monday’s listicle: a list for husbands

Because of traveling and work and just general life, I’ve missed a few listicles, which I swear to god keeps me awake at night – will Stasha hate me, I wonder?  But now the semester is over, so I’m climbing back on the listicle bandwagon – and this week’s topic is a doozy: a list for husbands.  How to tackle such a topic, especially when one’s Husband is perfect, the very model of a modern man? (Cue Gilbert and Sullivan here).  I mean, a person might write a list itemizing all the ways in which her partner’s shortcomings make her realize that the only reasons swans can mate for life is because they neither speak nor wear socks – but humans are not so lucky.

My sweet husband, however, in our almost fifteen years of marriage (how in god’s name we’ve been married this long seems impossible, given that we’re both only 29), has perfected any number of important staying-married skills.  Here are a few high points for other husbands (or wives, whichever seems appropriate).

1. Husbands do not wake their wives up for sports.  Husband loves the New York Rangers with a deep and abiding passion. He is a Fan. I am not a Fan, or a fan, or even someone who particularly likes hockey. Nevertheless, I am aware that having the Rangers in the Stanley Cup playoffs is a Seriously Big Deal. I mean, the last time that happened was in the previous century, for god’s sake.  Stanley Cup Playoffs is the good news. The bad news? We live nine time zones away, which means that in order to watch the games, Husband gets up at ungodly hours of the morning: 3:30, 4:00, 2:00.  Here’s how much he loves me: the nights (or mornings) he’s going to watch the game, he sleeps on the couch in the TV room because his darling wife has become an insomniac and if he stirs out of bed at 3AM, she will wake up and never go back to sleep. This will make her grumpy. She has been known to bite when she is tired.

2. Husbands offer unconditional tech support with little or no explanations. Yes, I know, I know, I should learn how to do various techy things myself but really? I don’t want to and it gives you such pleasure…just download, install, sync, upgrade. There is no need to explain your decisions to me; you’re the one who reads Wired. I have nothing to offer in this conversation.  (And for all those times I haven’t said thank you? Thank you.)

3.  Husbands offer unsolicited compliments, foot rubs, and gifts. These things do not all have to happen at the same time – sequentially is fine, but unsolicited is key.

4. Husbands remind their partners that “hot” doesn’t always have to refer to feverish children, soup, or last night’s leftovers. Husbands should also be aware that sometimes “hot” really DOES mean children, soup, leftovers, and that maybe it’s a good night to watch reruns of last year’s Premier League games.

5. Husbands know these things: how to make a crisp G&T; how find joy playing with their offspring; and that the grosser elements of housekeeping (clogged drains, clogged toilets, dead bugs, live bugs) will be his domain.

6. Husbands remember: birthdays, anniversaries, milestones.

In the interest of even-handedness, however, here are a few handy-dandy tips for my husband, if, hypothetically, he were in need of a few Husbandly adjustments.

7.  When removed from one’s feet, socks should generally be deposited in the dirty clothes pile, which is sometimes (but not always) known as “the laundry basket.” If “the laundry basket” is not available, then the floor can be the sock repository.  The table, couch, counter, or chair are generally not the dirty-sock-putting-place, even if the socks in question have been folded.

8. Doing the dinner dishes may count as foreplay. At very least, it can’t hurt. Should you also wipe down the counters, put away the leftovers, and take out the trash?  The Magic Eightball really likes your chances.

9. If a person is not at home but out driving around doing errands and receives a phone call asking where something is, at home, and the person calling is, in fact, in the house, then the person answering the phone is likely to be rather testy. She is trying not to be killed by some crazed expat driver and cannot actually stop to think about where the tape dispenser might be. She may even suggest that the caller do something untoward with the tape dispenser if and when he finds it.

10.  If a person wants to organize the contents of a person’s desk, the surface of which has long disappeared, using the entire corner of the living room as a sorting station is entirely justified.  Be aware, however, that the phrase “I’m working on it” ceases to have meaning after about day three and may result in the loss or injury to Very Important Papers, which may or may not become raw material to youngest son’s constant interest in making paper airplanes.

Mostly, of course, what Husband does best is put up with me, his snarky, frequently grumpy always perfect wife. And god knows there isn’t a list long enough in the wide world to itemize how he manages that task.