we’d rather get some lobster bisque from Nicky’s on the Bay.” And my Mom would buy her own jewelry which was never expensive, but always cool and unique. My Mom never wanted fancy, expensive high end pocketbooks: Coach, Gucci, I can’t even name more because I don’t give a fuck about those things either. If she ever had one, it’s because she got it for $20 in a thrift store. For both of them, spending hundreds of dollars on a bag was totally batshit insane, and they couldn’t even fathom why people would want that. As bragging rights? Is that what it is? Even though I may have inherited their lack of romance, I’ve also inherited their lack of materialism. And that is worth bragging about. If a $400 handbag makes you happy, we have nothing in common. In fact, I don’t understand you at all.
So, while my parents have never been a lovey-dovey (gross) couple, they have always been a couple that laughed— a lot. Both from poor families, they climbed to middle class, bought a decent house which my dad fixed with his own hands, had three adorable blond kids (we were, in fact, really cute kids) that would grow up to disappoint them, and they had a deck (that my dad built with his own two hands), an out ground pool, a big back yard, a small boat, and a great love of a comfortable, and somewhat simple life (because life is never simple).
Would we have liked more money? Yeah. Of course. This is America, damn it, and we all want more money. But we didn’t need it. And what made my mom happy was blasting alternative 80’s rock, doing little dances on the deck, smothering her kids with kisses. And what made my dad happy was grilling food, cracking jokes, and sometimes, karate fighting bees (this is a weird thing he LOVED to do for some reason). Most of all, they loved family dinners with their kids where we would all be laughing at jokes, poking fun, my brother would fart and we would yell at him, and then, at the end of the night, we’d sit comfortably and closely on the couch wrapped in blankets, eating popcorn and watching TV. You couldn’t ask for a better childhood. Even I’m perplexed how I ended up such a dark and dour person given my ideal upbringing.
Of course we had our family issues. No family is without them (and I got stories about that too, which, in retrospect, are very funny at least to me). And of course we are all at least a little bit insane (I’m probably the most sane, which is horrifying in more ways than one). But my parents barely fought. They bickered, sure. Though, more than half the time their bickering ended in them laughing because one of them would say something sarcastic, breaking the tension and exposing the triviality of the fight. And so, when I think back on the early years of my life, I mostly remember laughing. A lot. Love is laughter, and laughter is love (which may completely explain my passion for comedy).
So, while my parents are nearly completely void of a romantic relationship, it is substituted with silliness. These are people who can make each other laugh so hard they’ll pee their pants. And that right there is what I want. I don’t want fancy things, diamonds or grand gestures: I want to laugh so hard I’ll pee my pants. That is the bar. That is what I want.
Now, I could go on and on about why I think marriage is outdated and pretentious and naive and fake and a tired institution created by religion and government to control people, but I have beaten that horse to death and then stabbed it many times after it’s death like a serial killer might do. I think all of this even though my own parents defy the odds and are a more than successful married couple. What they don’t understand is that THEY ARE THE EXCEPTION. There are exceptions. I happened to grow up in one. But that doesn’t mean I’m blind to the reality of it.
But this is not about that. I have a point and I’m getting to it, but I like exposition because I’m a writer and a bit narcissistic.
I hate Showers. Not hot, steamy showers in the morning, after a run, post surf session, coming home from a long frigid day, etc, etc. I fucking love those showers. For long periods of time, I can just stand in a hot shower and zone out (though I seem to zone out for long periods of time almost anywhere, which is actually increasing becoming a concern but that’s a blog for another time). I mean, specifically bridal and baby Showers. First of all, I’ve never woken up and thought, “wow, I can’t wait to go to this bridal/baby Shower today!” I’ve more than not dreaded going to them, and I never buy a gift from the registry, I just throw cash in a card and write, “buy what ever you damn well please.”
It seems to me that Showers are for aunts that don’t get out much and like to talk about granite counter tops (what is it with people over 40 talking about granite counter tops all the time? I never heard a conversation about granite counter tops and been like “I can’t wait to hear the end of this story.”) And that’s fine. Not everybody lives a life performing in front of hundreds of people making them laugh, and surfing waves, and pitching screenplay ideas to their writing partner in hopes to sell a dream.
Men are exempt from Showers because of “gender rules” but probably mostly because they don’t want to be there. Nowadays, I like to use the excuse that I identify as male, and that should be respected, as I’d rather watch football than watch someone open gifts. And if I am at a Shower, I prefer to drunk and/or high, because it’s the only way I can really tolerate small talk. If you’re a man reading this and blind to banality of a Shower, they usually provide a “champagne punch” that is so sweet and lacking alcohol, you’d sooner get diabetes from drinking it than get drunk. Luckily for me, my Mom is cool as shit, so we’ve on more than one occasion brought a water bottle with vodka in it because my Mom is cool as shit and doesn’t care for Showers either.
However, my anti-social behavior is not why I don’t like Showers. I mean, it doesn’t help by any means, but I have a point I still haven’t gotten to, and if you’re still reading this, I hope you’re at least entertained and find my words witty.
Showers are the complete antithesis of feminism. Bridal Showers and Baby Showers perpetuate old school thinking that women are best off as wives and mothers. You’re being rewarded for filling a gender role that is ancient, and you’re tricked into it by receiving gifts. Marriage is a sham that will likely fail. And what, you’re given pots and pans and cleaning supplies and bed sheets and plates and wine glasses and serving dishes you’ll maybe use once and a crock pot you’ll maybe use twice and bath salts you’ll probably never use and the “hilarious” lingerie. I want to shoot myself in the face the entire time. Even I could let the materialism pass, but this praises women as the person who belongs in the kitchen, doing the laundry, and serving the superior gender who is absent from this Shower: the one with the penis. How could you not see that?
I am a single, career driven, broke female who was raised by a blue collar family that feels guilty and cheap if anything is given to me. I use second hand pots and scratched pans that I’m told will give me cancer. Actually, almost everything in my apartment is second hand stuff that people were about to throw out (my microwave literally says “throw out” in sharpie on the top). And everything else, I bought myself. How come I couldn’t have a “Lori made her national comedy debut which she worked her ass off for” Shower? You would think I was being selfish and mildly insane if I did that (and I don’t deny being either of those things). Although I wouldn’t want that because a Shower for me would literally be my Hell. Independent and career driven women are not praised for busting their ass. Getting by on your own is way harder than having a partner in life. But this is not about pans that are giving me cancer. I could buy new pans if I wanted to. This is about women who are fooling themselves into maintaining gender roles.
I’m a little more forgiving when it comes to baby Showers. Because having a baby (especially the first one) does require a lot of shit that you probably don’t already have and kids are expensive as fuck, and they don’t ever stop being expensive as fuck. So, I actually understand this, though I still don’t want to go to it and have to listen to a conversation about granite countertops (maybe I just really hate conversations about granite countertops?). I will send a card with cash in it that says, “buy what ever you damn well please.” Which will probably be diapers. Lots and lots of diapers. But again, this is perpetuating and praising the role of women as mothers. Which is an important role, don’t get me wrong. My Mom is the best and cool as shit (and not just because we sneak vodka into baby Showers). She was a stay at home Mom and she always engaged in playing with us all the time and read us books doing different voices and accents for the characters and always loved us more than anything else in the entire world.
Being a Mom is one hundred thousand times more important than being a wife. But, being a Mom shouldn’t be a woman’s identity either. If it is, you’re going to fuck your kids up. Smothering your kid is the sure track to your kid rebelling. Kids look up to the parents who are excited about and enjoy life beyond their kids, with passions and hobbies and the ability to genuinely say and believe and demonstrate to their kids that it’s okay to be you, whatever the fuck that is, and that they don’t have to be tied to societal standards, gender roles, and follow the pack. Be yourself. Even if it’s weird. In fact, the weirder the better! That is how to be the best Mom. And also, get drunk with your daughter at Showers.