When we’re not giving razor-sharp analysis* of the hot current affairs and media issues or discussing literature or music, the Panther of News and I occasionally indulge in flights of fancy. Hard to believe, I know.
The latest I must admit was a little one-sided. I was telling the Panther of News how he is simply my best husband ever. Technically his position is assured due to previous incumbent being disqualified due to homosexuality. However, he still likes to hear it, so before I continue with my story – PANTHER, YOU ARE THE NUTS, THE WHISKERS AND THE PJS.
The conversation set me thinking: How good is a good husband? How do you know if yours is a winner? Is there a gold standard of man-about-the-house-ability? What should they be aiming towards?
While I absolutely refuse to play the All Men Are Rubbish, Poor Loves game, an image popped into my head. Husbands, teams of them, in Lycra and rosettes marching around the echoey arena kicking up sawdust as the Tannoy announces the competition open “Welcome to the 2010 Husband of the Year Show”.
And here are some of the categories.
Points awarded for spontaneity and credibility, however, judges will be on the lookout for formulaic answers and backhandedness. “Lovely dear, like always.” and “Wonderful, considering” will result in instant disqualification.
Paying proper attention at all times is essential and simply reciting the last sentence or two would be considered a novice’s error. This is a disqualification competition with increasingly difficult challenges as rounds progress. Points lost for glazing and yawning. The final will comprise listening to the finer points of a work bitch-fight with due empathy during an end-of-season crunch match.
Observers consider this the true test. Competitors must match, and deliver, the appropriate pamper with the correct ailment factoring up to half a dozen other elements and all against the clock. For example a foot rub will not always be the appropriate response to weeping with frustration, not when you consider the day it is, the time it is, the weather it is, who’s in the house and what’s on the telly. A hot bath will rarely be the solution expect, of course, when it is. Following protests in 2007, chocolate has been banned as an option.
The matrimonial tightrope of displaying exactly the right amount of possessiveness. Not too controlling but yet looking like you give a hoot. It will consist of a written exam and close examination of facial expression.
Ooooh. All wives like a surprise… but not a shock. Good husbands need the capacity to come up with exactly the right treat at the right time without frightening the Mrs or making her feel pushed around. “Honey, I’ve got tickets for a show and a reservation at Chez Swank for tonight. Baby sitter comes in ten minutes, get your frock on” will score more than “you know the neighbours we always suspected, well they’re having a ‘special’ party tonight and we’re going. Baby sitter comes in ten minutes, get this new PVC frock with accessories on”.
Here’s where hubbies have to demonstrate their masculine superiority – taking bins out, carrying heavy things – without ever crossing the invisible, and ever moving, line into the patronising danger zone. Of course we know how to do things, we would just rather you did it for us.
So there you have it husbands, there’s just time to start training.
*Nah, look at her earrings, I wouldn’t wear them if I knew I was going on the telly, mebbe she’s doing it for a bet.”
“See Dan Brown his books are pants. Badly-written and really annoying pants.”
“How can books be pants, badly written or otherwise?”
“Well I’d rather read the label in my knickers than anything written by Dan Brown.”
And so on…
Picture: LSE Library