Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wife Rule #103: Beware the F-Word

Now before the provocative title of this Wife Rule causes anyone who regularly reads My Wife Rules to have a heart attack or a brain aneurysm or to go out and do something rash--such as buying a motorcycle or lending $700 billion to corrupt corporate CEOs so they can buy private jets--let me reassure you that such a title in no way reflects any personal turn to vulgarity on my part.

I refer to the other f-word, the one that foolish men embrace and sadder but wiser men have learned to beware.

I am talking about the word fine, as it is so often used by our wives.

Sadder-but-wisers are all nodding knowingly right now; you know exactly what I'm talking about. But for those of you who may still be scratching your heads, let me give you a few practical examples of typical f-word usage:

1) New beard with bits of chili con carne with beans stuck in it

"Honey, the guys at work have all decided to have a beard growing contest!" you shout with enthusiasm as you greet your wife one evening. "I can totally take 'em. I mean, Kent barely has three chest hairs, Dave is too much of a pretty-boy to outlast me, and I swear that Doug's got less facial hair than Helga in human resources. So what do you think? Who's your man? Who's your man?"

"You are," she sighs. "I guess that's...fine."

Two weeks later you look like a Sasquatch with a hygiene problem and you wonder why your wife has stopped kissing you goodnight. Maybe she's tired of seeing little bits of chili con carne with beans stuck in your beard from that chili burger you downed for lunch today. Maybe nuzzling up to a face that feels and smells like a used plastic pot scraper isn't her thing.

Maybe your beard is fine.

2) Used Korean-War-Era Army Jeep you bought on E-bay for only $1000

"Look, I can totally fix it. We only have to park the cars in the driveway long enough for me to finish the engine overhaul and then I promise we'll find some place else for it. Imagine! A Jeep for $1000!"

She sighs. "That sounds...fine."

Two years later your drive up to the sight of a tow truck hauling away the carcass of your Jeep, which still has essential engine components rusting on the floor of your garage. The unattached spare parts have been pushed to your side of the garage and your wife's car is parked conspicuously back in its original slot.

Yes, your Jeep was fine.

3) Plans to go bowling with your buddies on your wedding anniversary night

"It's our anniversary?" you exclaim, as if shocked by the news. "Man, I've had this thing scheduled with the guys for weeks now. I'll make it up to you. I'm sorry. I just...forgot, honey."

"It's fine," your wife replies in a terse, flat voice. "Just go."

Three hours later you return, having had a great time, and bearing a bouquet of flowers you found at the grocery store, and discover that your wife has changed the locks while you were gone.

Yes, your bowling plans were fine.

Hopefully you get the idea by now. So let me end with a positive example. On Friday, your wife asks you if you have any ideas about what to do on your date that night.

"I was thinking to save money we could just stay here with the kids and play Candyland about a dozen times, then throw on a Barbie movie, put them all to bed when it's over, and then maybe stay up late doing dishes," you suggest.

Your wife lets out a mammoth sigh and slumps her head between her shoulders like a deflated Mylar balloon. "That's fine," she replies with resignation.

"No," you declare, "No, it's not fine. You've been taking care of the kids all week long, and you deserve a break. We are going out. I'm taking you to dinner, and then we'll hit a chick-flick movie--something really weepy starring Richard Gere--and maybe stop by a scrapbooking store to see if they have any new fonts available for your Cricut. We'll round out the night with you having a nice bubble bath, followed by a foot massage."

"Oh, honey!" she replies as she wraps her arms around you, her knee bending involuntarily, lifting her tired foot into the air.

As it turns out, you have a great time at dinner, you decide to take a drive and chat instead of going to a movie or shopping, and you arrive home after the babysitter has put the kids to bed. Now it's just you and your wife.

And she's looking pretty fine.

1 comment:

Chas Hathaway said...

So true! So TRUE! I think in many ways, "fine" is a worse f-word than the traditional use of the term. Fine means NOT FINE, or perhaps "I just dare you - see how you suffer for it, but I dare you."

Well said!

- Chas