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The Architecture of Marriage

MTM is skipping around the house in an overblown, hyperactive state of glee, at odds with his usual reserved demeanor. He somehow wrangled a way to go down to Brazil for a long weekend with Alison and me as we embark upon our next Rotary Friendship Exchange. Citing his worry over our being in the ginormous city of Sao Paulo alone for three days, he combed the wilds of the internet for a ticket.

I am not fooled by this display of machismo. I know his true intentions.

He wants to spend a whole day looking at weird architecture. Like this:

I'm no architect, but this building looks like a freaking bathroom sink to me.

And how about this one:

Giant scary eyeball building, anyone?

I admit it. I do not understand the appeal of Oscar Niemeyer, the Brazil-born designer of freaky 1960’s modernist buildings. Yet, my dear MTM has finagled a way to spend a whole day traipsing around Brasilia, where many of Niemeyer’s most famous structures are located, and he designed this time so that he would be there.


As in, without me tagging along.

Whining about the hours he wants to spend gazing into the giant eyeball for some nugget of architectural enlightenment. Complaining about why I have to sit in a massive, echoing space that doesn’t make sense to my untrained, unappreciative brain. Proclaiming with my never-to-be-inside voice how ridiculous/strange/ugly/utterly screwed up the whole city seems to me within earshot of worshippers making architectural pilgrimages from all over the place.


No wonder he orchestrated this whole thing without me.

Too Much is Just Enough: Letting our Partners Do Their Thing…..Alone

27 Comments Post a comment
  1. Love those buildings! I come along to Brazil with you if I could too.

    May 25, 2011
  2. mtm #

    Indeed, scratching the Seven-Year-Itch has gotten me Googling and Facebooking my first love. That earlier flame was certainly exotic, often inspiring, and sometimes maddeningly perverse or demanding. For many years it was an all-consuming passion.

    It’s not so much that the flame died out as I happened across a cute bonfire of a woman several years back, one that burned brighter and hotter than my first love. She has always been a good sport, sometimes giving me the gift of a threesome with my old flame, but I could always tell my new love wasn’t really into it (although she enjoyed seeing me get all excited during those trysts).

    Now the love of my life has given me the chance to go off by myself to have a rendezous in Brazil with my first love, in all its exotic and sensual glory. I am so thrilled.

    Now, for the record, I am not usually ‘into’ the wild and crazy types as pictured in the second photo above, but I will always have a thing for the classic beauty of the top photo. But hey, on a wild fling to Brasilia, I’ll try anything!

    May 25, 2011
    • Architecture will never be the same for me again……………….

      May 25, 2011
      • You two need to get a room. Oh, wait, you already have one!

        May 26, 2011
      • 🙂

        May 26, 2011
    • You are the master of tongue in cheek. What a great laugh!

      May 25, 2011
      • I don’t know what’s better: Andra’s “giant scary eyeball/freaking bathroom sink” comments or the image of MTM skipping around the house.

        May 25, 2011
  3. Lou Mello #

    Well, a very interesting post today and the lovely MTM has come clean about how Cheeso Boy became the archifreakotect. When one claims a love for the obviously strange and obtuse, I can see his attachment with the 2 lower pics. I actually think a good use for the giant eye would be to scan all persons as they enter the airport so there will be no need for further TSA groping.

    Now, the cereal bowl with dominoes is another matter indeed, can’t really say much in favor of it other than to think that one of the alien children has finished his breakfast and unceremoniously turned over his bowl. The other alien kid, probably a budding young archifreakotect, has not yet sat down to breakfast.

    Now, to return to the third pic at the top, I refer you to the archifreakotect’s own words, he will always have a thing for the strange and obtuse. Oh, wait a minute, those were my words….my bad.

    Actually, the top pic has always reminded me of a lovely Celtic woman about to burst into a Julie Andrews song atop the mountain. We can certainly understand the archifreakotect’s love for the lady in red above the plains. She is indeed a wonder….

    May 25, 2011
    • I am sad that I do not rate strange and obtuse. I think. Ok, not really.

      I learn so much from my architect. I don’t always know how to appreciate all of it, but I still learn things. There is this undulating frilly building in SP that I am sure he will drag both Alison and me to stare at collectively.

      May 25, 2011
      • Lou Mello #

        I rate you strange and obtuse in the most endearing way…you do sing like Julie Andrews, right??

        May 25, 2011
      • I wish, Lou.

        May 25, 2011
  4. A true coup would be to wrangle a trip to Sao Paulo on the weekend of 27 November and spend three days at Interlagos ( for the penultimate round of the 2011 Formula 1 championship. 🙂

    Top photo: It would be extremely difficult to use the basin on the left.

    Bottom photo: A Playstation game controller for Gulliver.

    May 25, 2011
    • It is a shame that I do not know anyone who lives in SP, Bill. You could go and stay with them. All the folks I know are in Parana, and that is where the exchange team will be the majority of the time.

      I can see the merit if both your building assessments. 🙂

      May 25, 2011
  5. A Guess #

    Of course as an architect I envy your pilgrimage. Such sexy concrete…such a gorgeous failure of a project. Have fun on your tryst MTM!
    Since I am married to an architect we can maintain our menage a trois of sorts when we travel. Oogling at buildings wherever we go. Our poor daughter. She has to amuse herself while we gawk.

    May 25, 2011
    • That same daughter came into our house and picked up everything from IKEA and Design Within Reach and proclaimed her affinity for each thing. She is one of you, even if she doesn’t know it yet.

      May 25, 2011
  6. Traveling to look at old buildings is part of how I was raised. My mother loves architecture (though probably not the same variety as MTM loves). She always took us to see each and every house museum in every town we ever visited.

    I loved it. Back in the 1980s I was a paid docent for the Charleston Museum. I sat in the Heyward Washington house communing with the old wood, carvings, furniture reading books on Palladio, classic furniture styles and showing people all the secrets of the house, and talking about the history of Charleston.

    I loved it.

    May 25, 2011
    • Did you ever watch the movie My Architect? I have been wondering what you thought of it.

      May 25, 2011
      • YES! I’d forgotten to tell you! It was wonderful in the extreme! As the child of someone who was lionized in my town, and who even though I lived with my father, I found many parallels in the movie.

        My father worked very long hours. Had a secret life (but not another family thank goodness) and was revered by those whose lives he changed through his gift of medical skills, knowledge and abilities.

        He was my hero, my father, and I didn’t really know him.

        May 25, 2011
      • I meant to type: “As the child of someone who was lionized in my town, and who even though I lived with and didn’t know, I found many parallels in the movie.

        May 25, 2011
      • I love the scene in the movie where the son in-line skates through his Dad’s revered outdoor space. Architects are taught to fall on their knees in that place. They would NEVER skate through it. That was one of the brilliant pieces of the movie that connected non-architects with the joy of interesting spaces by making them accessible. I think I love that movie more than MTM does.

        May 25, 2011
      • Yes, it was wonderful. And as we know, we people just use the spaces that architects create. I wonder if they ever go back and observe after a building is completed, noting the ways people use or don’t use the spaces that have been created.

        May 25, 2011
      • I would have to say from my own experience with them that they really don’t like to visit their places. They usually end up seeing all the things that didn’t get done to their design standards and things that were added that weren’t supposed to be there, and it becomes very stressful.

        Architects are welcome to chime in and correct me, but that’s typically what I hear in conversation.

        May 25, 2011
  7. I couldn’t agree more about spouses doing “their” thing alone. It’s a very healthy thing. As Dave and I like to say: “I do my thing, s/he does their thing, and we do OUR thing.” A good balance of those makes for a happy marriage, I think.

    Gosh, did I just set a record for number of times to use the word “thing” in one paragraph?

    MTM, I just LOVE the double entendres I gleaned from your comment. I got delightfully short of breath just reading it! 🙂

    May 25, 2011
    • One of the things I have to be grateful to MTM for, though, in all of this architecture worship, is how much he has taught me about it. I was able to make a couple of the buildings in my book almost like characters because of how much I’ve learned from him.

      And, I have to be clear. MTM probably stayed up all night thinking about his comment because he did not want to be painted as liking the giant scary eyeball building. He is very witty, that man.

      May 25, 2011
  8. Architects and engineers. Two different disciplines that work hand in hand. I have worked for both and learned much. After 23 years of marriage to an engineer, I think I deserve and have earned an honorary engineering degree. I have learned so much cool stuff from my engineer – it has definitely made me a much better thinker, doer and problem solver!

    May 25, 2011
    • One of my best clients is an engineer. He always argues with me, and I argue back, and eventually he reframes the thing as his idea and runs with it. It has worked for years. 🙂

      May 25, 2011

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