Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Who's The Asshole?

I also remember every night when Jason would come to bed he would bring a glass of water with him. He would turn off the light and drink the glass of water. The gulps of his swallows drove me insane. I would get so mad at him... really, really mad. Looking back at it it seems like such a silly thing to be so emotional about. But that's what happens when you spend a long time with someone. They become your best friend and your worst enemy.

Every now and again someone sends me a message on Facebook or emails me and I kind of develop a crush on them. Wait, that came out wrong. I don't develop a crush on everyone who emails me, but every now and again someone composes a message that just strikes me somehow, you know?

I've met a lot of badass people on the nets here so I don't take folks emailing me lightly. I can't always respond to every, single email, but I read them all carefully. You never know who you might find in your inbox. Also, I once emailed this blogger I was crushing on and felt so totally stupid about it - so I know that it takes a lot to email someone you've not met in person, you know? Especially if you really like their writing because then you spend ten years editing your email because you're certain they will find your choice of words absolutely stupid.

That first paragraph up there in italics was a part of a message sent to me by a gal I've been corresponding with on Facebook. Without revealing too much, she found my blog and decided to email and we've been trading a few messages as of late. That bit about her boyfriend who would gulp the water... Yes. YES. Brilliant. Because OH MY GOD I can so relate. There are certain things Serge does that can instantly ignite hatred of volcanic proportions, proportions wholly unequal to his original transgression, but there it is: marriage.

For example:

Eating popcorn: Seriously. It's awful. It's like this times a million. I've tried to view it from a different perspective. Instead of watching popcorn missiles flying in all directions, embedding themselves in the couch and on the floor and in the creases of his shirt, I try to think how adorable it is that he loves popcorn and movies so much, that he's so effervescent, I guess is the polite word, about popcorn. (He even has a rule that not a single kernel of corn can enter his mouth before the movie starts, which is actually pretty cute.) It doesn't work. I start watching him instead of the movie, which, of course, fuels my hatred. The good news, I guess, is that my hatred dissipates the minute he's finished eating popcorn. Gone. Poof! Like that. But while he's eating that popcorn, man, I've got divorce documents printed out and signed in my head.

Listen though, before you write me off for good you should know that Serge feels the same way about me when I leave globs of jam in the peanut butter. I'm all, what the hell? It's peanut butter and jam! It goes together! It's meant to be together! He doesn't dig it. Ditto for when I use the same spoon to scoop sour cream and guacamole onto my taco. THERE'S SOUR CREAM IN THE GUACAMOLE, he shrieks as if I sprinkled - oh I dunno... rat poison? - in the guacamole. It's tainted, is what he's saying. Even though it all mixes together on the same taco.

So there's the popcorn. Which, really isn't so bad. It's just one of those things, like my friend said in the message, "it's what happens when you spend a long time with someone." Ultimately, I can deal with the popcorn.

And then there's the fan.

I've written about the fan before. But I don't think I've really impressed upon you how serious an issue it has become. For SO many reasons. The reasons are myriad. Did you see that? I said myriad. A myriad of reasons! I think you know I mean business. Also? Myriad is a noun and an adjective so both usages are correct. I know because I checked. Which means I Googled it and a random message board agrees with me.

The history of the fan goes a little something like this: Serge used to have to share shitty motel rooms while touring with his band, Marah, for all those years in his twenties and thirties. I don't think I need to tell you how gross drunk band dudes probably sound while sleeping. Snoring, farting, all manner of ungodly bodily functions, to be sure. So Serge took to cranking a fan to block out all noise. Additionally, he lived in Philadelphia for many years during which he used a simple box fan as a white noise device, blocking out all city sounds. **It's worse than I feared. Just now I let Serge read this before I published and he says the fan actually goes back to middle school. He's pretty much always used a fan to fall asleep, it's deeply ingrained in his sleeping patterns.

Anyhow, remember how we got married after a few weeks of knowing each other? Yes, well, we had never shared living quarters before moving to Brooklyn. So imagine my joy when I - a girl who enjoys being lulled to sleep by crickets and night breezes - had to come to terms with this tornating fan machine belching recycled air all over me. Not only that, but I'm the kind of gal who likes to fall asleep with the TV on. Serge, like many folks, does not enjoy the flickering blue light of a television while he's trying to sleep. Because he doesn't like the TV and because I couldn't even hear the damn thing anymore over the roar of the fan, I stopped putting on the television while in bed. But, when I expressed my disdain for his fan did Serge return the favor? I think you know the answer to that, dear reader.

I learned to live with the fan. I reasoned that since we lived on the first floor in the very front of an apartment building, our bedroom window mere feet from a busy Brooklyn sidewalk, the roar of the fan blocked out the hustle and bustle of New York living. And it did. It worked as a great white noise machine. In Brooklyn. Then we moved to a quiet suburb of Salt Lake City and because we no longer had to mask the obnoxious hipster conversations taking place inches from our bedroom window I thought it time, once again, to engage in the fan debate.

I mistakenly thought that someone requiring a fan to sleep is the same as someone enjoying the dulcet tones of television while drifting off. I stopped watching TV so it follows that because I don't like the fan Serge should stop his ridiculous affair with the airy bitch. He didn't see it that way. Still doesn't see it that way. Not even when Violet was born and I harassed him about how I couldn't hear her when she cried in the other room, did he see a need to stop with the fan. He simply suggested cranking her monitor to maximum volume. Which, if you've ever turned up a baby monitor you know the static, not to mention hearing every grunt and groan of your child, is worse than a fucking fan.

But I let it go. Kind of. Some of the biggest fights of our marriage, I swear to God, have been about his goddamn fan. One time, in Utah, I tried a compromise. Let's turn the fan on low, I said to Serge. It didn't last. He constantly switched it to high and got angry with me if I switched it to low. Some compromise.

Sometimes, when I want to throw him and his fucking fan out the window I just storm into the bedroom and switch it off. You can imagine how well that goes over. "Why are you the boss, why does it have to be YOUR way?" He asks when I try to argue my point. It isn't my way, I tell him. And then I present my theory, which is as follows: Turning off the fan isn't my way, it's the natural way. What I mean by that is, nothing on - no TV, no fan - would be the natural state of affairs in the bedroom. And that is what we should default to when both parties cannot agree on sleeping conditions. Serge completely disagrees, of course. He won't even entertain the notion of shutting off the fan because it's "his room too".

Y'all, he gets rabid, RABID I SAY, when we have this disagreement. Like, so intense about it that I think the fan must do sexual favors for him when I'm not around. There was this one time? In Utah? He was so upset about my hatred of the fan that he got out some scissors and cut the cord to the fan in half. I'm not sure why. As if that would spite me? Privately, I thought it rather poetic. About time he cut the cord.

We bought a new fan later that week.

Remember how I told you Serge gets the kids up and makes breakfast? That's because I am the night parent. If Henry or Violet wakes up, it's me that goes to them. Yet I can barely hear Henry cry and he's right down the hall, twenty feet away. I can either crank his monitor (in addition to Violet's) or I don't, but I end up kind of stressed and straining over the roar of the fan to hear if he's crying at certain points throughout the night. And still. The fan roars on.

It's to the point that I'll be downstairs finishing up some work or whatever and I hear him switch on that fan (in below zero temperatures, mind you) and I am filled with rage. For so many reasons. Because the fan is annoying, because Serge refuses to compromise, because it's been SEVEN MOTHERFUCKING YEARS OF FAN BATTLES.

As a revolt of sorts, this past couple of years I have taken to turning on a tiny DVD player next to our bed. I used to use headphones as a courtesy but not anymore. Not anymore, goddammit! I can barely hear anything over the roar of the fan, and still, he's telling me to turn down the TV. Ha! You want me to turn down something? In your dreams, asshole! Or maybe just when you turn off your stupid fan.

It's crap, man. My room is not a place I enjoy. A compromise isn't putting the fan on low because the motherfucker would still be there. A compromise would be one night fan, one night no fan.

Okay then. Who's being the asshole? Can a compromise be reached? I'm afraid he's so attached to his lover, the fan, that the very act of compromise will leave him sullen thereby ruining our bedroom environment. But it's already ruined anyway, I say. Are we both assholes? But how am I an asshole? I just don't like the fan. He's definitely the asshole, right? Besides, I was the asshole last week.

Also, what is THE THING you're life partner does that makes you super angry? Do they loudly gulp water while swallowing in the still of the night? Do they talk while brushing their teeth? Do they pick their toenails? Do they leave their disgusting hair in the shower drain? Help me feel better about this most trivial of concerns that is now one of the largest arguments of our marriage.

Reader Comments (99)

I really feel for you. Almost every thing Bryan does these days annoys me. I can't even sleep in the same bed with him anymore. I've finally moved him to the other bedroom. I feel kind of bad about it but I feel so hostile towards him lately the last thing I want to do is share a bed with him. Plus I sleep better alone. Didn't you two sleep in separate bedrooms for awhile? Maybe you should try that again?

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAutumn

I don't know, sometimes it's the way they stand there. Or the way they breathe. If that starts to happen, the relationship may be on its way out.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlison

Oh, how this makes me laugh. Because my husband coughs too loud. Seriously. He does. When he gets a cold, the entire universe needs to hear him coughing. The coughing has to project enough to wake me and the children, and all our neighbors. As for your little issue, would Serge ever consider a white noise machine with headphones? I think there are even iPhone apps with just white noise.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

I am you, when it comes to the popcorn. So much so that my husband doesn't eat popcorn while sitting next to me anymore. But when it comes to the fan, I am Serge and my husband is you. It's frightening how your post reads like my life--with the exact same two evil culprits that fuck with my and my husband's most fantastic friendship. The good news is, that it's a marriage AND a friendship, which means we will hopefully never walk away, or at least not that easily, over fans and popcorn. After reading this, I'm either not crazy or we're both crazy.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Mauk

Oh. My. Lawd.
First, I must say that in my relationship, I'm the asshole that must have a fan on and if the TV volume is on 2 I will lay awake, flailing and lamenting all night long. My brain is just programmed that way. And it sucks! I have to bring a fan to HOTEL ROOMS. Yeah. That crazy.
But praise Jeebus, my guy doesn't mind. So all I can say is maybe Serge CAN'T sleep without it. And unfortunately, I have no advice. Would one of those Sharper image sound soother things work? I
enjoy the northwoods setting.
My boyfriend is a cuddler and I'm a "get off me, I can't sleep with you touching me" kind of gal. God, I sound like a cold bitch. I also love fleece sheets and flannel and down and he'd prefer to sleep on a bamboo tatami mat, I swear.
The big thing he does that drives me nuts is he is one of those complicated order at restaurant people. No ice! No tomatoes! No lettuce! Just pick it out, fancy pants!
Not a huge deal but STILL.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCristin

I think you've been remarkably restrained about the fan. I would have smashed it up by now. My agression knows no bounds if I'm irritated at night.
I hate how my husband is addicted to his labello ( chapstick). He always has these gross slimy lips at night. I also hate his weird habit of scratching his head really slowly and thoughtfully just like a big ape.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNiedlchen

I just have to ask...does he keep the fan on when you guys are "doing the deed" at night? Because THAT would be the end all of him getting some!

But to answer your question: He rubs his feet together as a means of comfort. He's done it since he was a baby and goddamn I can't even explain how much it drives me crazy...
After coming home from work he does it, while watching tv he does it, and even sitting on the motherfucking toilet he does it!!!! At night while falling asleep he does it too - and it drove me so incredibly apeshit that I now go to bed an hour later than he does to AVOID THE FUCKING FOOT RUBBING! I'm not sure what it is but I can't stand the sight or sound of feet rubbing together. His calloused and cracked heels caressing each other to the point I can almost visualize the skin cells flaking off...ugh, but this - THIS - is what has caused us the most arguments as well. I'll yell at him to stop and he doesn't even realize he's doing are the joys of married life.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

@Cristin said: "The big thing he does that drives me nuts is he is one of those complicated order at restaurant people. No ice! No tomatoes! No lettuce! Just pick it out, fancy pants!
Not a huge deal but STILL."

Dying. So funny. I am not a cuddler either. LEAVE ME BE, I'M SLEEPING.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Girl Who...

@Nicole - You know, I haven't really noticed. I'm kind of focused on other stuff, but now, THANKS A LOT. I'm sure I'll zero in on the damn fan.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Girl Who...

Oh my gosh. The fan has got to go. It was stressing me out just reading about not being able to hear the kid's monitors because of that damn fan. He can buy a white noise sound for his ipod and listen to it with headphones.

Besides, marriage is about compromise and the fact that he isn't budging at all on this makes him the asshole. Especially considering you can't hear the kids, very selfish. That would have been the fight of all fights if my husband was pulling that crap with a newborn.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

I HATE how my husband eats/chews olives. I know it's the dumbest thing to hate, and it doesn't make any sense. But I seriously want to SCREAM every time he "pops" one in his mouth (he like leans his head back and kind of throws it in) and makes this weird clicking sound when he chews. I also hate how he says chinese (as in chinese food) ,and how he always grabs his balls and then all of a sudden decides it's time to make a bottle for our 5 month old daughter, but that is another story for another time.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTeres

Mike clears his throat constantly and it creeps me the fuck out. Also, I'm extremely frugal and he will buy a t-shirt or a hoodie and I will completely lose my shit because he has a closet full of t-shirts and hoodies and only manages to ever wear the same 2-3 t-shirts and hoodies over and over and over and over.

We sleep in separate rooms. I love him dearly but I just can't deal with his snoring.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWendy P.

God, I love you guys.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Girl Who...

The most annoying minor thing we argue about is the temperature. I'm always freezing and my husband is always very hot. He loves to tell me what the temperature is in here, as if telling me it's 78 degrees will somehow make me realize I shouldn't be cold anymore. Maybe I shouldn't; maybe I have no blood or something is wrong with me, but it drives me crazy. We do try to compromise when we're here together, but every time the AC clicks on it annoys me. He also yawns in a ridiculously loud and drawn out way that annoys the hell out of me, but I don't even want to think about all the ways I probably annoy him.

I think since the fan seems to be such a major issue for you two that Serge could at least try other things to help him sleep, especially since it's keeping you from hearing the kids when they wake up. My husband wears ear plugs at night, which works very well for him. He said it took a little getting used to when he first started using them, but he loves them now. I hope you and Serge can figure something out that works for both of you.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth B

Okay- here's the thing, you get addicted to white noise, I know because I am. When you don't have the white noise, you absolutely cannot fall asleep. So I can understand why there is no compromising for him, because the compromise is he cannot fall asleep. Has he tried a white noise machine? That has helped me, and they make great aps now, and maybe he could plug in headphones and listen to a white noise ap?
Anyway, I hear my babies cry over the fan in our room, I feel like you adapt to it.
I think the smart thing to do, is just let yourself become an addict to- that's what my husband did. He fought it at first, not wanting to get addicted to the white noise, not wanting to have to rely on it to fall asleep, but it lulls you in with its soft sweet sounds that mask the rest of the world out, especially the world that whirls around in your brain- that's really what it does for me.
So, turn on that sweet fan, make some sweet love and reclaim your bedroom as a sanctuary with fan, and sans outside noise.
Crickets are frigging annoying anyway.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAdrienne

oh, and also- my husband chews SO LOUDLY sometimes, and it is because he takes bites that are too big. I often have to leave the room when he's eating, and it drives him crazy that it drives me crazy. Also, he never blows his nose, just snuffs it up and I hate it- go blow your nose! Stop sniffling, stop snuffling! Gross! learn how to blow your nose damnit!

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAdrienne

OMG the fan would drive me batshit. I remember being horrified by my freshman year roommate who insisted she had to sleep with her radio playing top 40 for christ sake. We knew each other from high school and were so excited to room together. Too bad my hatred of her started the first night of a very long year. I ended up using your SILENCE IS NORMAL argument and absolutely refused to put up with it. Our compromise was that she used headphones or if I wasn't there when she went to sleep, I could turn off the radio when I came in.

Good luck with that one. A white noise machine that you could turn off once the little prince is asleep might work.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLindsay

my boyfriend (we live together) chews so loudly too! he will not eat with his mouth closed either. lol We don't eat together that much so it's not so bad. But one thing that drove me INSANE for the longest time was he cannot fold clothes. He can't fold a towel. He'd get the laundry out of the dryer and carefully crinkle it up and put it into piles. AH! stressing me out thinking about it. Now I just let it go, he's good at other things.

But I think Serge is being the asshole about the fan. your compromise could be, first 7 years of marriage with fan, next 7 years without :)

realistically, white noise app.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTashi

I know that my husband is basically a wild animal. I have come to terms with his sleep-drooling, farting, cover thieving ways. But THE SNORING. How has his face not caved in on itself? I've resorted to ear plugs and subliminal training. You know, when you whisper a command to him and he obeys in his sleep? "Turn over, honey" I'll say, and he does. Sometimes I feel guilty when I say it multiple times and he ends up falling off the bed, but mostly I don't.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen

You should totally get him these with some white noise. I even think you can download fan sound fx online.These headphones work wonders. Srsly.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

My husband clears his throat when he's telling a long story. Almost like a let me prep my throat for this one! kinda thing. So if I think I'm going to get a quick response and he clears his throat, I get so annoyed that I don't even listen to what he's saying. If it's a quick answer, no throat clearing required. And really, how much would you listen if you got a this is gonna be a long one disclaimer? Not long. Drives me fucking crazy.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterelaine

Now I know this is totally MY particular neurosis, but I want the key facing the "neutral" position when the front door has been locked with the key left in the lock. So annoying when you go to turn the key and the positioning is not as expected. (I KNOW, CUH-RAZY!!!) Accomodate hubby, accomodate!

And I will likewise accomodate you in leaving the tea kettle only about a quarter of the way full. Even though I am the one that fills the darn thing and I don't even drink tea. God forbid it take an extra 30 seconds to boil that extra water.

Deal? Deal. (We try to work with each other's craziness. Because really, it is so much easier than divorce.)

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKim Q

My husband says "FYE" instead of "FYI."

Like, instead of "FYI (For your information), we are going to dinner with my parents tonight," he says, "FYE, We're going to dinner with my parents tonight."

I never thought one stupid letter would bug the shit out of me. But FYE doesn't even MAKE SENSE.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjess

Sneezing. It sounds like a jetplane going off- especially in the car- I had no idea people could make such sounds on their own. He claims its bad for his back to hold in. I get so irrationally angry after... then i'm the asshole since I don't say bless you ever. And its just sneezing... but damm its loud.

A million other things I should let go.... room temperature/fan etc. is one of those. It's sort of amazing that people do sleep together at all- but I guess the benefits can outweigh it... at atimes.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNana

I'm howling over the olive-eater.

My husband recently lost weight and started working out and now thinks its perfectly fine to wear muscle Ts out in public. You know. Wifebeaters.

For all our overpriced private East Coast education, our failure to communicate to one another about this is profound.

I say: You can't wear that shirt out. Its not only unfashionable, but it looks like you are one of those pathetic assholes only wearing the shirt to show off the guns.

He says: But that IS why I am wearing the shirt. Now that I have guns to show off, its OK.


September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Bouchard

Hell to the yes. My husband soup slurping/silverware biting makes me insane. And the clipped toenails that he leaves on the counter for me to see. And the dropping of the dirty clothes NEXT TO THE BASKET. Never in, always next to.

But, he never leaves the toilet seat up, he squeezes the toothpaste from the bottom and he always puts the toilet paper the right way.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterwindylou

How in the heck can someone make eating popcorn sound like they're eating chips with their mouth open?!!! Oh and slurping or cold, slurping soup is horrendous!!! OY!! AND GULPING WATER -- HOLY CRAP. It all drives me bonkers and I know I sound like an asshole when I ask him to stop because I CAN'T. TAKE IT. ANYMORE.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNina

buy him an mp3 player and sleeping headphones (looks like a headband) and put a white noise sound file on the player, hell, record the fan noise and put it on it even.

and then tell him to get the fuck over himself an ditch the fan

if you can't sleep because of it - it's fucking inconsiderate!

p.s. sorry, I get mad when sleep is denied. even if it's not me who is being robbed. sleep = bloody sacred.
but seriously. I honestly can't believe someone would do that to their partner. WTF?

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommentermcCutcheon

I dunno man...I kind of feel like the little annoyances build up and turn into huge things when there's a bigger problem not being addressed. Like (and I say this knowing I don't know Serge's side of the story, which would likely be illuminating) to me, the fan thing seems like a symptom of a much larger issue with respect/lack of respect. The unwillingness to problem solve, especially. I just feel like the biggest rule in marriage has to be "Don't be a jerk" and when one partner or both partners start breaking that rule, shit is going to go down.

The only story I have about quirks turning into a major issue actually comes from a friend of mine who is currently going through a divorce...his ex would leave cabinet doors open, all the time. He has some OCD tendencies, and she knows it, and coming home to find all the doors open also makes him super anxious and feel like someone else has been in his house, robbing him or something. So, instead of finding a way to shut the damn cabinet doors, she kept doing it (likely deliberately), and even got worse about it as time went on, which turned it into an even bigger trigger for him. Something so small and potentially fix-able, that became THE metaphor he uses to summarize the failures of his marriage. Lack of respect, selfishness, and a desire to hurt and upset your partner...not the ingredients of a happy marriage.

I just think at a certain point it's easy for the petty issues to start becoming the focus, which distracts from the bigger problem that needs addressing. Hopefully you guys can find a solution because honestly it blows that your bedroom has become a silent war zone because of this.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermaybe

(...or I guess, not-so-silent, as it were.)

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermaybe

My husband,also a musician, also has "THE FAN"

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commentershuga

Holy shit. I can hear the fan now and I hate it. In three weeks my ex-husband and I are giving it another go and moving in together with our youngest two kids. Yes, I know, totally white trash of us. We've had some adult sleepovers and I had forgotten in the last three years that he is more of an insomniac than me. Plus, he's 6'6'' and a flopper getting in and out of bed. That's A LOT of flop throughout the night. On the other hand, I snore. Could have something to do with his insomnia. At one time he had a fan to drown out my snoring. We have slept in different rooms. Got a divorce, though for a plethora of other reasons. BUt the up and down nights and the snoring was a battle that has long raged.

Here's the thing, sleep is precious. Golden. People can be huge assholes over it. In fact, I think we all are bit of an asshole over sleep.

First I was with Serge, I have to have my fan on all night, all year round. How can you not understand that? Noisy or not, sleep is quite impossible without it.
And then you had to go and mention the TV, didn't you?
Complicate things why don't you?

Because I also have to have the TV on to get to sleep. So now I'm with you.
How can Serge object to the TV when he has the fan on all night. My fan is so noisy though, that I have to turn up the TV louder to hear it. That somehow sounds fine at 11 o' clock, but then i wake up around 3am, it sounds like it's absolutely blaring. How can it be louder at 3am than at 11pm?

Oh and thrown in for good measure, I also have to contend with the TV of the deaf lady who lives upstairs; another 'TV on all night' person. Her TV blares out either Sky News, or the 24 hour Catholic Mass Channel, so I have to crank my TV up a bit louder just to drown hers out. In particular I hate the non-stop Mass, not relaxing at all. Drives me crazy - or it did till last week. Suddenly not a sound from upstairs. I found out the next day that she had died.
Really she did - i didn't just make that up.

So, basically, I'm no help whatsoever in your standoff with Serge. In this house everyone finds sleeping in different bedrooms is the only way to get a good night's sleep.

I guess you could delete the fan while he's in Spain if you wanted to play dirty.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter(London) Amanda

My husband has this weird form of chewing he does when something is hot. It's obnoxious. I sit there literally biting my tongue, willing myself not to bring it up because I know I really have no right to be annoyed by it, but it's so freaking annoying.

He also will put plates in the sink. He will take the time to rinse them off and put them in the sink, but not in the dishwasher which is about 5 inches from the sink. I don't get it. It's like he's leaving it for...what? Later? Me? You can't open the dishwasher, put the plate in, and close it? That takes what, all of about 8 seconds? Aarrrggghhhh.

I disagree with the person who thinks these are symptoms of a bigger problem. I'm sure there are a million little things that I do that annoy the shit out of him, too.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMJ

My husband also has to have a fan to sleep and has ever since he was a teenager. I've always hated it, but a long time ago I resigned myself to the fact that he has an incredibly hard time sleeping without it and I sleep the same whether it's on or not. Because he needs it to sleep, I adjusted even though I would much rather not have it on. I went through the same issue with not feeling like I could hear our baby, so my solution was to put it a few feet away from me and turn it medium loud. That way I could hear if she started crying, but I wouldn't hear every little noise. My advice is that if you sleep just fine with the fan on, give up the fight, otherwise you'll have a cranky tired husband because it is so ingrained in his sleeping habits.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Sometimes, when my husband is tired and being lazy, he speaks in a way that blows out the "puh" sound in p-words. His lips kind of stick together and then make an exaggerated 'p' noise. I have never told him because it's so ridiculous, but it makes my skin crawl and I hate it!! Both times when our kids were newborns my intolerance for this vile sound was tenfold. I don't know why I find it so offensive, but I do. How ridiculous am I?! And the way he inhales his food. Ugh. But, Monica, I agree with you on the fan issue. The natural state of things, if you're not both in agreement, is nothing in the room. Even so, if something bugs you so much he should WANT to work out a compromise. If he says "why does it have to be YOUR way?", why does it have to be HIS way? For 7 years? I find when my husband's being a big arsehole, if I can find an equivalent scenario that I think he would relate to to illustrate how I think he's treating me, things usually get worked out. He doesn't seem to have a natural ability to empathise, but if I can put it in terms he gets then it helps. Although it pisses me off that I have to put so much effort in to explain to him why he's being an arsehole! Good luck! (P.S. I love reading your stuff. I can relate to so much of what you write about.)

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteph

OMG Serge turn the fan off! She turned the TV off for you! I agree with the people recommending a white noise track on an iPod and some comfy headphones/earbuds. Holy shit balls that fan would drive me insane.

My boyfriend (who I live with) will undress, take his clothes into the closet, and put them ON THE FLOOR RIGHT NEXT TO THE HAMPER. He takes the time to walk into the closet TO THE HAMPER but puts his clothes on the floor. WTF. Also, he inexplicably leaves shit open all over the house. Cabinets, drawers, toiletries. I don't even know where the toothpaste cap is. I find the open cabinets and drawers highly amusing but the laundry pile MUST STOP.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

It's my husband's eating. I won't even go on about the table manners issue because I feel like a jerk, but let's leave it the point that I think his table manners make him annoying and sometimes gross to eat with, and twelve fugding years have resulted in no solution whatsoever.

I feel for you about the fan. Did you like it when you guys slept in separate rooms? I think that is a legitimate solution if no other solution is found. And sleep is important, especially for someone that struggles with depression and anxiety issues. Important enough that I would have no guilt if I told my husband he could sleep with the fan without argument from me, but either he or I would be in another room so that I could sleep too.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterErin

my husband twiddles his thumbs. for real! i did not even know real people did that.

has serge tried earplugs? i used to need a fan until i got earplugs. amazing! you have to insert them correctly, though, or they dont work at all. (you need to squish them into cylinders and kind of shove them almost into the ear canal, where they expand.)

i agree with the commenter who said we are all assholes about sleep.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrebecca

@Rachel - OMG me too about the hamper. My husband will basically only drop his clothes in a pile next to the bed. So I put a hamper - an open-topped one, so he wouldn't have the barrier of a lid to open - next to the bed right where he drops his clothes. And now the clothes get PILED NEXT TO IT.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterErin

"I disagree with the person who thinks these are symptoms of a bigger problem. I'm sure there are a million little things that I do that annoy the shit out of him, too."

I said when the petty annoyances build up into a major issue (aka deep source of resentment or frequent fighting), it's usually a symptom of a bigger problem. If you're not fighting constantly about the things that annoy you about your husband, that doesn't qualify as a major issue. But seven years of tension about a fan...? Yeah, that counts.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermaybe

I am a fan sleeper. I can do without it if needed but sometimes if I don't have it I concentrate too much on the silence and silence can be super noisy because it isn't consistent like the nice blow of a fan. I am also a warm sleeper so it helps me greatly when I wake up in the middle of the night overheated, I can stick my arm or leg out and cool off. Does Serge point the fan at him? Is it also an issue of being cool (not warm)?

My boyfriend, who I just moved in with this summer, saves receipts. It drives me crazy because he doesn't save them anywhere in particular. They just sit around the kitchen counters or the kitchen table. I just don't get the purpose for saving every receipt. I save receipts for the big stuff, but grocery shopping or Target? Nowadays all you have to do is bring in the creditcard you used and they can pull up the receipt for you in the store.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDee

The fan thing would be horrendous, I can't even imagine. Dude needs to come up with some kind of compromise to present to you, only seems fair.

I'm with the others on the eating/slurping/chewing habits. I know my guy is capable of eating like a civilized human being because he's just fine in restaurant settings. However, having a meal at home somehow gives him the greenlight to hold his fork all wonky and just shovel shit in while making these obnoxious noises and not closing his mouth. It is infuriating and disgusting. I won't even make soup anymore because I cannot deal with listening to him slurp it. And if something on your plate is so hot that steam is visibly coming off it, for the love of God, either let it cool off or blow on the damn thing before shoving it in your piehole and doing the mouth-open-food-toss-between cheeks dance. Grrrrr.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpam

This made me laugh out loud. But I'm on Team Serge. I too am a fan sleeper. Year round, even in the freezing nights of winter, I sleep with an oscillating fan next to my bed, set on the highest setting. I CANNOT sleep without it. When I travel, I pack a small table fan that makes one hell of a racket. In fact, we're flying to Disney in two weeks, and I will make room in my suitcase for the fan, even if it means leaving some clothes and toiletries at home.

My husband hates the fan. He doesn't like the sound, the breeze, or being cold. In the past, we have tried having him turn off the fan once I fall asleep, which works until I wake up in the middle of the night and have to turn the fan back on. Unfortunately, there is no compromise on this issue for me. I need the fan to sleep, case closed. It's either we sleep together, with the fan set on high, or we sleep in separate rooms. I think my husband would rather have me lying next to him, even if it means he has to take the fan too.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJill

Oh god, these are killing me! Especially the foot rubbing guy. Shudder.

My husband? Comes home from the gym and dumps his dirty clothes (including his dirty socks) and last week, even his SHOES....on. the. dining. room. table. What the fuck is that??

He really is the most wonderful guy in the world, so I can overlook a lot. But this drives me NUTS.

PS. Earplugs for Serge. I used to need white noise (we lived in downtown Eugene Oregon...hello round-the-clock partying). Then we moved somewhere cold (hence no fan because a fan would be ridiculous when it's cold, right??) so I switched to earplugs. Turns out that by plugging your ears, you create your OWN white noise.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkate

My husband, God bless him, always ALWAYS turns on the fan in the bathroom. Always. No matter if he just went in there to throw something in the trash he slaps both switches on (no really, he actually just reaches out a hand and slaps them on) and 57% of the time leaves it running when he exits. I hate the damn noise of that stupid fan, and if you aren't dropping a deuce there's no reason to turn it on (and let's be honest, it doesn't really help with the poo smell anyway so it's essentially USELESS). Most of the time it's just a small nuisance and I go and turn it off, but he's a musician so he sometimes comes home super late after I've been in bed for hours - I'm a light sleeper anyway and wake up as soon as he opens the front door - but then he goes in the bathroom and slaps those switches on and that EFFING fan in the middle of the night just so he can brush his teeth? I'M TRYING TO SLEEP IN HERE!

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAJ

serge should turn off the fan.

it would be different if it were just you guys and it was simply annoying to you, yet so important to him. but now you have kids and it is interfering with your ability to hear them/ sleep soundly at night and that sucks. i am a mom to an 18 month old and know that if there is any doubt in my mind that i woun't be able to properly hear my daughter if she wakes up, i will sleep TERRIBLY. i will never fall into a deep sleep and wake up constantly, thinking i am hearing her cry when she isn't. it's awful. off with the fan!

ironically, my daughter sleeps with a fan in her room for "white noise" and to block out sounds too. i never used to need someting to block out noise, but now that i have had a baby and am such a light sleeper, i need some sort of white noise to block out the silence too. but i still think he should turn it off.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterali

OMG...there is no end to the little things that can annoy the shit out of all of us. I'm TOTALLY with you, Monica, on the popcorn. Popcorn flies through the air from hand to mouth, and the first chomp down on each kernel is an open-mouthed chomp...CRRRUUUUNNNNCH! UGH! Same with chips -- I swear he has an extra-cavernous mouth, or something, that makes the crunch sounds echo and be amplified. I cannot stand it! That and the coffee slurping each morning. Yeah...tell our children not to slurp, then slurp yourself. Really? How about a little self-awareness??

And rinsing out the milk jugs, salad dressing bottles, beer bottles, and other recyclables, then letting them dry out in the dish drainer. No problem. Perfect! BUT...when it's time to empty the dish drainer, why put away all of the clean dishes and then leave the rinsed recyclables sitting on the counter creating a giant clutter mess when walking from the kitchen, through the laundry room to the recycling bins is such a short walk? I echo MJ: What are you leaving them there for? Later? Me? What??? Please just finish the job.

We recently had a big thing over the fact that when he decides that it's time to do all of the laundry in the house (and YES, ladies, I know I should be grateful he does laundry...and I AM grateful he does laundry...truly), he drags all of the laundry out into the living room (the room that the front door opens into), sorts it into piles there, then goes about doing the laundry at whatever pace seems okay to him. Result? We've got piles of dirty laundry in our living room all day -- or for more than one day -- that I have to look at and that other people see if they stop by. We've come to an understanding on that one: dirty piles of laundry are to be in our bedroom and nowhere else.

Now I sound like the world's biggest bitch. But here's the thing -- he's an amazingly wonderful guy. I bite my tongue on the popcorn (almost always) and on the coffee slurping and other such things and try, try, try to focus on all of his truly magnificent traits. It works most of the time. And when it doesn't? I leave the room!

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

I need music to sleep. Usually groups like Iron Maiden, Guns n Roses, or a band I suspect you may have heard of called Marah. None of these bands are bands that are conducive to being played quietly. I turn them on, crank them up, and away I go. It's the only way I can sleep. Although I am certain it is other, completely unrelated facets of my personality that are responsible for my perpetual singleton-ness, I sympathise with both parties here.

I get why Serge needs his fan, and I get why it's a problem for you.

With regards a solution, I think earplugs could be the way forwards.

One night Serge listens to the noise of the fan through earplugs, the next you block out said noise in the same way.

Not an ideal solution, but it's the best I can come up with right now!

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDamien

I can only say that I feel your pain! My husband has used the SAME fan since he was a child, a grey vornado. I have tried, numerous, no, countless times to get rid of it but he claims he can't sleep without it. He absolutely refuses to turn it down or off. I asked that we use it every other night, nope, not good enough. In the summer he also pulls out the window fan. Not only do I have the fan on the floor buzzing but I'm also forced to put up with a window fan whirling above my head and blowing on my face.

Earplugs? Forget about it. They end up hurting the inside of my ears and I rip them out half way through the night.

You can imagine my delight when he goes out of town for work and I am able to enjoy some quiet nights.

I know the place you're coming from. My hatred for that ultra reliable vornado fan runs deep.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNicoleD

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