Excerpted from an article that originally appeared in Longreads.com. Reprinted with permission.
A couple of years ago I purchased a pair of 23andMe kits for myself and my husband, Tomer. I intended to scientifically prove that Tomer’s most irritating behaviors were genetic destiny and therefore unchangeable. I’d grown tired of nagging him — oftentimes, I’d hear my own voice rattling inside my brain in the same way a popular song might get stuck in my head. I needed an out, something to push me toward unconditional acceptance of my husband.
My constant complaining yielded zero behavior modification on his part; on the other hand, it was changing me into a nasty micromanager. I briefly considered marital therapy, but that’s an expensive undertaking, costing much more than the $398 one-time fee for both DNA kits. Plus, couples’ therapy could take a long time, requiring detours through our shared history.
In much appealing contrast, 23andMe promised to launch us straight back to our prehistoric roots, and might provide Tomer with something akin to a formal pardon note, thereby permitting me to stop fighting against him, once and for all. I imagined we could help others by way of example too, for what long-married woman has not suffered her husband’s most banal tendencies — the socks and underwear on the floor, the snoring? Not me, because my husband puts his used clothes in the hamper and I’m the snorer. Really, I’m probably blessed as far as masculine disgustingness goes. But my husband is flawed in one repulsive way: his barbaric table manners.
I have no doubt this is a genetic situation, for even back when we were first dating I’d shuddered upon seeing my future father-in-law poke through the serving bowls of a family-style meal with his bare hairy hands. My husband’s father has also been caught eating ice cream directly from the carton (the thought of which I now appreciate for its built-in binge deterrent). Moreover, my father-in-law eats like a caveman-conqueror, reaching across dinner plates to pluck a taste of this or that from his mortified tablemates.
A family dinner looks like a scene straight out of Game of Thrones, minus any crowns. And so, when my husband first began to exhibit similar behaviors, I had to wonder: Had I suffered some rare form of blindness previously? Did some barrier of unconscious denial gently shield my eyes each day, year after year, but only at mealtimes? It was as if a blindfold suddenly fell from my face, or as if Tomer had finally removed a mask from his own. My gentleman turned into a beast, seemingly overnight.
I watched with horror, one Sunday evening, as my husband served himself a plate of meat and vegetables with his hands. His fingers ripped skirt steak in lieu of cutting it with a knife. He abandoned his fork altogether, and I lost my appetite.
Around the same time Tomer stopped liking forks, he’d adopted the Paleo diet, (versions of which are known as the caveman diet). He’d cut all …read more
Source:: The Week – Science