Nancy Roman

A Streetcar Named Ernie

I always thought I would marry an artsy kind of guy.

But every time I dated a man who knew about the ballet, or literature, or film –  nothing ever sparked.

Then I met a man who knew NOTHING about culture.  Really Nothing. And I was delighted with him. He knew cars and tools and construction. He knew computer systems. He knew real estate. In short, he knew the stuff that I know nothing about, but stuff that is important to know.

And I married him. He built our fabulous home and he fixes our cars. He plows our road. And he negotiates with absolutely everyone for absolutely the best deal.

I get to be the artsy one.  Which is the role I love. And I love that I have no competition. My taste rules!

He’s a manly man and I’m a girly girl.  A perfect match.

I actually love that “culture” is a mystery to him. Pop culture is a bigger mystery. And it endears him to me that he doesn’t care.

The other day we were watching TV and someone was singing “I Could Have Danced All Night.”

“I always liked that song,” he said. ” Who sang that?  Ethel Merman?”

And who could not be charmed by his magnificent ignorance of those horrible Olsen Twins? They were mentioned on the news recently, and he asked, “Aren’t those the girls from Bristol who competed in synchronized swimming?”

But my favorite case of mistaken identity came several years ago.

We were watching a program about the growing acceptance of homosexuality. There was an overview of the contribution that gay artists had made  to our culture.  Among those discussed was Tennessee Williams.

My husband was disconcerted.  “Tennessee Williams was gay? I never would have guessed. Wow. I just can’t believe it. Wow.”

The program continued, but I was distracted.  I wondered why this particular playwright’s sexuality would affect my husband so much.

A good ten minutes later, I said:  “Sixteen Tons.”

“Yeah!”  he said. “He was great!  And he had such a deep voice. Just goes to show you never can tell.”

That’s when I had one more reason why I love him.

Sixteen Tons album cover

Image via Wikipedia


  1. Vive la difference?!?!? But – you did (or he did) have me laughing at his obvious confusion. Good thing he’s got you to set him straight!


  2. Gotta love a man like that. Yes, he is a keeper. (This reminds me that a friend had to explain to me back in the 90’s, that a keeper is not a kind of fish.)


  3. That is so funny! And, your husband sounds remarkably like mine. I could see him confusing the two “Tennessee’s” too. Guess opposites really do attract! The title of your post is perfect.


    • I think you have to be a certain age to understand… my friend who’s about fifteen years younger didn’t get the post at all, because she had never heard of Tennessee Ernie Ford or “Sixteen Tons”. I forget sometimes that my frame of reference is a very old frame indeed.


  4. Delightful! My new guy sounds a bit like your husband (although he loves jazz and museums). He’s a manly man who fixes things and knows where stuff is in the hardware store (and how to use it). We complement each other perfectly.

    I sing a Broadway song and he asks me, “How do you remember the words?” I say “How do you know the difference between a thing-a-ma-gig and a whosey-whatsit?” We laugh and all is right in the world.


  5. LOL! Oh, dear, but I loved this post…and your husband has a new fan. One of the reason I love MY husband is that he doesn’t give “a rat’s ass in a high wind” about pop culture…and neither do I! Thanks for making me laugh out loud.


  6. RVingGirl

    LOVED this one too.
    Your husband is a darlin’
    My husband will see an actor or actress in some TV show that he recognizes from an older movie or something and will start to say, “That’s the girl who was in……..” Because we have been married so long (41 years), i know just who he is thinking about and that is not the actress at all so I interrupt and say , ‘no she’s so and so….’
    I am now thinking for him. ha ha


    • My husband doesn’t recognize any actor except John Wayne and Clint Eastwood.


  7. What a treat to be able to know how the mind of our partner works.

    My husband wouldn’t know either Tennessee, and I am not sure that he would recognize “Sixteen Tons”. But I love that song, because my parents loved it.


  8. Talk to me...I'm your Mother

    Love your attitude! I wish I were always so joyous about the difference. It’s a lesson for me.


  9. OMG this cracked me up! Love the title, too…


  10. Wonderful, funny post. I bet BOTH Ernies would have loved it!


  11. I’ve been married to my manly man for 46 years and I’m still charmed. We are the lucky ones, you and me. 🙂


  12. Hahahahaha!
    I was confused at first, but then I looked at the picture more and realized that wasn’t Tennessee Williams. I would trade my voluminous knowledge of pop culture for the ability to build a house in a heartbeat.


    • I love all my trivia knowledge…but I’d rather he knew about house building and car repair….and good thing…
      because he just asked me a few minutes minute ago if Wednesday was Thanksgiving….I SWEAR!


  13. You and your husband are so lucky to have found one another! He sounds just like mine (except for the fixing and building stuff).


  14. I’m pretty sure Cap’n Firepants would know neither Tennessee. Which is fine. Because he knows how to fix a toilet, and that’s come in plenty handy through the years!


  15. You are a funny girl! One date with you and I am sure I would be ready for group again. I sure enjoy your ramblings/postings, thanks for sharing.

    You are not alone. I have the female equivalent, she does it all the time.

    Last year, we are heading down the interstate, a truck in front of us clearly lettered “Swift” is right in front of us, she zonks out for her routine morning nap.

    Some two hours later, rolling down the same interstate, getting ready to pass ANOTHER SWIFT TRUCK she looks at me and says ….. “Geeze, is this guy ever going to get out of the way?”

    She says I am not funny, nor am I too smart, but I can lift heavy stuff, so she keeps me around. I in turn have been promised a lifetime supply of BLT’s and diet coke … can’t beat a deal like that.



    • I’m very much like your significant other. All trucks look like the same truck to me!


  16. What a great story. Thank you! (It gives me hope that I might find my match one of these days…) 🙂 Cheers!


  17. LOL I love this! I’ve never been attracted to men who dress better than me. Except Second Husband. 😉


  18. There’s a lot to be said about opposites attracting. Cleverly put.


  19. This definitely got a snicker from me. I also love a super masculine manly man who doesn’t have an inkling about literature and makes similar strange connections.

    That aside, I had no idea Tennessee Williams was gay. I guess that might be important the next time I teach one of his plays, huh? Thanks for providing my one new thing learned today.


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