We've done Man Law already, so lately I've been thinking about Woman Rules Regarding Stubborn Men, which has nothing to do with what went down at my house or anywhere else over the weekend. Really.
How about: Don't tell a man he can't go on his honeymoon, even if he has TB. (We're going to hear more on that story, aren't we? I suspect there's a Bridezilla lurking behind the CDC statements. Either that, or a cautionary tale in favor of buying trip insurance.)
Here's a Rule that's a classic in my family:
When in a big box store, never get in the checkout line with a male cashier. No matter what his age, the checking out process will take longer than it should because he's too stubborn to ask for help when the receipt paper jams or the bar code doesn't work or he's run out of plastic bags. (If possible, choose the checkout line run by a hardbitten woman over the age of thirty with a smoker's cough who knows from checkout lines, hon, and will get you out of the store in two shakes.)
Likewise, do not send a man to the grocery store unless you won't need that carton of milk or dozen eggs for at least two hours. Because that's how long it will take him to find the milk or the eggs, but probably not both, because men do not ask for help in the grocery store.
Am I wrong about this? Or maybe I adopted the wrong strategy at the beginning of my marriage when it seemed easier to go to the grocery myself rather than send my husband, who, if he couldn't find the Heinz catsup would come home with no catsup at all in the theory that the wrong brand meant the wrong product altogether?
Now, with the aid of the cell phone, he will call me from the grocery store--if for some life-threatening reason he has been coerced to go--to confirm that any f**king brand of catsup will do, for crying out loud.
But for the most part, I'd be nuts to ask my husband to run to the grocery for anything. (Yes, I recognize his inept performance of this task has been a not-so-subtle, passive-aggressive technique to prevent me from asking him to perform any grocery-related errand.) It's simply easier to drop whatever I'm doing--like trying to make deviled eggs for the picnic he accepted an invitation to despite me slaving like a madwoman to complete revisions on a novel over the holiday weekend--and go to the store myself.
In a recent survey, 71% of men admit they have shopped in a grocery store in the last three months. Now, maybe at your house this kind of statistic doesn't prompt gales of maniacal laughter. But I've been to the grocery store three times in the last three days, and trying to count up the number of times I've made the trek in the last three months is ridiculous. (The gasoline I consume going to Whole Foods for a gallon of skim milk alone might run all the gas-powered string trimmers on all the golf courses in North America for decades.) Meanwhile, my husband has been to the store exactly one time since Christmas, and that was when I had a back spasm and couldn't leave the heating pad or drive because of the drugs.
The survey lady thinks that because men are getting married at an older average age, and also because more women are working (instead of schlepping to the supermarket for the sheer pleasure of spending their leisure time pricing pickles, I suppose) "the stage is set for men to assume more grocery shopping."
But, she adds, "it's going to be a much more convenient and efficient trip than a woman's approach."
Kinda like how Viagra-like drugs became a top priority for the pharmaceutical industry, I guess, grocers are now thinking maybe it's time to make the whole food shopping experience more efficient and less---what? Recreational? You call going to the Piggy Wiggly a good time, lady? What else do you do for fun? Hitch yourself to a minivan full of eight-year-old soccer players and pull it down I-95 on Memorial Day weekend??
One way to look at this situation: Men want an entire industry to change so they don't have to. And they're probably going to get their way.
I consulted my husband about this survey, and he got steamed right away. "What I want is a computer at the front of the store. I want to be able to type in a product, and the computer needs to tell me what aisle and what shelf I can find it on."
If I'm hearing him right, he's overwhelmed by the choices most grocery stores have. Maybe it's a kind of food-related hysteria? I already know he has that, because when he opens the refrigerator, he'll often ask, "Where's the jelly?" Like it's invisible. Or maybe his field of vision is confused by the beer selection arrayed in front of him. If the jelly were a snake, it would bite him, but that's not good enough. The jelly needs to jump into his hand, or I must go over and point it out to him. It's visual multi-tasking, and he can't do it. Asking him to find one item in the pantry is like asking him to go to South Africa to dig up a diamond, cut and polish it to perfection and present it to me for our anniversary. Not gonna happen.
Same in the grocery store. He's so stunned by the sensory impact of that long aisle lined with sixteen versions of Doritos that he can't mentally sort through all the cereal choices to find the Total.
(Me, I want Fresh Direct to come to my city. If you promised me I never see the inside of another grocery store again, I'd probably kiss you and everyone else within eighteen city blocks.)
Yes, men can be stubborn. Maybe that trait contributes to the survival of the species, but I don't see how.
(And don't get me started about the man dressed in the suit and tie with a basket of Hungry Man meals who sighs and mutters behind you in the grocery line because the wait is unendurable.)
I've got to finish these revisions. Can you tell how delighted I am to be doing them?
Talk amongst yourselves.