This is one of my favorite poems.
This Is Just To Say
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
William Carlos Williams
Whenever I read it I imagine a woman, leaving her lover’s house in the morning while he is still sleeping, eating the plums and leaving a note on the icebox door.
It says “forgive me,” but she doesn’t really mean it.
I am admittedly painting with a broad brush here, but when it comes to our important relationships with men (all men, not just our significant others), I wish women were more like this.
When I share moments of success with my girl friends (find cool readers at the dollar store, complete a kickass presentation), there is mutual high-fiving, back and forth praise for what we just accomplished. Kat, my work partner-in-crime and I spend a lot of time processing how our trainings go. When that happens there is not only a focus on what we did well or what we wish we would have done differently, there is also a really easy acknowledgement of how we can help each other improve because our skill sets are very different. It’s not threatening, it’s not negative, there are no egos at play as we talk about how we can get better.
There is an unspoken understanding that I got to this moment because of you and you got to this moment because of me.
The same doesn’t tend to hold true with guys.
When my husband proudly tells me that he cleaned the kitchen, I dutifully praise him and then go wipe down the counters. With a girl friend I would say, “Really? Are the counters somehow not a part of the kitchen?” But we don’t do this with guys because their alpha egos are fragile. That kind of honesty just wouldn’t go over well. On the rare occasion that a comment slips, hurt feelings or an argument ensues. It’s just not worth the drama. It’s easier to wipe down the counters.
In shared moments of accomplishment with men, we chix usually let them be the victors. Mars/Venus, testosterone/estrogen, breadwinner/caretaker, whatever Jungian archetype embedded in our collective unconscious, I let him believe that I got to this moment because of him.
It’s our own fault. Whether it’s biology, psychology, or the path of least resistance, we endure.
Which is why eating the plums and leaving an “apology” is such an appealing image.