The Five A’s of Relationship and the Frasier Chair


Easy chair
Originally uploaded by Dan Phiffer

Well, once again – it’s “Significant Other Sunday” and I’m doing something a bit different. I thought I’d highlight a book that I love that has the rather portentous title of “How to be an Adult in Relationships – The Five Keys to Mindful Loving” by David Richo. If you decide you want to read it, it’s listed in my Amazon.com store. Yes, if you order it through there, I get like 10 cents or something.

Richo’s book lists the five A’s of loving – being Attentive, Accepting, Appreciative, Affectionate and Allowing. I’m writing about being Accepting and to tell this in my own inimitable way, I give you the story of “The Frasier Chair.”

So when The ‘Publican and I were beginning dating, he was just getting divorced from his first wife and like many newish bachelors, his surroundings were made up of hand-me-downs and things his ex-wife didn’t want from their house. The things she really wanted, she got.

I’ll never forget the first time I visited his townhouse – although I was pretty crazy about him, his decor left a lot to be desired. Mis-matched, cheap and broken – you name it, he had it. Of course some of this was due to raising boys and not having a huge amount to spend on furnishings and that was to be expected. In his bedroom, he had a new bed (thankfully – I think I would have hated to ever sleep on or, quelle horror! have S-E-X on the bed he’d shared with his ex-wife!) and some antique dressers from his grandparents and then there was the “Frasier Chair”.

You know the one I’m talking about – Martin Crane parked his derriere in it in complete defiance to Frasier Crane’s cool furniture mandate in his fancy-shmancy Seattle high-rise condo. It had that wild green and yellow plaid, duct tape had repaired a few tears in it over the years and, although it was incredibly comfy, it was just butt ugly.

So here was the ‘Publican’s Frasier Chair. It was a hand-me-down from his Uncle Tom and was given to him by his Aunt Loreida after Tom died. Yep, it’s a comfy Lazy Boy but good looking, it ain’t. But hey, it was in the bedroom, so at least it wasn’t on display for everybody to see.

Then we bought the house we now live in and the master bedroom couldn’t accommodate the chair so, along with getting a beautiful new couch and ottoman, guess where the Frasier Chair got moved to? Along with some mid-century Formica end tables (yes, they were made by another uncle or cousin or uncle’s cousin – did I mention the ‘Publican has a large contingent of Estonian relatives on his mother’s side?) that we just couldn’t quite afford to replace.

And years later, it’s still in my front room. As Richo says,

In Buddhism there is a phrase, ‘the glance of mercy,’ which refers to looking at other human beings with acceptance and understanding. Acceptance means we are received with all our feelings, choices, and personal traits and supported through them. (p. 31).

So I sigh and glance with as much mercy as I can muster at the chair. I really don’t like it and I’ve made that clear. I’ve tried to get rid of it (I almost had that covered when a friend offered me her leather chair with ottoman, which deal fell through), and yet it remains.

Everytime I mention this chair to the ‘Publican he reminds me that this was Tom’s (a beloved Uncle to be sure – although I never met him) which is a very sentimental reason, and he also reminds me of the practicality of keeping it until we can afford to replace it. But I think there’s another reason it’s with us still. And I’m trying hard to accept it. And yes, I’ve actually slept in it when I was sick – yes, it was comfortable – and in fact, it’s a lot more comfy than the couch.

Okay I know some of you are thinking, “Well, just re-upholster the thing!” And I’ve thought of that, but the cost to do that is really about what it costs to just replace it.

The bottom line – it’s still sitting in my front room. *Sigh.*

I think the real issue, of course, is that this darn chair doesn’t comport with MY fantasy of MY perfect house. I watch a fair amount of HGTV and get some design magazines and have gone to plenty of local open houses (even went to one today). Yes, I have a wish to live in a completely unreasonable version of the Pottery Barn catalogue. It’s unreasonable because we still have spawn at home (two of my step-spawn who are 20-year-old twins, but they are boys), four cats, and a pretty casual lifestyle. And really, we don’t have the money to do this – that Pottery Barn stuff is really expensive!

Letting go of the fantasy is hard. I want what I want! Waaaaaah! Boy that childish ego really hangs on. I don’t really like this about myself, but for now I can accept this. And yes, *big sigh*, for today, I accept my Frasier Chair.

But here’s the thing about the “Frasier Chairs” in our lives. They’re warm and comfortable and remind us that human beings live here, that they spill here and they get old and tattered and eventually end up on the curb – all in all, they’re pretty darn real. And that’s Martin Crane – he’s not a prig like Niles or Frasier (in fact, sometimes we wonder how he ever had those sons), and refuses to be other than he is. He and his chair demand they accept him as he accepts his sons, for exactly who they are. Now, that’s love.

I thought I’d wrap this up with a quick Martin Crane retrospective – it’s pretty quick and funny – but the music is loud, so be warned!


4 thoughts on “The Five A’s of Relationship and the Frasier Chair

  1. Ohmigosh, you are hilarious. I think I can relate because we have an old chair passed down from my grandmother that is “butt ugly.” Yes it has sentimental value for my family but it’s not even comfortable. Am I going to hell because I did reupholster mine? Anyway, LOVE your writing style. I’ll be back for more.

  2. Thanks! Yes, come back and I’m glad you enjoyed it!~LauraP.S. – oh, not HELL exactly, just Frasier Chair Purgatory where all the chairs sit on their butt uglies!

  3. We used to have a Frasier chair, it was a ‘gift’ from my mother-in-law. I hated it with a passion. Then it fell apart and was replaced. Oddly, I missed it LOL

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