Welcome to “Why I Yelled,” Fatherly’s ongoing series in which real dads discuss a time they lost their temper in front of their wife, their kids, their coworker — anyone, really — and why. The goal of this isn’t to examine the deeper meaning of screaming or come to any great conclusions. It’s about yelling and what really triggers it. Here, Curtis, 38, a father of two, discusses a small argument with his wife after his corporate Christmas party because she went “college-girl-pizza-crazy”.
When was the last time you yelled?
My wife. A few days ago after my office holiday party. It was about a very silly thing.
Can you give us some backstory?
Sure. We’re holiday party people, my wife and I. We get into the spirit and just enjoy it – aggressive sweaters, candy canes, Lindt truffles everywhere — it’s fun. And my company throws this great end-of-year event. There’s an open bar, buffet, company logo carved out of ice. Plus, there are enough people at my company that I don’t need to spend all my time talking to my boss. We could eat and drink like normal people.
So we got a sitter for the night and went to the party. We had a great time, eating prime rib and chatting with a few of my co-workers and their spouses. I’m an office worker and it’s nice to be able to bring your partner into the world you spend so much of your time. Plus, my wife is a social butterfly: she enjoys listening to and hearing the opinions of lots of people and feeds off the social energy. It was nice to go out in an adult setting without the kids.
So what was the inciting incident?
We had a great time at the party eating prime rib and passed appetizers and drinking wine. It was really fun. But it ended at 9. Seeing as we had more time, we decided to go out for a few more drinks with a few of my work friends. On the way to the next place, my lady, who was pretty drunk, reverted to college night out mode and wanted to grab a slice of pizza. She was kept going “I could really use a slice of pizza right now. Pepperoni. No, just cheese. All the cheese.”
Is that what got you angry?
Sort of. I really like when she gets back into this mode. It means she’s having a great time and feeling good. We’ve been together since college so it makes me think of carefree times of grabbing late-night slices after the bars were closed and we had no kids and bills and other stuff to worry about.
But she was in full college-kid-pizza-crazy mode. Like I said, I love it when she gets to that place, but this was a bit too much. Here we were, out with work friends after a pretty fancy dinner, she in a dress, me in a suit, and she’s just taking it too far. I laughed at the first time she mentioned pizza and so did my coworkers. But then, she kept saying it. I was pretty embarrassed. Plus, we’d just eaten.
When did you yell at her?
I didn’t yell yell at her. I pulled her aside on our walk over to the next bar and just said, in a tone that one might consider yelling. But I was just speaking forcefully. Fine, it was a type of yelling. But, I said something along the lines of: “Can you stop talking about pizza? We just ate. You’re being ridiculous.” She gave me this pouty, stern face she gives when she’s drunk and upset. I thought she was going to cry, but she went the other way and just said “Okay!” and sprinted off down the street. I felt a bit bad, in retrospect, because I was being self-conscious of her around my work friends when I should’ve let her, a working mother, have a night of silly freedom.
How was the rest of the night from there?
Wonderful. We had a great time, had more drinks, and got home around 11. Which for us as parents is pretty incredible. Holiday parties are the best.
How was the next morning?
Pure misery. We both were so hungover. But it was all worth it.