Phone in hand, I hear my husband come into the room.
“Oh you’re up! May I kiss you?”
“No.” I say as I’m watching a spoken word artists describe her life as an overweight woman and trying to figure out why the world hasn’t figured out she’s sexy.
He looks hurt for a moment and then proceeds to crawl on top of me and continue watching the video with me. Laying his hands on my body and being distracting. I sigh and start the video over so he can hear the full experience in context. He is finally engrossed by this act and allows me to finish the work in a semi peaceful state and catch the moments I missed when he was attempting to use me as a means of gratifying himself in some affectionate manner.
When we are done he asks “May I hug you?” And again I say no. He nearly begins to fret for a moment before I stop him.
“Don’t act like you didn’t just come up in here like I was’t already busy and start taking my attention from me.”
What he doesn’t realize is that things like this are important to me. Hearing my sisters speak truth about the daily struggle of being a woman is relatable. Not only that, but he wasn’t even awake next to me to enjoy my morning with, so I took an opportunity to enjoy it for myself. I knew that I probably looked like I wasn’t doing anything important. I knew to him I was just on my phone and probably looked mighty fine in my lavender spaghetti strap satin nightly. All thighs and hips and legs.
So I ask why I must give up what I was actively doing, for the sake of what he merely wanted to do? And why is it at his convenience, but when I want sex, he’s too tired?
This is not the first time my husband has done things like this. I’ll be walking to the bathroom and he’ll stand in my way in the hall and pull me into an embrace, paying no mind to the direction I’m heading. His need to satisfy his desire for a hug seemingly more important than my very normal biological need to empty my bladder. Or I’ll be trying to make dinner and he will do the same. Or I’ll be laying on the couch in conversation with a friend on my phone via text and he’ll lay on me like I’m not doing anything. Or worse, I’ll be reading and he’ll do the same, as if he has a greater right to my attentions than I do. Than he has the audacity to make jokes, such as when he takes me out to eat and makes a shocked face when he gets the bill. It was funny the first time…now it just makes me wonder if 10% of it is how he feels. As if I’m really not worth the cost of an evening of togetherness.
If my time is so important that you act as if you own it, the why am I not worthy of a nice dinner out or some kind of return?
That’s what these actions tell me. That he feels he has a greater right to my time than I do, and I’m not worthy of any sort of return. That because we signed a marriage license that suddenly, he owns me, and disregards any ownership I may have to himself or even myself. That he gets to take whenever he wants, and acts hurt when I choose to say no. Making me feel like saying no is a privilege he bestows upon me, and that I really don’t have a right to say it. Of course he obeys, but how much of that is obligatory to the law, and not what he feels he stakes claim to?
I love him no matter what, but I refuse to be put into a position where I always have to take the hit. Am I over reacting? Maybe. Do I care? No.
I had him read this. He told me I was being heard. I asked him why I had to get angry to be heard? No response. When I asked him how it made him feel after reading it his response was “Like I had my balls put on a chopping block.” I asked why. He said the very word I thought he might “Ego.”
Is my husband a closeted misogynist?
We live in a society where people don’t know the difference between justice and ego. Autonomy and dignity have gone out the window, and they wonder why I feel like I still need feminism. I once had to describe “white privilege” to my husband because he thought it was just for rich people and “he wasn’t privileged” because he’s “not rich.” I told him simply being white and a male gave him a upper hand in our society and he was shocked and confused. As if the whole world was turned upside down. I still don’t think he believes me. I’m not sure of much. But this is what the toxic masculinity of our culture has taught him, and as a 30 something year-old man, he’s having a bit of a rude awakening. It’s culture shock. It’s making him think harder and more carefully about how he behaves…and he doesn’t like it.
I told him he needs to get more uncomfortable, and stay that way. Nothing is a guarantee in life and their ain’t no friends here.