Barbara: After some 30-odd years under my belt with the same man (see About Us. I know, I know, we’re an enigma, an anomaly, but it somehow works … even when we want to kill each other), I’m still shocked at the clichés we manifest on a daily basis. He’s the car guy, home-fixer, disciplinarian; I’m the closet-cleaner, appointment-maker, nurturer.
I mean, we’re a thoroughly modern couple—always have been. We share the household and parental duties equally. But I’m so the girl and he’s so the boy. I defer to his money sense and he defers to my sense of fashion. He wants my opinion on everything and I want to give it to him. He likes to tell jokes and I like to laugh at them. He likes a good steak and I’m partial to poultry (but only if it’s organic free-range).
So why is it that I am always surprised when he gets sick … and suddenly becomes a feeble patient on his deathbed barely able to utter his last words (which are plaintive mewlings begging for tender mercy and comfort)?? My Tarzan/Jane fantasy image is one of him pounding his chest in the face of the Common Cold, brazenly daring it to defeat him while he goes about his business. But the reality always reflects one of the most common clichés in the male/female dynamic—he is the dying swan and I am (read: should be) his besotted nursemaid. Oh well—I guess that’s the difference between fantasy and cliché!
Deb: Unlike Barb, my relationship is hard to define because actually over the last year or so it has evolved yet again. Mostly my husband takes care of money, but I have recently stepped up in that arena. I am the spender; he is the saver. We share the household duties, but according to my friends, MY husband is a saint for one simple reason ... he cooks ... ALL the meals. Wonderful meals, thoughtful meals, nutritious meals. At one point when our son was in grade three, he had to write a paragraph on what his parents did at home and he said, “My Dad buys the groceries and cooks the dinner and my Mom lights the candles and pours the wine”. Out of the mouths of babes.
While that observation contains truth, I always get defensive because it is tough to define what I do around the house. I do the stuff that goes unnoticed, unappreciated––yes, my husband cleans up, but it is “boy clean” … and I am “girl clean”. I do the ironing and my share of the laundry and I (deep breath here) pick up dirty clothes from the floor, wipe down counters and cupboards again and again, fluff pillows, tidy rooms, water and care for plants, book and oversee all appointments, medical and home repair, organize all social events (do I sound defensive yet?), tidy constantly, shut open closet doors, turn out lights, turn out lights again, control house temperature, fireplaces (man, do I sound defensive), tend garden, plant garden, decorate, polish, and scrub.
In effect, I do all the things that don’t elicit thanks or verbal appreciation. We don’t thank someone for picking up dirty underwear because they just disappear into the hamper. We don’t thank someone for cleaning a kitchen. It just appears as if by magic. Clean. But when a meal is prepared, we are all over it with the thanks! My man can walk by something 50 times that needs to be put away. I don’t think he ignores it as much as truly doesn’t see it! But me? I’m with the “girl clean” radar! Beep beep beep: dirty underwear ... beep beep beep: wilting plant ... beep beep beep: crumbs on coffee table....
Wow, did I digress! This is supposed to be about whiney men with colds, isn’t it? Umm, okay, I guess the reason I ranted on in the other direction is because when it comes to my whiney Cold Man, I stand rant-less. My man is stoic, a rock, a beacon of the “buck up”. Never complains. Right this minute, he has a raging cold and is limping off to the grocery store to get dinner groceries. Why limping, you ask? Well, because he is in agonizing pain in the face of knee surgery that he will have in a few weeks. Yet as he went out the door the last thing he said to me (smiling pleasantly, damn him) was, “Can I pick you up anything for your lunch?” I watched him go off, gently closing the closet door he left opened, and thought, “Light the damn candles and count your blessings, you whiney cow”.
Barbara: Okay, I will avow that Deb’s husband has many saintly qualities, but after having worked with Deb for 5 years, I can also avow that she never stops futzing—EVER! It’s quite amazing, actually. I just sip my tea and marvel at her.
Anyway, we found this great video we had to share with you—it is hysterical!––and exactly Barbara’s life in a comedic nutshell.