Thursday, July 19, 2007

One Of Those Women

There's a guy who comes into the shop every few weeks--he's one of our advertising representatives so, technically, he has a legitimate business reason for being there, but he always ends up staying longer than is strictly necessary and often stops when there's no real business to be done. He will sit on the futon in our office and pour his heart out, mostly completely unprovoked. I consider him one of the Shop Groupies, even though he would no doubt be appalled by that designation.

He's been married for seven years and been with his wife even longer than that--double digits, I think. They have a daughter who will soon be turning four. For the longest time, his wife's main complaint about him has been that he doesn't do enough around the house and his main complaint about her has been that whatever he does do, she criticizes him for.

Especially when their daughter was an infant, his wife was hypercritical--she would literally count the stack of diapers before she left him alone with the baby and then count them when she got home to be sure he'd changed the baby "often enough." (The fact that the kid didn't develop a rash and/or wasn't sitting in a soggy diaper when Mom got home was apparently not proof enough.) She objected to the way he burped the baby, to how he wrapped a blanket around her, to which direction he wiped her butt in. It was completely insane and made this guy even less motivated to help. I mean, let's see, I can help and have every move I make criticized or I can save the energy, not help, and be criticized anyway. Pretty soon, not helping is just the only logical choice: it conserves energy.

Anyway, I listened sympathetically to this guy's plight (and, living in a small town, I also heard (through a mutual friend) his wife's side of the story, "He never does anything to help out...") and the whole time thought to myself, maybe a little smugly, "Jeez, at least I'm not one of those women, who complain about every little thing when their husbands are only trying to help."

And I wasn't. Until I was.

Hubby makes tuna salad without draining the tuna. Hubby browns ground beef in the microwave. Hubby doubles the butter in the packaged rice recipe (his response when I asked him if he'd followed the package directions? "No, I doubled the butter, but I decreased the water to make up for it."). Hubby repeatedly purchases the exact opposite type of toilet paper that I buy. Hubby was just trying to help...does that make these errors any easier to overlook?

I now understand completely how those women end up that way. They marry men who lack the domestic common sense gene.*

*Hall of Fame lack of common sense: I've got a friend who was so proud and grateful for the way her husband helped out with their infant son until...she realized he was wiping the baby's face not with the sensitive skin baby wipes but with the bleach wipes she kept for wiping down the counter.


  1. I just don't look when my husband loads the dish washer. It's just better for everyone that way.

  2. My sister has been helping me with our familial perfection issues. She says, "Help is a gift. Accept it with grace."

    Still, I recently asked my hubby to stop doing the dishes, please and thanks. It's one thing to see a greasy dish on the drain board. It's another thing altogether to pull one after another out of the cupboard!