By Lynn Paris
Here's my Column
As husbands go, mine is one of the best. He’s probably among the top 5% of husbands, at least according to what I hear and read. He’s loving, kind, smart, good-looking, hard working, even-tempered, AND he cleans up in the kitchen every night. In fact, most of the minor complaints I might have about him fall under the category of “guy things.” At least, I think they do.
Are most guys the worst patients in the world? When my husband gets sick, several things occur. First, he turns into an eight-year-old. But he’s a gutsy little eight-year-old; he doesn’t let anyone at school, sorry, at the office know he’s sick. He toughs it out, expecting that they’ll somehow understand that his lousy disposition is being caused by his undisclosed illness. When he gets home, however, he lets it all out. He’s dying, and he needs his mommy…uh…wife.
At least, he seems to need me. I’m the one who takes his temperature (mainly because he wouldn’t even know where to look for the thermometer) and I’m the one who brings him fluids, or cough medicine, or aspirin or any of those other esoteric items that I seem to gravitate to all by myself when I’m sick. To him, they’re a complete mystery. “You need to get your fever down.” I’ll observe. “Well, I don’t know what to take to get my fever down.” (Who doesn’t know what to take to get a fever down?) “You need to stay hydrated—never mind; I’ll get you some water,” and so on.
On the other hand, even after six days of coughing (including two with a fever and all six with chest congestion) he’s much too macho to go to the doctor. I’ve suggested the possibility that he might have bronchitis or walking pneumonia and that we should just make sure. He prefers a much more likely explanation; he has suddenly developed an allergy to our dog, Lucy, who’s been sleeping in our bed for the past four years. Whatever.
There’s another thing he does that seems so little boyish. He TRIES to annoy me. I can’t quite get my head around this, because I try everything in my power not to be annoying. If I were told repeatedly that I was annoying, I’d want to try to stop being annoying. But he wants to annoy me; he does it on purpose. Like always waiting until I’ve walked away from him and his computer to say, “Wait a second. Come back. I’ve just got to show you one more thing.” Or worse, poking me in the face, or other parts of my body, because it’s fun. Or making an announcement that upsets me and then saying he was only kidding. Or making weird sounds while I’m trying to watch something or fall asleep. When I tell him he’s being annoying, he seems proud. His mission has been accomplished. I need to stop telling him that.
Another offense is in the area of clothing. He refuses to shop. So, we can be getting ready for something and he’ll ruefully say that he doesn’t have tan shoes. Clearly, at that moment he needs tan shoes, wishes he had tan shoes, which to me means that he’ll probably wish he had them at some future moment as well. But if I ask him on the weekend if he’d like to go buy new tan shoes I might as well ask him if he’d like to bungee jump naked into the middle of Yankee Stadium. The entire concept is absurd. With most things it’s no problem. If it’s a tan belt, I simply buy him one. It appears, as if by magic. But shoes and slacks have to be tried on, in the store. No magic involved, just a grueling process.
He also refuses to prepare. He’ll stare at me in disbelief when I start trying clothes on for a particular event ahead of time. But one of the reasons I do that is to be sure I have the right outfit, and to be positive that it’s clean and ready to wear. (Of course, the other reason is to convince myself that I do not have the right outfit and need to buy a new one!) Nevertheless, I can’t begin to list the number of times my husband has been dressing for something and realized he can’t wear that jacket, shirt, whatever because it has a spot on it. By then it’s too late; it’s ten minutes before we’re supposed to leave. It doesn’t bother him, though. I’m the one who has to decide which alternate shirt will work, and tell him if it matches, just when I’m putting on the last touches of makeup. And I’m the one he’s mad at when I shake my head and say, “No, not that one either.”
Finally, I might as well get to it and address snoring. At least in our case, we’ve gotten past the years of “I don’t snore,” and then the years of “I couldn’t have been snoring then because I was awake.” We are now in the relatively blissful state of admitting to snoring. Now, I’m way more fortunate than most women. My husband doesn’t always snore; in fact, we have very quiet periods and very loud periods. The last five nights, for example, have been heaven. My husband hasn’t snored once. He’s coughed, but he hasn’t snored. I’ve told him he can keep the cough if it stops him from snoring, but neither of us really buys that as a solution. There may be some physiological connection between the two, but I sure can’t figure it out.
At any rate, I wrote that I was way more fortunate than most women for another reason too. My husband has actually tried every single “no snoring” product on the market in order to help solve the problem. In fact, he’s been a real trooper, subjecting himself to nasty throat sprays and funny looking strips across his nose. Watching him get ready for bed has brought on bouts of hysterical laughter on more than one occasion, especially when he’s jokingly tried to put two or three of those strips across his nose for extra protection. He’s been a great sport about it, and the results are mixed. Often they work. Sometimes they don’t. Still, he’s been willing to try, which is more than many men would do. Of course, he’s not willing to be the one who gets up and sleeps in the spare bedroom—I’m the one who does that on the occasional really loud night. It’s not that I mind, it’s a comfortable bed, but I just wonder why the snorer never leaves the bedroom; why is it always the snoree? Or is that a guy thing, too?
Obviously, I’m very blessed. Just to write this column (which is another thing he does that annoys me, by the way. He’s constantly pressuring me to write another column! And he’ll use whatever means necessary. Sometimes he tries to embarrass me by letting me know that all the other columnists have already submitted their next column, and I’m the ONLY ONE who hasn’t. At other times he tries flattery, or shows me the web statistics proving that people other than my immediate family and close friends actually read my column).
At any rate, to write this column I’ve had to wrack my brain to come up with these incredibly minor complaints. Obviously, my husband is in the top 5%; it could even be top 2% based on the few faults I’ve managed to enumerate. Woops, I forgot! He can’t FIX anything. He’s not a gardener, a carpenter, an electrician, a car guy; he can’t fix a thing. Still, I wouldn’t trade him for anyone in the world—and fortunately, George Clooney hasn’t put me to the test. Only kidding, baby. But this IS my column, as per your request. Now can I get back to my real job?
me your opinions at LParis@netlistings.com