We meet in a tight group, exchanging husband stories like war veterans. The first speaker leans back in her chair, her eyes narrowing in concentration. We know we’re in for an oft-told, timeworn saga of a battle that rages in every home where men and women coexist.

As she begins her commentary, we listen and nod in affirmation. 

Like converts at a Baptist revival, we murmur in agreement and cluck our tongues in empathy with each transgression enunciated…

“You’re telling me,” “Isn’t that the truth!” “Yeah, I know what ya mean.”

The words flow smoothly from mouths to ears. We all have the same stories to tell. Different men – same basic sagas.

“Why do we always have to be the ‘sensitive ones?’” The wife on my left unburdens herself. “You would think he would know to send flowers on our anniversary. I even gave hints.”

“Oh, I know,” another spouts. “Mine says, ‘Gee, I didn’t realize you wanted flowers on our anniversary. I thought you were just talking about flowers in general’”.

“If I asked him outright to send flowers and gave him the phone number of the florist, he’d do it. But if I have to do that, I may as well just buy them myself!”

Another wife peppers the conversation. “Maybe when he comes home some night, I should skip making supper: ‘Oh, sorry, were you hungry? I didn’t realize you wanted food. If you’d just tell me these things, I’d have it ready for you. You can’t expect me to read your mind.’”

The titters of approval die down for a moment. The next story is about to begin.

One of the newer members of the group clears her throat. This is her first time sharing. The honeymoon is definitely over at her house; the stars in her eyes have splintered into sharp darts that glitter as she glances around the room.

She’s looking for answers. We don’t have the heart to tell her there are none.

“Well, he’s kind of a slob lately.” She gets right to the point; doesn’t mince words. We like that. She has promise.

“Who picked up his dirty underwear before I came along? Did he just kick ‘em in a corner and buy new ones? And the bathroom is no longer a pretty place; let me tell you. He’s a one-man environmental hazard.”

Grandma Hazel hasn’t shared in a long time. We notice a growling sound coming from deep in her throat. She’s gonna blow.

“I’d like to grab that remote from his hand and smash it to tiny bits,” Grandma hisses. “Click. Click. Click. I’m goin’ blind trying to focus on what’s on, and then he flips it off. Why can’t he just leave it on one channel long enough to see what’s on?? I took the batteries out of that remote one day. For fun, you understand. After shaking it and tapping it a few times, he saw what I’d done and got the message.”

We all nodded knowingly. Sometimes it takes drastic measures to reign in these annoying habits.

“How about when they try to burp the alphabet?”

“Or when they start explaining how they could forecast weather better than Glenn Zimmerman?”

“And when they get romantic and let you know by grunting: ‘I just took a shower – should I brush my teeth or are you tired?’ What a turn-on.”

Nobody says anything for a while. We’re each reviewing our ho-hum and humdrum life with the man whose love makes it all worth every exasperated moment.

“Men. How do we stand ‘em?” I ask. A wistful smile travels around the room, and we know we wouldn’t have it any other way.

• • • 

Contact Robin at robinwrites@yahoo.com

Robin grew up in Franklin County, Missouri, with four brothers and a family of pets named after the characters on the Andy Griffith show. She is mom to three children and grandma to three. She’s been married twice. The second is the better one.

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