What Comes After the Eating, the Praying and the Loving?
LK: But judging from your relationship with David in Eat, Pray, Love, you know what that feels like.
LG: Oh, yeah. I know exactly what that feels like. Talk about solving all your problems real fast: This person is the purpose of my life, and we have cycled through thousands of lifetimes to get to each other in order to complete this puzzle, across oceans of time...it's a Céline Dion song. But it's also a really aggressive thing to do to somebody—to impale yourself on them. And no wonder it often ends with one or the other person starting to feel suffocated and devoured. It's an assault, you know? How dare you not be what I—without very much of your help—decided you are! What an affront to me!
LK: You also talk in the book about loving Felipe so much that you want to protect him—even from you. So you proceed to come clean with him about all your flaws.
LG: It was like a preconsent form. A full-disclosure kind of thing. What I was so interested in doing in this whole story of our marriage was making sure that we were living in as much of a delusion-free zone as possible, having cultivated and spread delusion for so much of my romantic life, because it was so much more exciting and glamorous and thrilling than the truth. Certainly part of seduction is a masquerade, you know? One of the rules is that you don't show yourself. And I just didn't want that to be what was going on when we were preparing for this really big step. It's like, buyer beware. I'm 40; he's 57. We've been on the market a long time. And you should know: Okay, a little termite damage here. It's a pretty good house, but when it rains, it does flood the basement sometimes.
LK: I got a little anxious in the book when you say you're very disciplined about money and Felipe isn't, given that, during that moment in your relationship, you had yet to reap a huge windfall from the paperback of Eat, Pray, Love....
LG: Yeah, it's okay. It's okay. The good thing is, he's not a spendthrift. He's just somebody who has no respect for money. But I knew that we could handle it together. I'd had a lot of financial problems in my first marriage as well. But it was different, you know? I knew that Felipe and I could work it out.
LK: There is also the nervous-making part where you buy Felipe a pair of shoes, and new dishes, because you didn't like the ones he had.
LG: It's an irresistible urge for me. I don't know how not to do it: I have decided to renovate you. Slap a little paint on here, and do this. Fortunately, I don't think it's too extreme in our case. It goes along with the mend-and-tend urge that a lot of us have. So while I do those things, I also know that I come home every night and he's cooking me dinner, you know? I haven't been grocery shopping in probably six months. We're a good pair in that way, because I love to eat, and he loves to cook. We've been together five and a half years now, and I have never had that man put a plate of food in front of me where I didn't feel like I was in holy rapture. Because I never, ever, ever saw, in my entire life, a man bring a plate of food to a woman. Because it wasn't his job.
Taking that piece of it out, and also taking out the piece that he has to be the breadwinner, and that he wants to build a life here that's not as ambitious, and he's happy to scale that down a bit, then it's okay for me to buy him a pair of shoes.