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Just a Guy, Oscar, Living with Felix

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Men are from Mars and women are from Venus -- especially when it comes to table etiquette, shopping habits ... and everything else.

couple disagreeing back to back

Bruce Sallan: The other night, we had some friends over, and my conservation side came out when I began cutting our large paper napkins in half. We were having dessert, and I thought the napkins were too big and it was a waste. My wife was appalled and demanded I stop immediately. Our friends thought it was quite amusing.

It recalled other times when our Oscar and Felix differences come out (referring to Oscar the slob and Felix the neatnik in Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple," though we're not near as extreme as those two). I'm mostly Oscar, the messy one, but also the one that may be overly budget-conscious. My wife is Felix, the neat one, who may be a bit anal about it in my view (in hers, she's already let go of most of her sense-of-order and cleanliness needs by living with three boys and three dogs -- I'm considered one of the boys).

I like to reuse napkins (if they're not too dirty), reuse tin foil and plastic bags, be quick in the shower, minimize trips to the dry cleaner, wear clothes several times, shop at Costco and Target, buy only when it's on sale, use coupons, and otherwise be fiscally conservative. My wife would call it "cheap," while she would prefer shopping at Neiman Marcus, buying "retail," and going to the dry cleaner after one wearing of anything.

All right, I'm exaggerating, as she's not thaaaaaaat bad, by any stretch. But, it's funny how we're so different in this regard, how/why we love each other and found each other, and that we want to be together the rest of our lives -- I suppose the great love question for everyone. But, what do I know? I'm just a guy.

next: Married Moms: Do You Feel Single?
21 comments so far | Post a comment now
brianna September 26, 2009, 7:59 AM

do you also reuse toilet paper?

Erin September 26, 2009, 8:23 AM

Cutting napkins in half to conserve…okay you win (in the taking it too far award)…lol. I think the older we are the harder it is to mesh lives. It’s important to try and accommodate and compromise without giving up who you are. Love the variety of your blogs, Bruce, from farting to looking to this…very funny and keeping us on our toes.! Thanks!

Anonymous September 26, 2009, 9:02 AM

I didn’t detect a hint of sarcasm in your comment, did I? The better question Brianna, is do you carefully fold a regular number of sheets or bunch your toilet paper into a wad?

Bruce Sallan September 26, 2009, 9:08 AM

Brianna - That was me, not “Anonymous” that posted the 3rd comment. “Anonymous” usually posts relatively nasty unpleasant comments, though the last one was almost positive (I was going to say “her” last one when I realized it just as easily could be a guy - caught myself before a sexist slip). Anyway, just in case my name is omitted again, Brianna, this is Bruce Sallan commenting and it was I who made the comment about how many sheets of toilet paper do you use and in what form? A truly important global question.

brianna September 26, 2009, 9:27 AM

i agree….toilet paper usage is a globally important question and concept. i’ll admit it…i am a toilet paper junkie. i usually wrap it around my hands fast and furiously before i wipe- as if i were building a cast or attempting to mummify myself. i also use wads of it during makeup application, to blow my nose, and stuff my bra.
side note-when my dad was in the army, he told me the toilet paper was like sand paper and he was only allowed one square!

Loren September 26, 2009, 10:30 AM

Anal, me???? You could have used that word to describe me PRE Bruce, but certainly not now. Let’s face it, I’m fighting a losing battle. There’s 6 of you (meaning 3 boys and 3 big dogs) and only one of me. I have fought a hard and lengthy battle, but I alas have given in. Now, whatever I can get done is good enough. My sanity and well being are more important. But I do believe that I have rubbed off a little at least on the two younger ones or maybe they just fear my rath:-)))))))!!!But perhaps it’s that old addage that opposites attract in our case.

PostalDad September 26, 2009, 11:18 AM

LOL Loren, you are funny. Yes, I can see a losing battle, but never give in. Keep those standards where you want them. Look at the younger ones,… it’s working! Bruce and the dogs, on the other hand, well…. depending how old the dogs are….. there’s a saying in there regarding new tricks. hahahaha! My wife and I do the same thing. It makes me feel better knowing it’s not just us. Thx for the article!!

Aaron September 26, 2009, 11:27 AM

Dad, c’mon, you’re the biggest slob in the house. Not us.

Your son…

P.S. Is this what you mean by being supportive?

MOM...aka motherofmany September 26, 2009, 11:43 AM

Good for your wife! Cutting the napkins in half is over the top and please for goodness sakes don’t reuse the foil. Just plain gross! Now I like to save $$$ kids even call me the coupon queen but dear Lord don’t be so cheap on the napkins. You can get them for less than a dollar for 150. ALSO lets give the wife a little credit. It can’t be easy living in a house full of males. Believe me when I say this ….I have 8 kids including the hubby and 3 dogs. A woman has to have a little something for herself and if her big splurge is dry cleaning be thankful….it could be a new Coach bag once a month!

Bruce Sallan September 26, 2009, 11:53 AM

Thanks Mom for the reminder. My wife does put up with a lot and has had some real challenges lately. Yet, last night, she made a glorious meal topped off with her heavenly pumpkin pie (which she knows I love) and, this, after we’d been out-of-sorts with each other throughout the day and she’s had tons of legitimate stress via some work-related issues, some minor health issues, and the emotional fall-out of something of a personal nature (business-wise). In spite of that, she made a dream meal last night. Okay, maybe I should just get her that Coach bag. Nah, I don’t appreciate it that much…lol. But, giving her what I know is her love language I can do and am working on all the time. What a challenge relationships can be - especially the second time around. I have a forthcoming column which will be on my web-site ( as well as all the other papers and web-sites that carry it, called “Who Said Marriage Should Be Work?” which directly addresses these issues. Thanks for your comment, Mom - it’s even more appreciated knowing you have 8 kids! Is that eight, like in 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-EIGHT! OMG! You’re amazing!

MOM...aka motherofmany September 26, 2009, 12:04 PM

Marriage is a full time job!LOL It’s when we stop working at it that we “get fired.” Your wife came home and did all that despite being pissed at you. Are you sure she didn’t put a little something extra in that pie? (I’m only kidding) She is one hell of a lady if she did all that. Wives need to feel adored and cherished every day. Even the smallest gestures have the power to make her feel over the moon with love. I’ve been at this job for 22 years and I’m thinking I should be giving hubs classes on making the wife feel adored as most of you guys are clueless. Yup I have 8 if you include the husband. 24, 21, 19, 16, 14, 10 and 10. We figured out what was causing all this and got cable in our bedroom!LOl BTW…read the review you gave my buddy Postal…thanks for that. He is one of a kind.

Woot! September 26, 2009, 6:23 PM

The recipe for a perfect realtionship in my opinion! My husband and I bicker in similar ways. The truth is that in all actuality… it’s bickering about “nothing”. Think of couples that are at each other’s throat about infedility, alcholism, addictions, parenting…. I consider myself lucky to be in a relationship that bickers about “nothing”.. Woot!

Megan September 27, 2009, 8:37 PM

Seriously what is it with men and keeping/saving everything?! Reusing napkins? *shaking my head* I would understand if they are the “fancy type” (the one’s you throw in the wash), but come on Bruce, you shop at Costco and Target (I do too) so I know you can afford to use the whole napkin. Live on the edge and give it a shot! :)

Lindy September 28, 2009, 8:12 AM

I remember a woman on wife swap who cut her paper plates in half to use less.

Ari September 29, 2009, 7:34 AM

So true.

Samoys October 3, 2009, 9:10 AM

lot about you

Chaebeth October 11, 2009, 1:55 AM

Very cute :-)))),

Kauwien October 11, 2009, 3:52 PM

It is the coolest site, keep so!,

Doctorset November 20, 2009, 7:28 AM

This is the welcome page for the Association web site.

Dietroly November 20, 2009, 8:08 PM

This is the welcome page for the Association web site.

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