The above is a quote from a superbly produced play, "A Killing's Tale," written by my ex-husband and b!X's dad. The play, a murder mystery set in the Globe Theater during Shakespeare's time, has Shakespeare deliver the above line.
The play deserves a post all of its own, but that's not where I'm heading with this. I saw the play with a couple who are good friends of mine. I've known the woman, a lawyer and child advocate, for years; her live-in male companion has been with her for the past several years, and so I've gotten to know him through her.
The three of us went to dinner before the play, and, because we were going to see a play by my ex-husband, the conversation naturally meandered toward relationships and why they work and don't work. Now, the woman in this couple is liberal, feminist, creative, childless, and previously divorced. The man has kids from a previous marriage, is intelligent and well-read, and has a wry sense of humor. And he takes great pleasure in asserting Neanderthal attitudes about relationships and women. Yet, they seem to have a good time together.
She says it's because he makes her laugh, they enjoy doing the same kinds of things together (like taking me along with them to see a play); he doesn't care if she shaves her legs or under her armspits; he doesn't expect her to cook or clean (he's neater than she is and so he often does the cleaning). Neither tries to make the other into something he/she is not.
But she also says that if they had met during an earlier stage of their lives, they would have hated each other. They could never have raised children together. But they are at that last partnership stage of life where it's not necessary to agree on a lot of things. What one looks for is companionship, a sharing of everyday things good and bad, a good friend who makes you laugh and will travel with you even though he doesn't really like to fly.
They both loved the play -- which is full of wit and witticisms, has two strong women characters, and includes lots of relevant sub-themes, including homosexuality, religious censorship, and the complexities of male-female relationships. As the Shakespeare character demonstrates, talented playwrights do not necessarily good husbands make.
(This is also posted on my own weblog. I seem to be inclined these days to turn my back on the big disturbing polictical picture -- which seems so removed from anything that I can influence -- and focus more on the small, personal and interpersonal interactions that, to me as of late, seem more real and ultimately momentous.)