She Said: "The Makeover"
To my delight, I found the fridge to be an empty canvas begging for my extensive collection of magnetic kitsch.
Our fridge is an abstract study in marital compromise. During years of singledom, I proudly adorned my fridge with magnets from my travels like a boy scout boasts merit badges. In my case, the tackier the magnet the better...an acid green margarita glass from Rhode Island...Pisa's leaning tower, an oh-so-British phone booth, idyllic palmed beach scenes from Peter Island, Tulum, Mystique and Jamaica, a plastic baguette avec beret from Paris.
When I made the big move into my then boyfriend Tom's small West Village abode, there wasn't much to work with in terms of putting my stamp on the place. Tom had lived there for close to 20 years so it was saturated with his personality and style, leaving little room for a touch of "me." But, to my delight, I found the fridge, with the exception of a St.Dominick's High School sticker, to be an empty canvas begging for my extensive collection of magnetic kitsch.
I went to town imagining how enchanted Tom would be to see my whimsical creativity when he got home from work. We had our first co-habitational feud that night. My attempt at self-expression wasn't met with the enthusiasm I'd anticipated - far from it. Apparently, the fridge was a sacredly preserved area of clean and uncluttered real estate and Tom fully intended to keep it that way. My single stamp of identity in my new home was snuffed out by an uncompromising veto - let the bliss begin. I sadly removed and bagged my collection while angrily mulling over Virginia Woolf's "A Room Of One's Own" and the concept of a woman's loss of identity in coupledom.
As with so many things in relationships, with time, and in the spirit of compromise and good humor, we found a common ground. Instead of screaming "me" or "him," our fridge's canvas has evolved piece-by-piece into "us." The Saint Dominic's High School sticker remains and now keeps company with a Julia Child quote magnet from our friend Chef Pati. Next to that is my work buddy Tiana's postcard from Bali, which is flanked by a Wall Street Journal cartoon about credit default swaps and the crumbling economy. To the left, there’s a RE-THINK ad that Tom tore from a magazine the month he decided to leave his job of 23 years, and Chinese cookie fortunes that we found coincidentally appropriate in their opening moment. On the far right hand corner, Tom’s stick figure, "I (heart) you" note is posted giving me usage rights to the TV remote while he was away a few months ago. We both gave up our individual visions for the fridge, now our collaborative collage greets me in the morning as I get milk for my coffee. And it makes me smile.