Dear Aunt Tea,

My husband, John (not his real name), began drinking tea two years ago.  At first, I was glad that he was steeping with me.  After years of putting up with his jumpy, jittery coffee-buzz, I’d been begging him to give it up.  For a few weeks after his conversion, he watched with rapt attention as I made our tea.  It wasn’t long before he insisted upon taking over the morning ritual of purifying and heating the water, measuring the tea, warming the cups, timing the steep, and serving the tea.  True love, right?  Wrong.

About a week after that, he began getting up half an hour earlier, insisting that he make a pot of tea and drink it alone, like “giving myself a hug,” he explained.  The half hour became an hour until – we’re no longer steeping together.  But while he’d rather take his pleasure alone at home, John has become the reigning Tea Bore at every brunch we go to!  Some guy we don’t even know will hold up a bag of Red Rose, joking, and John will go into a rant about the tea in Argentina being mowed down and baled for Red Rose and their ilk.  He talks about black tea, green tea, whole leaf, oolong until it makes your eyelids heavy and your head nod.  He corrects me when someone asks me a tea question!  We haven’t been invited to any of the A-list brunches since Valentine’s Day.  

Instead of a shop in the garage, containing auto parts, greasy stuff, and woodworking tools – like any NORMAL Montana male, John has turned his into a Tea Geek’s Temple: tea pots, tea tins, a sort of cooled humidor for tea, replaced the fluorescent lights, not one but TWO Zojirushis, and posters all over the walls showing tea growing in its natural state on every continent except Antarctica.  

He just put in an order for collector tea cups.  With saucers.  

Can this marriage be saved?

Steepless in Shelby

Dear Steepless,

Before you decide to steep around, you should definitely contact the publisher of this blog.  She can tell you, after just a simple tea ritual with you and your husband, whether John’s particular set of symptoms can be cured.  I might add that it’s never a good exercise to jump to conclusions, Steepless.  The fact that John purchased a pair of pinky teacups is no cause for alarm.  They might be a gift for you!  Send an email to Michelle, now.   She is the national expert in OTD (Obsessive Tea Disorder).  Write back in a couple of months and let me know how you’re doing, won’t you?  I care.