I can't believe a whole year has passed, and it's my anniversary again. My anniversary should be treated like everything else on my September calendar, such as the autumnal equinox: Acknowledge its existence then move on. I hate my wedding anniversary. And the thing I hate the most is there is an expectation to buy a gift. For my husband. Why don't I get to buy myself a gift? It's our anniversary and part of "our" is me.

That is one messed-up tradition. He buys me something. I buy him something. Why? Do other people celebrate legal contracts? This whole anniversary thing is just one of the many things that suck about being married.

Another marriage suck factor is travel. My man and I are going to visit his friends. I asked, begged even to stay in a hotel. I even volunteered to pay for it. But no, we're staying with them. This means I have to spend a whole weekend doped up on antihistamines because she smokes and they have multiple cats.

I now also have to pack linens and towels. With the exception of hotels, I don't sleep on anybody else's nasty pillow cases or use their towels. It's like sharing underwear to me, and I just won't do it. Also when you stay with friends, you're always together. So I can't just chill out with a book for a couple of hours. The point is, when you're married, no matter how sensitive and wonderful your mate may seem, there is some area where he or she is a thoughtless asshole. In my case, it is my travel comforts.

This probably happens in dating relationships, too, but the remote control can be a contentious element. My man says, "What do you want to watch?" I say, "I don't care." He starts flipping and can't find anything he wants, so he sends it back to me. I ignore it. "Here," he says, "you pick something." "I don't care what we watch. YOU pick something!" This goes on for a while. But here's the rub: If I select something and he doesn't like it, then I get the constipated face from him. Well, why the hell didn't he pick something to begin with? "Fine, if you don't want to watch this, then you pick something!" I give the remote back. He starts flipping all over again. Except for our regular network shows and a few documentaries, I have not watched what I wanted when he's been home for four years.

Marriage, like dating, sometimes sucks. Even in the aforementioned examples I can see a silver lining. At least the anniversary gift doesn't have to be big or expensive and there's a chance of getting flowers. Sometimes we get a joint present from the parents.

We don't travel often, and we have two big dogs that keep people from visiting us. It could always be worse. In fact, it has been worse. A tent and an outhouse come to mind. As for the remote, we often work different schedules, and he has to go to sleep sometime, so I get my fix of Lifetime. Yeah, it could be a lot worse.

Happy anniversary to me. I mean, us.

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