Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Community Husband: Tame the Poodle

One of my New York girlfriends -- currently planning her wedding -- asked me a few weeks ago, with a sigh of wistful resignation "don't you EVER want to get married?" I was helping her look at dresses online, so I think her question had as much to do with fashion as it did anything else, but she knows I'm that rare friend who never sat around from childhood on planning a wedding day. Even when I was engaged, I gotta admit, it was the fiance who sat around obsessing and asking dumb questions about "Unity Candles" (I still don't really know what the hell he was talking about).

Exhibit A: Ian is a Model Community Husband, and will hunt for your glasses in a snowbank...even if you forgot and left them under the car seat.  He doesn't even have a cellphone, so there is the added bonus that he can never successfully cheat on Sandy -- impossible to coordinate an affair without at least a BlackBerry or iPhone. He just learned the word "sxting" and spent most of last evening trying to figure out ways to correctly use it in a sentence.

I tried to reassure her a little that marriage wasn't at the top of my list of things to avoid -- I don't exactly equate it with cancer, or house fires -- it's just never been on my To-Do list either (despite two close calls).

I thought about our conversation a little last night, out to dinner with a group of friends, where it came up that I already have lots of husbands --- they just don't happen to be MY husband. I have Community Husbands, a Gay Husband, a Geek Husband, a HomeTheatre/Electronics Husband, Emergency Backup Straights, and so on -- with so many of them, they admittedly obviate the need for acquiring my own.

The Community Husbands are the ones who step in and fill all the little traditional roles that (to my way of thinking) might be one of the few perks of actually being married --- they'll go warm your car up and bring it around (scraping off any accumulated ice or snow if need be). You can eat straight off their plate, and they don't even complain if the women present eat all their food (they just order more). At parties, they'll step up to any task from bartending up to and including taking out your trash and hauling it to the curb. For an evening out, they'll go to the bar and get your drinks; pull out your chair; get your coat; etc. And throughout, it's the REAL wives who are in charge of dispensing the Praise and Rewards, as they see fit. I have zero heavy lifting duties beyond feeding them (and children, if there are any), should The Wife end up in the hospital or outta town.

Just last night I met a new Community Husband who happens to work down the street from my alma mater -- coincidentally, home to the best bakery in the world, where they serve both the world's greatest donuts (AND the world's greatest deviled eggs). Where I went to college, the depth and breadth of a man's devotion was measured largely by how many donuts he brought you for Saturday breakfast in bed (naked, of course, and without using his hands -- nothing says Brunch like a spirited game of Ring Toss; I'll take a baker's dozen please!). They never put THAT in the Homecoming brochures but they certainly should. Anyway, I told Rob last night I would be happy to supply him with a wad of cash and a list if he would be willing to serve as our DonutMule. Jessica said it was fine, though we did get a few odd looks when I yelled out to her, as they were leaving, "I'll definitely be in touch with your husband!"

The Task Husbands have more specific duties. They will work on your computers; fix your 47 inches of HD goodness when the signal goes out (and one time, that was just because I had hit the wrong button on the remote); snake a drain, etc. My Gay Husband arrives for sleepovers and re-decorates while he's here. I'll be downstairs cooking while he's upstairs "putting together our Nest, Honey" (he'll yell down). Whereas a Straight will treat the bedroom like a survivalist life raft or a fort (fully stocked with potato chip crumbs), a Gay Husband will craft an ambience right out of Elle Decor.

Ian doesn't think I'm cut out for marriage (he's from Boston, so he expresses every thought he has, every second that he has them; I've written about him many times.). Last night, he compared me to a beautiful exotic poodle (yes, an oxymoron, and yes, he knows how I detest imitation dogs) that you see in the window, and then you bring it home and it trashes your house and then bites you and all your friends. He said, "so you think to yourself, maybe I can Chain the Poodle... yeah? Guess again Buddy." (We then got a lot of euphemisms that'll last us for the rest of our lives involving variations on "Chain the Poodle," "Tame the Poodle," etc. " The most popular was definitely "Muzzle the Poodle.")

All I know is, I am one Lucky Girl to not only have all the best girlfriends ever (who I write about copiously and madly adore but will never be able to fully capture in print, much less fully convey their fabulousness), but to also be surrounded by this amazing array of community husbands, gay husbands, food gays, junior gays, emergency backup straights, and all the rest.  For all of them, I have exactly two words, "I DO!"

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