If I had known anything about men or life or marriage, I may not have jumped into matrimony as young as I did. I was 22 when we started dating and 24 when we got married, so not crazy young, but young enough to have generated some disapproving sniffs. There was no shotgun or anything, it just seemed like a really good idea at the time — he was super cute, and I was in luuuuurvvve.
But I must admit, I got lucky, because looking back from my current advanced age, I had no idea what I was getting into. We’ve now been together for more than 15 years and we’re actually still happy. Happiness that took a lot of work on our part. So for those of you who, unlike me, want to think about taking the plunge before actually taking it, here are some things you should know about men that I had to learn the hard way …
He will think you’re spending too much money 1 of 7
I'm a low-maintenance woman who hates shopping. But that truth is irrelevant, because my husband constantly thinks I'm spending too much money.
And here's why: most men react to certain expenditures like someone who has just woken from a 30-year coma.
"Milk costs $4 a gallon? Has the world gone mad?!"
Here it is in a nutshell: it costs my husband about $20 to get his hair cut — and that's with a generous tip. I once told my husband how much my best friend pays to get her hair done at a fancy salon, and he nearly passed a brick. I pay half what she does and I go to a place in the Walmart shopping center. But when he found out how much I was paying, I swear he needed to breathe into a paper bag to keep from passing out.
He will want sweet, sweet lovin’ 2 of 7
It continues to be a very big deal. What would once count as a foul becomes pretty normal. Especially after the arrival of offspring. Particularly if one of them is a light sleeper.
Your body may look different, you may be exhausted, or you may be preoccupied with unpaid bills or the fact that the house has caught on fire. Not important. Sexy time remains a critical priority for the health and happiness of the male species.
You will learn stuff you didn’t want to know 3 of 7
You will be forced to learn a lot about things that you may currently feel are boring as hell. It's whatever your husband is interested in. After a while, you'll discover that you're an expert by default. I once found myself debating a stranger on the best baseball team in the 20th century, vigorously defending the Big Red Machine of the mid 1970s.
I would say that I resent this, but my husband has been forced to sit through so many episodes of House Hunters International that he now claims a 100% success rate in predicting which abode they'll choose. It's an uncanny talent and one he wishes he never knew about, as he hates every minute of HGTV he is forced to watch.
He will say things 4 of 7
Things that will make your blood boil. And he will have no bloody idea that he's just said something that triggered an eye twitch and a severe episode of the raging B. Here's an example of what I'm talking about:
[Husband comes home from work to me cooking dinner and kids running around like unmedicated, rabid squirrels.]
Husband: "HOLY CROW — what's that smell?!"
Self: "Your dinner. And that's an extremely rude and disrespectful thing to say to me as you walk in the door."
Husband: "What are you talking about? It smells like a turd in here. I'm not making an editorial comment about your cooking. It literally smells like poo in this house."
Self: "Do you have any idea what it's been like here for the past two hours? Your kids are insane and the dog knocked over the TV and I have a deadline tomorrow. I do NOT need you walking in here at the 11th hour to tell me the house is disgusting and your dinner is gross."
Husband: "There's a poopy diaper in the trash right here. A really big one." [points to a trashcan about twelve inches from me, where sure enough an extremely ripe diaper is sitting right on top.] "Would you like me to take it out? It's like a grown man did this."
Self: "Ummmm … Yes."
There will be piles 5 of 7
When I was growing up, my grandmother in NJ would tell me that you would get "the piles" if you sat on the front stoop too long. She was talking about hemorrhoids. I'm talking about the stack of baseball books, alumni magazines, newspapers, and random other stuff that are literally formed into piles and left all over the house.
Let's be clear on one thing: both are a pain in my ass.
And if you try to "clean up" these piles, you will have invariably thrown out something critically important, like tax documents or a birth certificate. Because a pile in the family room is a terrific place for essential documents. The piles make no sense and they crap up your house, but they are sacred.
I just read this to my husband, who raised one eyebrow and then looked meaningfully at a stack of Pottery Barn catalogues and Real Simple magazines.
::coughs, clears throat::
He will not want to fight with you 6 of 7
And if he's smart, he won't. But it took me a very long time to learn to pick my battles. It took him almost as long to mentally chart my menstrual cycle in order to figure out why I was behaving as if I was mentally unbalanced two days a month.
As much as you may despise a big fight, he probably hates it more. Especially if you're a crier. Trust me, this is good information to have.
He will get better with age 7 of 7
Look at Connery, he's geriatric and still a pimp. I know that there's a lot of discussion about mid-life crises and red sports cars and things like that. I also hate the idea that somehow men get better with age and women just get bigger pants. As a whole, I reject both notions as being universal. There are plenty of women, for example, who can't handle the fact they're aging, and react to it worse than men.
And maybe it's just me, but I think people become more of who they are as they get older. So if you suspect that the dude you're with is kind of a dick at his core, be prepared — he will only get more dickish.
Since I liked my husband enough to marry him in the first place, seeing how the best parts of him have distilled into an even more interesting person has been pretty great. Add in watching him become a father and seeing him handle the good and bad that life has thrown at us, and I come back to the same conclusion I started with.
I got lucky.
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