below the belt
There are things I hate to buy. Window coverings, for starters. I hate curtains and I hate blinds, so my neighbors see a lot more of me than they probably should. Bras: ugh. Why aren’t they government subsidized? I wear the same three bras I bought in 2008 and get panicky at the thought of having to buy new ones. But most of all, I hate to buy belts. They’re always more expensive than you think they should be (read: free), and there’s little upside–no one’s going to notice your belt, no matter how ugly or amazing it is.
So when I find a great belt, it really means something. I bought a peacock blue belt at J. Crew about a year ago, and I loved it as I had never loved a belt before. It was an interesting blue and matched with nothing but somehow added a certain je ne sais quoi to everything I wore it with. You can see it, in better times, here.
About a week ago, I realized the belt was missing. It wasn’t on the floor, it wasn’t stuck in a pair of pants, and it most definitely was not on my belt rack. So I interrogated all three guys about it. I suspected that my toddler may have hidden it somewhere, but when I put Tate under a heat lamp and grilled him, he stared at me stone-faced, probably wondering what “blue” is. When I strapped Finn into his carseat and gave him the stink-eye through my rearview mirror, Finn copped to having seen the belt but swore he put it back on the belt rack after he’d last used it to lasso his brother. As for Tom, he denied any knowledge of the belt’s whereabouts with a mien that suggested that I was a shallow wench for caring so much about something so inconsequential as a belt.
And then, two days ago, as I was putting away some laundry, there it was, on the back of the belt rack that I’d checked at least ten times. Except, it looked different. It looked like this.
Here’s the thing: I have eyes, and a brain. So my brain recollects that the belt was not hanging from the rack the last ten times I checked. And my eyes perceive that the belt was put through some serious trauma. When I first saw the mangled belt, my blood pressure spiked so quickly that I actually felt my forehead get hot. What was Tom thinking? That I wouldn’t notice that my missing belt was suddenly in its rightful spot after apparently being put through a hot wash cycle and long tumble dry? When I confronted him about it, Tom played dumb for about six sweaty, pathetic seconds before adding insult to injury by suggesting that if I hadn’t left the belt on the floor, he wouldn’t have accidentally put it in the wash with my clothes. Duh! Forget the fact that I don’t want him to wash my clothes, EVER, and that, despite that fact, he keeps doing so, and ruining everything I own. Forget too that he managed to 1) put the belt in the wash, 2) remove it from the washer, and 3) transfer it to the dryer–a three-step process during which any normal human being might notice a blue leather belt, far away from home and lost in a rough part of town.
But forget the belt. Because this post isn’t really about my stupid belt. It’s about two truths regarding arguments. First, it never goes well to blame the victim. It doesn’t work in the courtroom, and it doesn’t work at home. And two: sometimes you have to stand there, with your beloved, mangled belt hanging from your hand, and realize that no belt is worth the drama.
There will be other belts. But for me, there’s only one Tom. And he’s kind to do the laundry, no matter how terribly it turns out. So it goes.
I was shopping at J Crew this weekend and thought of you when I saw this belt:
Is this like the one you had that suffered the tragic death in the washer/dryer?
Hi Kelly–yes, it is very like my mangled blue belt, and I procured one two weeks ago–thanks for thinking of me. Believe it or not, my husband suggested that I should pay for it from my discretionary spending account. !!!
Good perspective. I hope you find a replacement soon.
on its way… 🙂
Nicole wants to know how Tom didn’t hear the belt in the dryer, clanking around like crazy, and suspect that something might be seriously amiss.
1. washer/dryer in basement
2. our bedroom (and more importantly, the tv tom watches) on the third floor
3. if you wash a belt with a bunch of clothes, i think the clothes muffle the clanking. because i didn’t hear clanking either, come to think of it
I’m sure you got one of these “under your belt” already (haha, sorry I had to say it), but couldn’t leave you off my list: http://cafe23.me/2012/02/02/versatile-blogger-award/
hey thanks janice! yes, got one before but didn’t really know what to do with it. i’ll take your lead!
My pleasure. Go for it! 🙂
Amazing post. I have GOT to remember this myself!
we all have our limits, adrienne. i doubt i’ll remember it the next time he messes up
All I can say is, I am glad my wife does not have a blog…
tom loves my blog. he’s always like, “please share more intimate details about our lives on your blog.” no, that’s a lie.
I must say, I find the new blue quite lovely. it has patina now.
everyone likes the belt better ruined! but so totally not the point. 🙂
Love the perspective, on the belt, and life
i’m talking myself into the perspective. it’s hard
I have washed not once but twice my husband’s phone. As you can imagine his state of mind when he found them in the wash. If you need someone to be on your side you can talk to Josh 😉
dude that’s way worse than a belt. poor josh. you are worse than tom, my dear.
Wow, you are forgiving. I have banned my husband from touching my laundry. Anyone who thinks there is nothing wrong with washing darks with whites in warm water should have limited access to a washer and dryer.
oh his laundry crimes are many, but he’s quite proud of his ability to separate colors and whites. not that hard, really, when you only put eight items in at a time (how cost-efficient!!).
God you hit close to home on this one. I’m lucky enough to have a Mr. Mom that does the laundry, but damn he’s ruined so many things. And not just my stuff. The kids’ stuff, too! Every time he launders another dry-clean only garment and ruins it, I lecture him. And he feels bad. And I know I should feel bad for lecturing, but damn GET IT RIGHT ON MY CLOTHES finally! This is laundry, not rocket science. And how come my female brain knows in a nano-second which article of clothing belongs to which human in our home, and he keeps putting my bras in my daughter’s room and my son’s sweat pants in mine because he CAN’T TELL THE DIFFERENCE.
You are a saint. Really. The last two lines of your post prove you are a saint and I’m a heartless, cold woman.
i struggle with this every day. i try to be grateful for everything he does around the house (he does a lot around the house), but he does most of it wrong!! sometimes, it really isn’t the thought that counts.
There is a method here people. On the day I saw it in the dryer, she was already annoyed by some other indignity I had laid at her feet earler that day. I did not want to have to dig myself out of a bigger hole (it was a Saturday after all). Putting it up on the belt rack, I figured I’ll just play roulette with this one, taking the chance that on whatever day she found it in the future I will have done some outstanding thing in her eyes. I did know, though, that however it turned out this would be a blog post. Alas …
fancy meeting you here
Omg when I saw the picture of the belt post-traumatization, I felt a little part of me die inside!
Aww, you’re so sweet and forgiving — “But for me, there’s only one Tom.” ❤
i would have felt differently if they didn’t still have the belt for sale
C’mon. Half the stuff from J Crew is bought PRE-distressed. Tom probably saved you 20-fashion-dollars. BTW, did you know the Patagonia Web Belt buckle doubles as a bottle opener?
kenny, of course i knew that. but tom has to take the belt off to use it to open a bottle, which kind of makes it a lot less cool and nonchalant
Word! I wasn’t nice to my Henrik yesterday at all. He cooked a lovely dinner and when we’re about to start eating he mentions that a kid at pre-school (he’s a teacher) got winter vomiting disease today and that he (Henrik) had to clean up the mess. I’m an infection biologist and hates winter vomiting disease so I freaked out. Henrik who had wiped up puke had prepared my food. So, if I would have read you post before hand I wouldn’t have been so mad about it. Great post 🙂
an infection biologist. i am totally intrigued!
A few years ago mine put one of my Frederick’s of Hollywood no-longer-in-production bras in the mfing dryer and I could have killed him. Belts may not be worth the drama, but that bra was, hah!
i’d probably complain even more if he didn’t do any laundry at all, but maybe not.
hahaha cmon tom is ALWAYS the victim.
I love that he hung it back up on your belt rack. Hilarious. Let me know if you find another one of those belts – I have been searching for almost a year.
i kid you not, i checked j.crew the day i found my mangled belt, and it was, of course, no longer there. and then they put this on the website the NEXT DAY. j. crew is finally starting to add value to my life
My husband takes on the laundry every now and again – mixes everything, delicate, towels, in one – Drives me nuts – but hey- he’s trying to help!
i do laundry that way. i prize efficiency over exactitude. if i can wash everything in two loads, i am golden. of course i have to re-run the dryer four times for every load, but it’s a small price to pay
Isn’t distressed leather in this year?
not for work it isn’t. 🙂