Friday, February 21, 2014

In the Name of Domestic Harmony (Part 1)

Earlier today, I found this list that had been shared by a high school buddy on Facebook. It’s like he read my mind. It has inspired me to both share and comment on the wisdom. I don’t necessarily agree with everything on the list, but everything bears reading and sharing.

To my beautiful, wonderful wife, Rie, the woman I am so lucky to grow old with, the woman who is so far out of my league, I still can believe you said "yes": First, I love you, I love you, I love you. Second, please, please, please read number nine and take it to heart before doing (and especially saying) anything.

This is a jumping off point for discussion. A silly read. A quick list of what every guy in every sports bar in every country in the world talks about. (Just kidding on that last one. We only grunt and eat bad food in sports bars. We get kicked out if we make any attempt to stretch brain cells. And very few of us in said sports bars have stretched anything else in about twenty years.)

I must also admit to cowardice. The only reason I feel safe enough to publish this on my blog is that while my wife is basking in the glory of Hawaii (and shouldering the incredible burden of single-parenthood), I am sitting comfortably in my apartment literally half a world away in Saudi Arabia bringing home the (ironic) bacon.

With that disclaimer ... to the Bat Cave, Robin.

1.  Men aren't mind readers.

SOOOOOOO true. To be a mind reader, one must assume that our minds have been put into gear. Most of the time, they are idling neutrally in the driveway. Subtle looks and "you know what you did" don’t work. Either we honestly don’t know what we did or you’ll have to be more specific. The list is pretty damn long.

2. Learn to work the toilet seat. You are a big girl. You need it down. We need it up. If it's down, we put it up. If it's up, you put it down. You don't hear us complaining when you leave it down.
Hallelujah. Amen. The choir can start singing. This is one of my greatest pet peeves of all time. "Eww. I don’t want to touch the toilet seat." NEITHER DO WE. But we do, because it’s part of showing we care. (We’re not very good at grand romantic gestures. This will have to do.) I support equal pay for equal work. I support the right of women to do any job they are qualified to do, including combat in the military. Men have to do their share around the house. (My wife just spit coffee all over her computer screen.)

But it cuts both ways. Equality in the work place. Equality in the bathroom. (I feel like a ten-ton boulder has been lifted from my shoulders.)
3. Crying is blackmail.

"It’s ok for men to cry." Buh-loney. If a man cries during an argument, he may as well hand over his huevos so his significant other can mount them above the fireplace. Here are the only times when it is ok for a man to cry.
  • Whilst marrying the love of your life. (I cried buckets.)
  • At the birth of each child. (Ditto.)
  • Upon learning the tuition and fees of said children’s first-choice college.
  • The wedding of aforementioned children. (Also greatly due to cost.)
  • When our favorite team wins or loses a major championship.
  • At the end of Brian’s Song or Old Yeller (or any romantic comedy, but that’s only because we’re thinking about the two or so hours of our lives we’ll never get back.)

See Number 3: If we can, you can. If we can’t, you can’t. Equality has its downside.
4. Ask for what you want. To clarify this point.   Subtle hints don't work.  Strong hints don't work.   Completely obvious hints don't work.   Just tell us EXACTLY what you want.

See Number 1 on mindreading. Same principle. Here’s one of the many reasons why I love my wife. She figured this one out a long time ago. When she wants something for her birthday, Christmas, our anniversary, Valentine’s Day, etc., she tells me EXACTLY what she wants, down to size, color, price and where it can be bought. What a wonderful woman.

And don’t look a Gift Card in the mouth. One year, I was clueless about what to get Rie for her birthday. (Ok, pretty much every year since we met.) So, I got her a $200 gift card to Ala Moana Shopping Center, which was good in every establishment in the mall. On her birthday, I know there were unkind thoughts shooting through her head and daggers shooting out her eyes. (See Number 14.) But a couple of months later, she came back from the mall a happy, happy woman. The reason? "I had so much fun shopping and buying lots of little things I wanted and finding bargains because I wasn’t spending any money. I just used the gift card." Eventually, somebody always wins the lottery.
5. YES and NO are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

Speaks for itself. And "Whatever you want" is one of the greatest lies ever told, except on the man’s birthday ... hopefully.
6. Only come to us with a problem if you want a solution. It's what we do. If you want sympathy, talk to your girlfriends. It's what they do.

This is one of the greatest truths ever told. For millennia, men have been told we are the providers, the protectors, the bug-squashers. It’s in our DNA. Just as E=mc2 and spiders need smooshing, problems need solving. The only thing men are good at sharing is bodily gases. (See Number 21. It’s the second reason we sleep on the couch.)
7. Anything we said or did six months ago is inadmissible in arguments. In fact, the statute of limitations is 7 days.

This must be added to the constitution of every country for two reasons. 1) Men have the memory of a goldfish. 2) Our list of sins is so much longer than yours, it’s like bringing a butter knife to a machine-gun fight.
8. If you think you are fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.

This one is uncool and unfair. It is well-documented for both comic and actual, serious media/Hollywood-induced body-image issues that beautiful women often don’t see their own beauty. And even if it is slightly true, who are we, as men, to complain. (Back to the Equality thing.)

I must confess that I am spared this particular one. My wife is gorgeous and she knows it, rightfully and honestly.
9. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of those ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.

Once again, speaks for itself. There is NEVER any subtext to interpret. There are no lines to read between. We’re not that deep.

This reminds me of an experience I had as a dorm-parent in a senior girls’ dormitory at the boarding school I used to teach at. One of "my" girls came to me all flustered. The problem: "I sent this boy that I like a text message and I put six Xs and Os at the end of my text. When he texted me back, he only put four. What does that mean? Does he like me less? Should I start ignoring him?" Sweet child. It means that when he hit the last O in his message, the commercials ended or the microwave he was heating his burrito in just dinged. We have the attention span of a gnat.
10. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how it should be done. If you already know best how to do it, then do it yourself.

Back to equality. Think about how often you ask your "man" to do something, add the number of times you complained about how long it took him to do it or how he did it the wrong way. Then, do the same for the things he has asked you to do for him, plus the complaints. My guess is, stacked end to end, his requests + complaints might make it to the refrigerator to get him another beer. Yours will likely still be circling the earth. (Triple the points for each request regarding the purchase of ... ahem ... feminine products. Our requests about ... you know ... don’t count because the answer is always a resounding "Ewwww. No way!!! That’s disgusting!!!"

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