Bill, marriage, memories, music

Repost: My husband hates the song “Dream Weaver”…

I have a touch of writer’s block today. I’m having trouble coming up with a good topic for the main blog, although I wrote one about our Thanksgiving for the travel blog. When this happens, I typically go to the original version of The Overeducated Housewife and mine for a repost. Sometimes doing that will spawn a fresh topic. And sometimes, I simply find another chestnut to share again… Today is one of the days I’m going to share an oldie. Word to the wise… this is a weird story and may be too TMI for some people. Proceed with caution. This was originally written on November 21, 2018.

Yesterday, one of my Facebook friends shared this video of the song “Dream Weaver” by Gary Wright.

This song was made famous in 1976, when I was a wee lass of about 3 or 4 years old.

In 1976, my dad was the base engineer at Mildenhall Air Force Base in England.  This song was popular, along with a lot of other great songs from the 70s.  I’ve always liked it, although I was a small child when it was a hit.  It still sounds pretty good in 2018, at least to my ears.  I also like Wright’s other big song, “Love Is Alive.”

This video includes the version of “Dream Weaver” I know best.  It says this song comes from 1972, but that’s incorrect.  It was released in 1975 and was a hit the following year.

When Bill and I met, he told me there are a few songs he hates.  For instance, he doesn’t like the songs “Strong Enough” by Sheryl Crow or “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman” by Bryan Adams, mainly because his ex used to play them as a means of demonstrating to Bill what kind of man she thought he should be.  

If you know my husband (and a few readers do), you know that he is one of those people who bends over backwards to please others.  He’s got a really kind heart and does whatever he can to make other people happy.  To hear that his best efforts weren’t enough for his ex wife was shattering.  The fact that she used music to drive home that point was especially cruel.  She ruined some good music and a lot of children’s books that way.  She was also fond of using books by Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein to make her points about Bill’s alleged shortcomings.

So, although I do like “Strong Enough”, I never play it when Bill is around, because I know it reminds him of dark times.  Fortunately, I don’t really like Bryan Adams’ love ode, so we have no problems, there.  For a long time, I avoided playing anything by The Muppets or Kenny Loggins’ wonderful children’s album around Bill because I knew they would make him sad.

Another song Bill hates is “Dream Weaver”, but that’s because of another person in his life– his first stepfather.  When Bill was about ten years old, his mother decided to remarry.  I think remarriage of a parent is hard enough for most youngsters, but it’s especially difficult when the new spouse turns out to be abusive.  The guy Bill’s mom married was a very handsome fellow and talented artist I’ll call B.J.  Actually, B.J. was the name he went by.  Come to think of it, it was probably an inspired nickname.

At least on the surface, B.J. had a lot going for him. He was tall, blond, athletic and very physically attractive, and he was legitimately and generously blessed with artistic gifts. Although I never met the man myself, I have seen a beautiful portrait he did of my mother-in-law. She kept the artwork, although the marriage was mercifully brief.

Bill and B.J. didn’t really hit it off very well. Evidently, B.J. used to do things like blow cigarette smoke in Bill’s face and tell him that he was “emotionally unavailable”. B.J. once said that talking to Bill was like talking to a brick wall. Bill really took that comment to heart, and it made him feel great shame. I don’t understand where B.J. got the idea that Bill wasn’t easy to talk to. I find him very easy to talk to… but then, B.J. was probably a bit resentful that Bill was around. Bill took away attention from his mother that B.J. probably thought should be directed solely to him.

B.J. was a big fan of Gary Wright’s music, and he especially liked the song “Dream Weaver”. He used to play that song a lot. B.J. also liked wearing women’s clothing and, in fact, was probably transgender. The whole reason B.J. wanted to be married was because he was hoping to learn how to be a woman. He thought maybe Bill’s mom could teach him that. This was not something B.J. had disclosed before he and my mother-in-law tied the knot. Once she found out what his agenda actually was, she made plans and eventually got a divorce. My mother-in-law and B.J. lost touch after that.

I try to be open-minded about most things. I don’t know anything about what it’s like to be transgender. I can only imagine that it’s extremely difficult even today, and was almost certainly much more so in the 1970s, when people had much less understanding and consideration for those who are different. I’m sure B.J. had some traumatic issues that caused him to be the way he was… not necessarily transgender, but mean and abusive. There was some reason B.J. found pleasure in being disrespectful to Bill and saying cruel things that he knew would upset him. Hurting people tend to be hurtful to others. It’s a vicious cycle. B.J.’s status as a transgender person is not what made him mean, although it’s possible that the treatment he received from others, possibly because he was so different, is what led to him being so abusive.

I didn’t know B.J., although I’ve heard some stories about him over the years.  He wasn’t Bill’s stepfather for very long, which is a good thing.  However, even though B.J. was Bill’s stepfather for only a few years, he did leave a lingering calling card, besides that beautiful portrait of Bill’s mother.  Now, whenever the song “Dream Weaver” plays, Bill is reminded of that guy– a man he hasn’t seen in well over forty years.  And although I never knew the man myself, when I hear it, now I’m reminded of the stories I’ve heard about him.

It’s amazing how the most innocuous things can leave a lasting impression.  It might be a piece of music or art.  It might be certain foods or smells.  I have written a few times about how much I hate mushrooms.  I have always hated them.  When I was a child, I was literally phobic of them.  I’m still a bit phobic of mushrooms, though not nearly like I was when I was a young child in England.  In those days, whenever I saw a mushroom growing in the yard, I would freeze and start screaming hysterically.  Today, I still kind of cringe when I see them, but I don’t scream anymore.

My sisters were kind of mean spirited teenagers at that time. In our English backyard, there were a lot of toadstools that grew wild. Sometimes, my sisters would pick them and chase me with them, all the while laughing hysterically at me as I screamed and ran away. One of my sisters went as far as reinforcing the phobia by drawing mean faces and shark teeth on any mushrooms in my coloring books. To this day, when someone posts a picture of a dish with mushrooms on social media or I smell them cooking, I’m reminded of that time when I was a child. It still makes me cringe, even though it’s been years since anyone chased me with a mushroom (one of my cousins did years later, to the same effect). Those experiences are imprinted on my brain, much like certain songs are imprinted on Bill’s.

I thought I was alone in my hatred of mushrooms until one day, I was watching Montel Williams’ talk show, and the topic was phobias. Montel had a guest who was phobic of mushrooms. I watched in amazement as she reacted the very same way I used to when I was very young. To be honest, if someone tried to force me to eat a mushroom or touch one, I’d probably react the same way I did when I was a child. I wrote an article about mycophobia on Associated Content. It generated a lot of hits and was even noticed by the woman who was on Montel Williams. She sent me an email about her experience on the show. Although Montel did get her to touch one and, in fact, kissed her with one between his lips (that would not have worked for me), she said she’s still a bit phobic.

I once entertained the idea of becoming a chef, but abandoned that notion when I realized I couldn’t be a chef and have a mushroom phobia.  Maybe I could have been a pastry chef, but even then, I’d probably still have problems.  And then I worked at a restaurant for awhile and realized that lifestyle wasn’t one I wanted for the rest of my life.  It’s too stressful.

I understand why Bill hates the song “Dream Weaver”, although I like it and probably always will.  He understands why I hate mushrooms, although he loves them and truffles and always will.  He respects my idiosyncrasies and I respect his.  When Bill is around, our house is a Gary Wright free zone.  And when we go out to dinner or eat at someone’s house, Bill is supportive when I have to explain why mushrooms are verboten.  I’m sure more than a couple of waiters have filed away memorable stories about me telling them about my irrational fears.  I guess these things make us more interesting people.

Below are the comments that were left on the original post…

AlexisAR

November 23, 2018 at 11:15 PM

BJ sounds like a real douche. being transgender is surely a difficult way to live, but that obviously doesn’t give him a valid excuse to mistreat anyone. I know I’m preaching to the choir here.

knotty

November 24, 2018 at 5:36 AM

Oh yeah. Both Bill and his mom are such nice people that they attract abusive narcissists. Both have gotten better about telling those people to fuck off, but it never comes without a price.  

I think B.J. is probably dead. My MIL said one time he called her for help after they split up. He was in actual physical danger when he called. I think he was dressed as a woman and about to be beat up or something. So she helped him and then asked him never to contact her again.

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homosexuality, movies

Repost: Review of the film Men In The Nude…

As long as I’m writing about foreign films, here’s a review I wrote for Epinions in 2011 about the 2006 Hungarian movie, Men in the Nude. If I recall correctly, when I posted this review on Facebook, I lost at least one Facebook friend.  Fortunately, he wasn’t actually a friend.  I guess the guy was offended by the words “homosexual experimentation”.  I should watch more foreign films.  They are interesting, even if I do have to read the subtitles.  By the way, this wasn’t a porn film. My review appears here “as/is”.

Writer’s block plus mid life crisis equals homosexual experimentation

I’m not quite sure how I ended up with the 2006 Hungarian art film Men in the Nude in my Netflix queue.  I think I might have added it because I watched a few interesting Romanian films last year and wondered if I’d like Hungarian cinema as much.  In any case, having had this DVD in my possession for the past couple of weeks, I finally sat down to watch it.  It’s entirely in Hungarian, so actually watching the film is a must to get the gist of what’s going on.  There are subtitles at the bottom of the screen. 

The story

The film starts off promising enough, with a shot of the iconic Budapest train station.  Having walked around there with my husband Bill, I immediately felt oriented.  Then, once the setting shifts to a Hungarian restaurant where our protagonist, Tibor (László Gálffi), is on the phone with his wife (Éva Kerekes), things are less familiar.

Tibor is a writer and has been on the road promoting his book.  He’s suffering from writer’s block and appears to be pretty bored with his life.  After ringing off his cell phone and paying the check at the restaurant, he goes to a large bookstore where his book is being sold.  He listens to a Schubert CD and gazes at a table filled with copies of his latest book.  Suddenly, he is confronted by a young, blond, charismatic looking man who asks him to inscribe a copy of the book.  After Tibor writes a dedication, the man goes to pay for the book, but “conveniently” has no money.  Tibor offers to pay for it as the young man runs out of the store, setting off alarms.  He has stolen the Schubert disc as “repayment” for Tibor’s generosity.

Tibor later learns that his admirer is a 19 year old male prostitute named Zsolt (Dávid Szabó).  Though Tibor is married to a woman and lives a straight life, he is drawn in by Zsolt’s charisma.  The two begin a relationship and suddenly Tibor is able to write again.  Tibor becomes alive through his fling with Zsolt, who excites him and inspires his creativity.  Things become complicated when his wife, a blonde, narcissistic, has-been actress discovers their affair. 

My thoughts

Initially, I was kind of interested in this film.  The story is certainly intriguing, especially for a straight, American woman like me who has little experience with films involving homosexual relationships.  I thought Dávid Szabó was very watchable and seductive in his portrayal of Zsolt.  I could see why Tibor, a man who had always considered himself heterosexual, would be lured by his charms.  Szabó seems to have mastered “come hither” looks.  He has a beautiful, androgynous look to him and expertly flirts with the camera and Tibor.

About halfway through the film, my attention began to wane.  I started to notice how cheesy the soundtrack was, aside from the classical pieces that were included.  I lost interest in the story.  The sex scenes were not as fascinating and I started wondering when the film was going to end, even though it runs for a respectably brief 90 minutes or so. 

Nudity

Though there is some nudity in this film, it’s mostly very tasteful.  I don’t remember seeing any full frontal nudity, though there are plenty of naked bum shots and at least one shot of a topless woman.  There are both heterosexual and homosexual sex scenes as well.  I looked up this film on Amazon.com and noticed that the suggestive sell efforts seemed to point toward gay skin flicks.  I would say this movie is more like an indie art film than a skin flick.  Don’t be fooled by the cover art on the DVD.  It’s definitely not pornography. 

Overall

I’m glad I watched this film because I like to broaden my experiences with foreign films.  Even a badly done foreign film can be more intriguing than a lot of American films.  That being said, this movie did not hold my attention like the Romanian films I watched last year that inspired me to broaden my movie repertoire.  I’m sure some viewers will get caught up in the story and get more out of Men in the Nude than I did.  For me, this film was just “eh”.

Men in the Nude is not rated.  It was directed and written by Károly Esztergályos.

As an Amazon Associate, I get a small commission from Amazon on sales made through my site.

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Ex

Short and fat with bad hair…

Lately, I’ve been dealing with a touch of writer’s block. Ever since I had to abandon my original “Blogspot”, I’ve been feeling a bit more constrained about expressing myself. Some people might think that’s a good thing, but they likely aren’t creative types. I know a lot of people read my posts on my main blog and probably came away with the idea that I’m totally unreasonable, mean-spirited, or even crazy. Such is not really the case, though… if I were any of those things, I’d be spewing with reckless abandon and no shame.

Some people don’t think of what I do as “creative”, either. They think I’m just an over the hill housewife with no life, pathetically writing this shit day after day instead of getting a “real” job in a cubicle or something. And yet, these people continued to read my stuff, if only to make sure I was staying in line, occasionally commenting and messaging me only when they felt I needed to edit. The comments were usually prefaced with an acknowledgment that they knew the blog is “my space”, but… Um… why read if you’re only reading to try to control or complain about my content?

Well… it pisses me off, because honestly, I don’t go out of my way to mess with people, and a lot of the stuff I wrote on my Blogspot was legitimately helpful and interesting to people who don’t know me. For instance, yesterday I noticed that a post I wrote last year about Calvary Temple was linked on a site for survivors of that particular cult. People are now reading that post from last June and hopefully learning from it. Aside from that, when I do have legitimate vents about people, most of the time, I try to be fair and at least attempt to look at the other person’s perspective. And yet, I was being characterized as “unfair” or even “unhinged”.

Maybe I am a little unhinged. Months after moving, I’m still neurotic about things that I know would have upset my ex landlady, even though none of our other landlords had issues with me or Bill. Even though we really tried not to provoke reactions from her, we were always unsuccessful. We spent days cleaning, only to have her claim that we’re filthy, dirtbag people. I wish we’d just not bothered to clean, because nothing we could have done would have been enough for her. Her emails about everything wrong with the house are proof of that. We spent days cleaning and I was left exhausted, cranky, and physically sore. And yet, she’s still screwing us. If we’d just left the place a mess, at least she’d have just cause to take our money.

Even though she found and charged us for every possible defect in the house, she clearly never inspected former tenant with the scrutiny she did with us, because a lot of what she was complaining about was not done by us. It was ENTIRELY about money! She just wanted our money, and to shame us in the interim, probably because she knows she isn’t entitled to what she’s claiming and is hoping Bill’s kind nature will overrule his right to nail her with a lawsuit.

And yet, I’m the asshole… and the ex landlady is this “wonderful” person, according to the former tenant. Well… it makes me mad, because it’s unfair and underhanded, and she shouldn’t have the right to blatantly rip us off with illegal charges simply because she didn’t like us (although she clearly loved the 90,000 euros we paid her over the 4 years we spent living in her outdated and overpriced hovel).

Anyway… what prompted me to finally move my blog was not just due to my ex landlady’s former tenant harassing me about my content and opinions. If she’d left me alone, she would have soon found out that her assumptions about me were wrong. But she’d been following me long enough to assume she knew exactly what I was about to do. She felt the need to interfere in things that are none of her business. Although I’d still like to offer that person a hearty “fuck you”, I feel constrained in doing it.

I also moved the blog because Blogger has become downright wonky with some browsers and when I do write something upsetting, in order to keep it private, I have to make the whole blog private. I don’t want Google dictating my content, either. Serious bloggers don’t use Blogger. I figure, even though I don’t do this for money, the fact that my blog is nine years old must mean I’m a serious blogger. Therefore, it was long time for a new and more professional platform.

Even though my decision to move will eventually probably be a good one, it still stings a bit. I’m basically starting over mostly from scratch. Yes, there are a few people who liked the original blog who read here, but the best content is still on that site. I’d like to migrate it to this blog and shut down the Blogspot, but for some reason, WordPress won’t do it for me. I don’t need a lot of readers, but it’s good to have a few, just so I feel like doing this is still worth the time and effort.

It’s hard to get used to this new place. It has some great features that I like, and some that I find annoying. For instance, while I’m sure there is a way to do it, I don’t seem to have the ability to underline with this new editor. I have to use these “blocks”, which don’t let me set the spacing. I suppose I can fart around with it some, to see if I can finally get it looking the way I want it to. I wish I were more excited about things like layout. I may be creative, but layouts don’t excite me. Unfortunately, writing isn’t exciting me like it used to. I may have to find another outlet.

Which brings me to the title for this post… I remember watching an old episode of Saved By The Bell not long ago. The character, Jessie (played by Elizabeth Berkley), who was tall and beautiful with pretty hair, was presented with the suggestion of “forgiving and forgetting” that her boyfriend had pissed her off. Her response was, “I’d rather be short and fat with bad hair.” Well, I am short and fat with bad hair… and I’m having a hard time moving on, forgiving and forgetting, even though it would make my life easier and better.

Yesterday, we booked a cruise in Scotland and paid for it all, since the cruise leaves in 117 days. You’d think I’d be excited about that, and primed to write a lot about planning our trip. But instead, I’m still stewing about how pissed off I feel about the way Bill and I have been treated. I’m glad we moved, since that situation was very toxic. I’m just having some trouble getting over the toxicity of it. I suspect I’ll be better once this matter is settled… but I have a feeling that ex landlady is going to be a major pain in the ass about it, even though two lawyers have already told us she’s clearly violating the law.

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