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Defying Expectations

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What's a nice college-educated girl like Remy doing on a barstool in a blue collar tavern shooting the breeze with a bunch of high school graduates and a couple of GED's? Having the time of her life, that's what.

Remy was always a bit of a rebel. She grew up in an upper-middle-class home, her parents were both professionals, and it was expected that someday she'd bring home a doctor, dentist or lawyer. Maybe a college professor or someone in finance. But in high school, she developed a thing for boys who took shop. At first she did it "just because it would tick off my parents." Then she decided she liked their laid back style and the fact that they weren't always studying for the SAT's. Her first husband was a tennis pro.

About five years ago, Remy, a media buyer, met Dan. She was 27 at the time; he was 40, divorced with two kids.

Dan was a salesman with a high school diploma and "a salary that does not begin to approach the halfway mark to a six-figure number. He's not a wine connoisseur, doesn't read the Wall Street Journal or own a Burberry raincoat. He has his hair cut at a barber shop in a bowling alley," says Remy. "But he's bright and interesting and fun, and he has more common sense than anyone else I know. His street smarts balance my book smarts. And he reads more than I do."

They began to date.

"I liked the fact that he had children. "We did a lot with them."

Three years ago they got married and moved into Dan's townhouse. They usually like to stay home. But three or four times a year, they meet Dan's old friends at the tavern.

"When we get together, we don't talk about what we do. The guys talk about sports, and I talk to the girls about movies or TV shows. We all do a lot of drinking. We get there at about 9 p.m. and we close the place down at 3 a.m. Those are some of the best times we have."

Every now and then, Remy is invited to a dinner party by one of her friends. She turns it down. But recently she got an invitation to a friend's 30th birthday party. "Dan fights and says he doesn't want to go, that he doesn't know the people and has nothing to say, but he goes along. He's a good sport," says Remy.

Today, Remy and Dan make about the same amount of money. But Dan has high blood pressure and Remy would like to see him get out of his high-stress job. "I'd like to see him retire in five years," she says. "I hope with what my salary will be by then that I'll be able to support him. I'd like to see him get a job at a place like Ace Hardware. Something with a lot of people contact. He'd be great at that. His kids will be grown by then — he's worked real hard. I'd love to see him relax."

Did you wind up with the kind of person you thought you would? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to cheryllavinrapp@gmail.com. And check out my new ebook, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front." COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM



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5 Comments | Post Comment
If Remy and Dan decide to have kids of their own, would Dan be willing to be Mr. Mom? Those arrangements often work out well, but I think it's best to talk about it in advance.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Madelyn
Sun Aug 24, 2014 12:20 PM
If you get to the tavern at 9 and close the place down drinking how can those be "some of the best times we have" when you probably can't remember. I would think Remy being young would want some children of her own. Sounds like Dan's got him a real nice wife, but I don't know if Remy got such a good husband - sounds one sided.

Cheryl -- no you usually don't end up with the kind of person you thought you would.
Comment: #2
Posted by: J
Sun Aug 24, 2014 12:33 PM
Wow, I posted something on this yesterday, and it's gone today! Here are the red flags I'm seeing:

1) "But in high school, she developed a thing for boys who took shop. At first she did it 'just because it would tick off my parents.' Then she decided she liked their laid back style and the fact that they weren't always studying for the SAT's." Funny thing about those SATs -- people only stress about them when they're taking them. There are PLENTY of laid-back white collar professionals out there. Similarly, there are ambitious blue collar people out there. A friend of mine is a mechanic. He doesn't have a college degree, but he has had EXTENSIVE training to handle the electronics and computer systems on today's cars. He's a big believer in ongoing education for himself and the other mechanics he works with -- he HAS to be, in order to stay current with all the technology mechanics frequently deal with on modern vehicles. The woman who does my nails holds a number of different certifications from the state that allows her to do nails and facials. She attends classes to stay current with new techniques, etc. Same goes for the guy who does my hair. My nanny has gotten a number of different certifications in child development, first aid and CPR and has to periodically renew those certifications. None of these people I've mentioned has a college a degree. Not one of them has ever taken the SAT. But all of them have gotten extensive training in their respective fields and continue to get additional training and have to take tests to earn and re-earn those certifications -- and yes, sometimes they stress about those tests. I, on the other hand, have two college degrees, but since I started working some 20 years ago, I haven't had to do any of that. So, sure, I may have stressed about the SATs, but that was more than 20 years ago. Remy could find laid-back white collar professionals if she wanted to -- she prefers blue collar either because she's still sticking it to her parents or because she thinks it somehow proves that she's less materialistic or something.

2) "'When we get together, we don't talk about what we do. The guys talk about sports, and I talk to the girls about movies or TV shows.'" I'm assuming Remy is suggesting that when she gets together with her friends, they talk about what they do for a living -- and the suggestion, I guess, is that this is the ONLY thing they can talk about? Or that blue-collar people don't ever talk about what they do for a living? I don't believe either of those things. Most people spend a good 40 hours at work. That's a pretty huge chunk of your waking life. Of course you're going to talk about that some -- regardless of what your job is. But you also talk about other stuff, too, and again, that happens regardless of being blue collar or white collar.

3) "'We all do a lot of drinking. We get there at about 9 p.m. and we close the place down at 3 a.m. Those are some of the best times we have.'" Well, first of all, kind of sad that the best times you have are when you're completely $#!t-faced and unlikely to remember much of it. But that also has nothing to do with blue collar or white collar people. There are blue collar lushes and white collar lushes. Alcohol doesn't discriminate.

4) "Every now and then, Remy is invited to a dinner party by one of her friends. She turns it down." Why? Because she no longer has much in common with them anymore? Well, if you keep refusing to get together with them, that will happen -- so whose fault is that? Is it because she's secretly embarrassed by Dan? Does she think her friends are going to judge him? Does she think Dan will judge them?

5) "But recently she got an invitation to a friend's 30th birthday party. 'Dan fights and says he doesn't want to go, that he doesn't know the people and has nothing to say, but he goes along. He's a good sport,' says Remy." So, the ONE time Remy finally decides she wants to do something with her friends, Dan doesn't want to do it and fights about it. And she calls that being a good sport? A good sport doesn't fight about it and then reluctantly give in. And BTW, presumably Remy didn't know any of Dan's friends initially and may well have been afraid she'd have nothing to say -- but instead of fighting about it, she agreed to get to know them and wound up liking them. So, guess who's being the snob here? That would be Dan, who, clearly, has pre-judged all of Remy's friends and has no interest in getting to know them and probably has no interest in her maintaining those friendships.

Wow. Remy sounds happy enough, so more power to her. But she also sounds just a tad delusional.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Lisa
Tue Aug 26, 2014 8:04 AM
Re: Lisa: Huh???
1. I don't know what you do for a living, but all the professionals I know of are required to take constant continuing education, just like your manicurist, etc. A lot of them stress out about coping with change. As for laid-back professionals, if they're too laid-back, they aren't working at all. Would you go to a doctor who hadn't had a class in her area of expertise in 20 years?
2. I gather she means there's a lot less of the career one-upmanship than you get in white collar circles.
3. Agreed as to the problems of doing a lot of drinking, even if it's only a few times a year.
4. These people aren't her friends, they're her frenemies. Again, she doesn't like all the career one-upmanship. She didn't like those people in high school, and she doesn't like them now.
5. He sounds like one of the more obliging husbands. I get together with my high school buddies fairly regularly, and most of my girlfriends' husbands won't come, no matter how hard their wives try to drag them there. The wives of our guy classmates, on the other hand, show up fairly regularly and seem to have a great time. BTW, it's mostly a blue-collar crowd. We don't do that much drinking, but we all love to dance.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Samantha
Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:18 PM
Re: Lisa
Working class families deal with differences of opinion by airing them openly, discussing it from all angles, perhaps in heated tones, and then work out a solution. I can understand why anyone who grew up in more refined circles would call that "a fight."
Upperclass families are so much more refined. They deal with differences of opinion by never mentioning them. Instead they stab each other in the back and retaliate in kind.
Case in point: I know a millionaire couple where the wife never mentioned he was fat. She just gave him a treadmill for Christmas(!) Shortly afterwards her family invited them to an out-of-state wedding. The husband didn't object. He allowed her to accept the invitation and then buy plane tickets and hotel reservations for them both. The day before they were supposed to leave, he faked a broken leg ON THE TREADMILL. His fake broken leg routine was hilarious! But of course she couldn't expect him to get on a plane with a broken leg, ha-ha! I really don't think the husband fooled anyone, anyone at all. The wife went to the wedding alone, risking all the bad gossip that was sure to come out of that. Everybody involved lost a lot of money: the couple for the unused travel plans, and the bride and groom for the nonrefundable dinner reservations. BTW, the minute the wife got in the cab for the airport, his so-called broken leg healed miraculously.
Which husband would you rather have?
Comment: #5
Posted by: Madelyn
Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:45 PM
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