She was very proud of the colonization of his medicine cabinet. Anyone who looked inside know automatically that in his life there was a steady woman who waxed her face with Noxema, favored Revlon eye-shadow, electric rollers and Ma Griffe perfume. When he visited her house, he invariably left her with his socks. They would dangle ostentatiously from her shower stall until his return. It was, she assumed, a fair trade.
She opened his medicine cabinet and - more careful than any bank official - took her usual week end inventory of its contents. Certainly it provided a more orderly revelation that his garbage, which of late had offered up too many clues to make sense to her. Somehow the medicine cabinet was more comforting, its contents inviolate: the Noxema, the Revlon, the empty Mary Quant lipstick case.
Mary Quant lipstick . . .
She hated Mary Quant lipstick.
Dutifully, she examined the innocent possibilities. No, even if she had mistakenly bought that lipstick, it was doubtful she would have bought an empty lipstick. No, he wasn't the kind of guy who would wear lipstick. No, he did not have a youthful mother who came to visit. No, she would not do the sensible think and shut up about it.
Holding the empty lipstick case aloft with all the tenderness one might normally reserve for a dead snake, she managed to bring it to his attention.
What may I ask is this/It's a lipstick what do you think it is/I don't wear that lipstick as it happens/oh/
So who does/Is this an inquisition/Answer the question/This isn't like you at all I think you're being silly/
I think I'll take our damn socks from my showers stall.
"Jealously has deep roots," says Dr. Arnold Namrow who is a psichiatrist and should know. "It doesn't make any rational sense. Christ almightly, jealously is just rampant."
As the fashion critics are forever saying: if you wait long enough everything comes back in vogue. Along with slinky negligees, lace handerchiefs, and bobbed hair, jealousy has emerged for a triumphant return engagement. This is all, of course, most comforting, for there was a time - in the Swinging Sixties and the early-surly Seventies - who jealously was about as stylish as little white gloves and ankle bracelets. There was something called an "open marriage," which men who drove to work in Country Squire station wagons always claimed to have. Couples began confiding in each other about their extra-curricular affairs. Hmicidal impulses were channeled into civilized theory: "Do you really want to deny the possibility of a pleasurable experience to someone you love?"
It is 1974: "We live together," a friend confided. "But she dates other men. I don't mind at all, but some of her guys really freak out when they pick her up, and see me."
It is 1977. We are all having dinner together, and the couple look very happy.Except that they are no longer a couple.
"One night I picked up the phone. It was a guy - asking for her," he explains.
"So you know what he did? He packed my bags and moved me out that very night," she explains.
But I thought you two had an open relationship . . .
"So did I," she says. And shrugs. Freud Saw It
Dr. Namrow believes that adult sexual jealousy has its roots in the family structure. "If you look just in your own experience of growing up," he says, "you experience jealousy of sisters, brothers, mothers and fathers. Freud saw it very very clearly. He saw that it started in the family with the Oedipus complex, which has a lot to do with hate and love, but also with jealousy. When a new kid comes along, the other one is jealous at being supplanted, being substituted and evicted. Kids go ape. They just go ape."
Freud, to be sure, had his moments. It's nice to know jealousy has deep roots, that the stunted, squawling creatures who were our siblings are responsible for all this misery later on. There's only one problem with acquiring all this knowledge. All My Love . . .
(From a 4 a.m. phone conversation)
"Hi, are you awake?"
"(Groggily) I am now."
"Yes, well listen carefully. You have to wake up for this."
"All right, I'm awake now."
"Robert's been seeing someone else. I found these tiny little love notes, accidentally I didn't mean to."
"How can you be sure they're love notes?"
"They say, 'All my love.' They say, 'I love you.'"
"Yeah, well that's a love note, all right."
"What should I do?"
"Discuss it with him sensibly in the morning."
"I won't. I'll wake him up right now and kill him."
"that's another option, of course."
"Do you think he's having an affair?"
"If he is, he'll deny it. How did you accidently find the love notes?"
"I looked through his wallet."
"Women do that all the time," chuckles Dr. Namrow. "Women are the ones who look at letters. No, men usually don't. Not in my experience."
"I don't know," says Dr. Namrow. Then later: "May be it's conditioning." Freeze Frame
(From a television executive whose wife left him for his best friend):
"I was in my office with six other people, and since the network news was on, I could watch all three monitors out of the corner of my eye, while we were talking. The sound was switched off. About mid-way through the news, I saw a woman being interviewed on one monitor who looked vaguely familiar. I thought to myself. 'Didn't she write a book or something?
"It took a minute or so, but finally I realized I was looking at my ex-wife.
"And it was so terrible - awful, really. It was as if some evil demon had materialized through the walls of my office. It had been 15 years since I last saw her, but I shook, I went pale. I must have. You know if this had been a movie script, someone would have said, 'Is anything wrong?' But no one noticed. They just all kept on talking about how many cans of Fluffo we were going to use next year, or whatever.
"When they all left my office, I called a friend at a network affiliate. But when it came, I left the cassette in my desk drawer for a week.
"I have this video machine, you know, that can freeze any frame, every ugly gesture, every unsightly expression, and I thought I'd use it on her.
"So finally, I watched the tape. She looked exactly the same, except maybe a little fatter. Same hooped earrings, everything. We all change, but she hadn't changed at all. Smiles
"I remember standing around the apartment, sorting through our mail," remembers one woman. "I found this letter with a smiling face on it, you know thos little designs. Well I have a girl friend who does that, so I opened it up.Well it was to my husband, and apparently he must have told the author of this letter that what she needed was a real man or something. Because the letter said, "I'm sorry the earth didn't move.'"
"Well, I decided to wait until just the right moment to bring it up. So I did. I brought it up when I was writing Christmas cards.
"All that next week I got flowers from my husband. I got dinner dates. I got to see my husband all the time."
(From Dr. Leon Salzman's article. "Psychiatric and Clinical Aspects of Infidelity," which appeared in "The Psychodynamics of Work and Marriage," Vol. XVI)
"A young man who was quite contented and devoted to his wife began seeking extramarital affairs when he discovered that his wife had fallen in love with another man whom she planned to marry. In attempting to win his wife back, he wooed her ardently, with devotion and fidelity. He succeeded in getting his wife to abandon her romantic adventure and to reinstate her previously loyal relationship with him. At that time he began to seek extramarital relationship . . ."
How did the young man manage to improve his marriage?
Through therapy, says Dr. Salzman.
(From a conversation with a married man)
Q: Has your wife ever discovered you were cheating on her?
A: I wrote my girl friend's name on a slip of paper to remind myself to discuss her with my shrink that day. But I left the slip of paper with her name under my pillow, by mistake. My wife makes the beds.
Q: What did your shrink say?
A: He said I shouldn't have left my girl friend's name under my pillow.
Q: What did your wife say?
A: She threatened to leave me if I ever did it again.
Q: So what are you doing here with me?
A: That's a good question.
Q: How would you feel your wife cheated on you?
A: It would kill me.
What does one do about jealousy, Dr. Namrow is asked.
"You live with it and try to work it through yourself in the best way you can," he replies helpfully."I don't think there really is any advice you can give on that." . . . All My Love
(From a 9 a.m. phone coversation)
"So listen - I was terribly worried about you early this morning. Did you discuss the letters with Robert?"
"Oh yeah. There's nothing to worry about."
"You woke me up at 4 a.m. because there's nothing to worry about?"
"I'm sorry I woke you up. He explained it all."
"What did he say?"
"He said he couldn't help it if she kept sending him these little notes. He said I should tell her to stop. Should I tell her?"
"I believe him. Do you believe him.?"
"But you know the best part? The best part is that he isn't a bit mad at me for going through his wallet."