I adore The Bloggess and she has been the subject of laudatory posts I’ve written here and here. Yesterday she wrote about a fight she had with her husband, who sounds like a wonderful man if you follow her blog, and I could not resist giving her the following advice in the comments:
OK, here is the magic spell to say that will save your marriage, except that you may have a big fight about who has to say it:
I’m sorry. You were right, dear, AND, I was wrong.
The first two phrases are healing, but what really pulls the poison out is the last one.
Right: “I’m sorry I hurt you.”
Wrong: “I’m sorry IF I hurt you.”
Why is the “IF” wrong?: The “IF” is a weasel word. When you’ve hurt someone and they are acting hurt and angry, you should be pretty clear about the connection between what you did/said and the fact that it resulted in hurt/anger. The fact that you may think it should NOT have resulted in hurt/anger counts zero against the fact that it DID.
Also, for the men:
Question: If a man is alone in a forest and no woman can hear him, is he still wrong?
So that should settle it once and for all.
Then I thought for a few minutes about photos The Bloggess has posted of herself — she is partial to cleavage-revealing, V-neck tops, is where I’m going with this — and my heart melted with sympathy for Victor, so I added this comment:
Regarding Victor being captured by the sight of your breasts and rendered unable to focus his attention where you thought it ought to be, I believe the poet William Butler Yeats speaks for nearly all straight men, and frankly, a LOT of us lesbians, and explains why with this poem — although he is writing about hair, and it sounds like Ms. Gregory had a precursor of the Princess Leia coif:
For Anne Gregory
‘Never shall a young man,
Thrown into despair
By those great honey-coloured
Ramparts at your ear,
Love you for yourself alone
And not your yellow hair.’
‘But I can get a hair-dye
And set such colour there,
Brown, or black, or carrot,
That young men in despair
May love me for myself alone
And not my yellow hair.’
‘I heard an old religious man
But yesternight declare
That he had found a text to prove
That only God, my dear,
Could love you for yourself alone
And not your yellow hair.’
I hope this helps you to forgive him.
Margaret’s partner before me had quite the problem with narcissism, a trait distinguished by non-stop blaming, shaming and derogatory remarks directed at everyone else in the world. I didn’t have many encounters with “Rhino,” but I knew how ceaselessly she had blamed and shamed Margaret in their four years together, just before and after Margaret was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. So I told Margaret at the very beginning of our relationship that, no matter what, she was never going to be wrong, or blamed, or shamed, or put-down again. I just felt the universe owed her a guaranteed time of freedom from all that and I wanted to make sure she got it. This turned out to be one of the easiest promises to keep of my life, for all 20-plus years we had until Margaret’s death on Dec. 7, 2004. This is partly because I just am not much into blaming/shaming/put-downs, but really mostly due to the fact that I can’t remember a time Margaret ever was wrong. And she had absolutely lovely breasts.
Update, 7/15/09: Dear Moe Lane weighs the virtues of the magic spell against having teeth pulled without an anesthetic. Yes, it’s that powerful!