Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Does He Love Your Chairs?

My stepmom and I are a lot alike.  We're both bold, passionate, independent, social, and wild-by-nature (though she's tamed now that she's in her mid-40s, haha).

Claire + Amy-Stepmama

When she read my blog post last week about old & new relationships, she commented, "Does he love your chairs??"  Most of you know I'm not a movie person, so this reference was lost on me.  When I asked her what on earth she was talking about, she sent me the following message.  I think many of you will find it as insightful as I did:

Hey -- so here's my metaphorical chairs story....

The year was 1996 (I can see you rolling your eyes right now -- ha ha).

I had quit my job at the law firm and moved in for the summer with Christoph and Sheryl in Queens and was taking some classes at the International Center for Photography. I left my BF of 5 years in ATL. That relationship was sort of ending, but I was confused b/c I thought I loved him, etc.

My daily routine was to take the subway in to Manhattan, attend my classes in the AM and bum around taking photos until about 4 or 4:30 and then head home and make dinner for C & S. I had learned not to wait until 5 and try to get to Queens on the subway - MISERABLE.

So, one day I realized I had lost track of time and it was 5:00. I would seriously do anything to avoid going under the East River in a tin can packed with people. 

I happened upon a movie theater and a movie called Phenomenon was just starting -- so, I decided watch the movie and I called Sheryl and tell her I would be home after rush hour.

I don't really remember what the movie was about, but there was a scene in the movie that changed my life. A total "ah ha" moment as Oprah would call it.

John Travolta played a guy in a small town that owned a gas station. Kyra Sedwick played a local artisian type that made chairs and John Travolta sold them for her in the parking lot of this gas station. Every week he would call her and tell her that she had sold 2 or 3 chairs and she would bring him more chairs. She didn't realize that he was in love with her. So - towards the end of the movie, (for some reason) she has to go to his house unexpectedly and she sees all the chairs she thought she sold to other people on his front porch. -- like 20 or more of them. She is really mad and disappointed b/c she thought people liked the chairs -- but as it turns out no one really liked them b/c they were uncomfortable. So, JT tries to explain to her that he loves the chairs b/c they represent what she is about to him... her creativity, her passion -- everything inside her. And yes, he even loves the fact that they are uncomfortable b/c the represents her imperfection.
So, I started thinking about my BF in that moment and I realized that I had spent 5 years with a man that did not love my metaphorical CHAIRS! I vowed to never get married unless I know for certain the my husband loved my chairs. That is why I married your father.

So - the gentlemen in your blog did not love your chairs. Or if they did -- they didn't love them enough. The right man for you will love your passion for social justice, will be interested in your poetry, love your capacity for emotional depth, etc. Only you can really define your chairs... that's just my perspective.

As women, we all learn that it is easy to attract a man for the wrong reason. A man will be with you for physical reasons, because he likes how your look.... or he likes the things you do for him. But - a man who truly loves your chairs is hard to find. So, if you find a man who you REALLY REALLY believe DOES love your chairs... that is a relationship worth fighting for. Crazy and boring Amy story for the day!

This is gonna be churning around in my brain for a while.  Thanks, oh wise stepmama!!


erin elder said...

Ok, I pretty much love this. What is even crazier is i remember that movie. It was the first movie that made me "think" about it afterward... i was pretty young but i saw it with my mom... and i loved it.

What a great message from your stepmom. we all deserve a man that loves our chairs!! :)

AmericanBridget (Jones) said...

Wow, that was deep and inspirational. This was so poignant that from now on I'm going to remember this next time I meet a nice gent.

Phoenix Peacock said...

This is a FANTASTIC metaphor. And now I need to rewatch the movie, I loved it as a kid.

Kat said...

What a lovely story! And I'm happy to say that I do believe that my husband does love my chairs!

wfayew said...

I LOVE that movie and I LOVE the metaphor. Love love love!

J. said...


April said...

Wow. I'm so glad I read all of this! Now I have a story to tell on my friend-date tonight while my friend helps me hit on this waiter I'm in love with. . .

Miss Chelsea said...

I. love. this. story!!!

dirty girl said...

DUDE. total food for thought. i am chewing on it.

Micaela said...

AHHHH i love your stepmama and want to meet her! what a great story, advice that you are so wise to share because there are so many women who need to hear this... even me, married girl here needs to be reminded that i have a man who LOVES my chairs and that, that is never worth risking.

can you believe as much as i watch movies, i have never watched this one? (and john travolta --young travolta at that! really is surprising i have not seen this one).

i believe in signs... like amy going into the movie theater that day. or matt coming back into your life, even under the circumstances.

thank amy for us girls!


robayre said...

Okay, this made me tear up a little bit. Love it. Funny thing is I saw that movie and recall the scenes, but didn't get the same aha moment, but now I will always remember that.

kimbirdy said...

i love that!! it's so true - a life-long partner has to love the real you, not the image of who you present in the beginning nor the idealized woman he might be hoping for in his head. and remember that goes for you too. you must love the guy's chairs just as much as he loves yours, so you can fill your proverbial table with both.

Meghan said...

I am SO IN LOVE with this post. Your stepmom is one wise woman, and I am happy to report that my husband loves my chairs, too! Ha!

bananas. said...

pretty sure i need to be BFFs with your stepmom!!!

i love when people find guidance and inspiration in a movie quote cuz that's pretty much how i live my life. movie quotes and song lyrics.

great post! thank your stepmama!

Marz said...

How have I not seen this movie?? And I LOVE movies!!! It's going into my netflix que RIGHT NOW! :)

I ADORE this post. What a great way to see whether a man is worthy of your heart. Amy is so right. I'm so glad she shared this with you and you shared it with us. She seems like an amazingly fun and fascinating woman that I want to meet! :)

Here's to the lucky men in our lives who pass the chair test! xoxo

Faiza said...

how wonderful that amy took the time to explain the whole chairs thing. i need to watch this movie again!

happy day friend!