Tuesday, September 06, 2011


Question for the ages:

How can you love someone so much you cannot imagine your life--the good bits, the bad bits, the trips to the hardware store bits-- without them, and you know in all ways they are the better person but every once in a while during a discussion they can have a tone of voice which makes you want to score their larynx with a fish-fork?

Please understand me; Consort is magnificent. Better than I deserve. And considering I’m moody,asocial and uninterested in food, I’m acutely aware that “Trading up” from me can be translated as “A waitress who smiles at him while bringing his breakfast.” He wins, I lose. I get that. And considering that we spend more time together than some conjoined twins, I’m humbled by how little we squabble. This is, let the record show, entirely due to his good humor, because I’ve been known to work a sulk against the garlic press.

But oh, that tone. It’s a bit of “I know better about this subject,” a soupçon of “Let me enlighten you,” and a smattering of “Neener, neener.” And what’s most maddening of all?

He swears he’s not doing it.

He assures me he can’t hear it.

Had he not spent an hour today repairing a door handle (One of my more epic grudges is against the original builders of this house; what, was making something to code too Old Country for you, too Socialist?), I’d be going on about this longer. But he did fix the door, and he does edit my writing, and he’s a generally great egg.
However, for the sake of solidarity, please tell me your loved one has a tone which makes you want to throw yourself through a plate-glass window.


Blogger Tammi Klusewitz said...

You are a far better person than I. There are moments when I want to throw HIM through a plate-glass window.

11:54 PM  
Anonymous Ash said...

Mine actually says "I was right" at the worst times ever.

4:34 AM  
Blogger Maya said...

Oh dear God, yes. Mine is the tone that says, "I have managed to take this completely innocuous thing you just said deeply personally and am mortally offended" and then he turns around and SWEARS he was just momentarily stung, but he realized that probably wasn't what I meant by it (the irony, of course, being that he was set off by MY tone!). Now, I am the most careful, empathic, compulsively diplomatic person in the universe. I can let someone down so easy, they don't even know they've been let down. But somehow I still manage to offend him. He is my best friend and I never want to go to the hardware store without him, but at that moment I don't know whether I should throw myself through the plate-glass window, or just him. No, Quinn, you are SO not alone.

5:24 AM  
Blogger 卷曲 (juǎnqǔ) said...

Its not a tone of voice, its his look accompanied by the "I tried to tell you" nod. He already KNEW the lasagna wasn't going to be enough, but he let me figure that out for myself. Then, like a wise ancient, he smirks and nods. NODS. Nodding. You're nodding now, aren't you?

5:28 AM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

I know exactly what tone you are speaking of and my significant other claims there is no such tone, it's completely in my head.

6:00 AM  
Blogger Susan Champlin said...

In our house it's known as his "art director's voice." But his handmade birthday cards are things of beauty.

7:17 AM  
Blogger Shinny said...

My poor husband could tell you all about my tone. ;) If I would be willing to share your blog with him I am sure that you would hear all about it.
He just has this annoying head bobble when he thinks he is right. See I can't just let it go!
Feel sorry for him, very sorry.

7:28 AM  
Blogger Leta said...

The lovely and long-suffering man in my life has a look down his nose judgmental expression *and* a willingness to believe things he reads on Wikipedia over what I say.

I'll spend the rest of the day *not* forwarding this post to him. I will not. I will not...

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Victoria said...

Uh, yeah. This happens all the time in our house. Like five minutes ago, actually. He has this way of smirking silently and rolling his eyes and then claiming he was only "kidding me sweetly." What is that? Kidding me sweetly? I'll tell you: It's mockery and criticism by way of lip and eye movements, and it is extremely annoying.

Or should I say it's annoying me sweetly?

10:31 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

Although I'm fairly certain that my tone is wore and exhibited far more often, it really ticks me off when he asks, "Can you handle that?" with the tone I KNOW he uses for the front office help (a woman he does not respect) at his place of business.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

I know my husband is a brilliant, kind, and generous partner, father, and friend. He is also riddled by compulsions, well - *one* compulsion. He can't stop saying, "I could have told you that was going to happen," after I report some random unfortunate occurrence. Let's be clear - he is a communicative genius. He can create and twist arguments in order to set himself up for a potential future victory, should he need to go to battle.

If this worked on me, his life would be so much easier. I am the younger sister to a brother who was more evil and conniving than he could ever dream. I play dirty. I always deny culpability, unless it tactically serves me to take blame. I also cry. Once I hear his smug "told you so", I brace for battle.

Ironically, we have glorious and respectful communication about all things important - relationship, kid, money, fears, love, concerns, existential angst, etc. The battles are generated by one thing only: the state of house projects. As long as we each win an equal amount of these tiffs, détente remains. Our therapists are each aware of this. They both think we are idiots.

4:48 PM  
Blogger Nancy in PA said...

[clamping hands over mouth to avoid speaking badly of husband who also is far better that *I* deserve - but nodding head vigorously in affirmation of Quinn's question!]

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Beth said...

SOMEtimes the tone turns up evvverrrr so slightly at the end, as if to say, "See? I'm being very good humored! not a big bossy schoolmarm with missiles strapped to her thighs..."

But I've already caught it. And instead of hearing that, what I hear is, "See? Your instincts are completely correct. I am a big bossy schoolmarm with missiles strapped to her thighs!"

4:39 PM  
Anonymous ɹǝƃƃolquǝʞoʇ said...

Actually he has two...

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Whitney said...

This so sounds like me!!! My husband is the better person in this relationship. I acknowledge this. But, he is a professor and takes ever opportunity to educate me. Drives me NUTS!!!! Love him to bits, though.

5:51 PM  
Blogger Cranky Mommy said...

Um, actually I have the obnoxious tone and I swear I can't hear myself (meaning stop myself or acknowledge it) but my husband does manage to sound just as bad when he "offers" help or advice with cooking. He does most of the cooking (for which we and our stomachs are grateful) but when I do it I feel like he is judging me. He watches me cook. The nerve!! Then he says afterwards: "remind me to show you how to ___ the right way some time." And same as you, we are together constantly, I adore him, blah, blah, blah, but when he offers to show me the "correct way to use a knife" I often want to use it incorrectly on him.

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We met at 19. We have been together 25 years. After this amount of time together, I can, with the identical amount of inflection and with the perfect verbatim of an Oscar-winning actress, recite each and every one of his life stories that he tends to tell to whomever will listen. He loves the sound of his own voice but has not yet figured out that the rest of us don't. Doing this without the eye roll that naturally tends to accompany such story telling is my biggest challenge.

12:12 PM  
Blogger JSK said...

Mine doesn't have a tone. But, like Whitney's, he's the professor educating me - for hours. It's infuriating. But we've been married for 38 year so there must be something...

6:52 AM  
Anonymous Angela said...

Oh, absolutely. It's his "I'm morally superior to these (people on TV, idiots I work with, the neighbors, take your pick) because I'm smarter, more enlightened, and elite" tone. I call him on it all the time and he also claims he's not doing it. The word I'd use is "sanctimonious." Luckily he doesn't do it often, and I will say he has other positive qualities...but this tic drives me crazy.

4:06 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

My husband is a kind and sweet man who has put up with me for 17 years. However he has one particular tone that says "you're an idiot and I know everything" and makes me want to suffocate him with our cat. It could happen... or possibly throw shrimp forks (if I had any) at his head.

7:45 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Mine isn't so much a tone, per se... it's the eyeroll he swears he isn't doing. It's subtle, but I know FOR A FACT that he's doing it. And it makes me want to rip his heart out through his chest and feed it to him.

Me: "Do NOT roll your eyes at me...You'd better be having a seizure, dude."

Him: "I didn't roll my eyes at you..." *eyeroll*

Me: *murderous rage*

Him: "I did NOT just roll my eyes at you!" *eyeroll*


3:38 PM  
Blogger Twisted Susan said...

Mine talks while I'm reading the paper. I put my finger on the last word I read and look up with the most blank expression I can muster but he doesn't stop.

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Lyd said...

Ah, yes. Happened just last weekend. We were enjoying morning coffee on our deck. He used that "dismissive" tone in reply to a comment I made. I actually screamed (a rarity, really) so loud I woke up the kids, who thought I had fallen out of my wheelchair!

6:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes. Absolutely, yes. Mine has a tone that forces me to repeat, over and over, to myself: "You may not beat him about the ears with a two-by-four. You may not." Sometimes the situation is so dire I have to take the added step of reminding myself that, if the first warning is ignored, I will end up in jail and there will be no one to raise our children. He has no self-preservation skills. None.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Ivy said...

In all fairness we both have "that tone". I swanne I wanna hurt him when he uses it & I'm sure he feels likewise..My friend Gail also says I've perfected the "idiot voice" and distribute it evenly among the sexes when the need arises. I don't realize when I'm using this latter tone, truly. Maybe it's the one I consider to be consternation?

10:55 AM  
Blogger liza said...

First of all, your post is hilarious and so are your readers comments!!

Second of all, if you need me to point out an editorial blunder of his let me know...since he proofreads for you...next time he brings in the TONE...you can tell him LIZA said he missed some stuff whilst editing..!!! lol

My hubby doesnt get any smug tones; instead, he just says in his joking way, I TOLD YOU SO.
like we're still 5. But it's ok, because he puts up with my moods and is very patient!!! We've been together 4 years and I've only exasperated him once. hehehhe. saintly material my hubby is...

The person who puts on this type of TONE you're referring to is my BOSS, aka Boss-lady. AKA someotherwordsiwontputintype.
LOL She is forever throwing it out there that SHE is the smartest, and if you TRY to tell her something she'll SWEAR she already knows, but if you DONT tell her she'll wring your neck. UGH. I could write a blog about her, but i digress...

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Juli said...

Ohh, yeah, my hubby does Tone like nobody's business, then insists he did no such thing, never meant anything, blah blah blah. I'd say he's tone-deaf, but he sure catches me quick enough when I get an edge in my voice, so where does that leave me?

CRAZY, that's where!

5:28 PM  

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