I am, it goes without saying, an incredibly lucky girl (well, for something that goes without saying, I’m about to spend a couple of hundred words saying it).
I’m lucky for many reasons—my naturally curly hair being one of them—but perhaps I’m most lucky for having my personal chauffeur-chef-stylist-interior decorator-banker XFE in my life to boss me around, buy me things, and help me make good decisions: (ie: just always do what he says and my life is great.)
I used to be a pretty tough chic. I rode a motorcycle and even changed my own oil. I travelled across country completely alone, more than once. I’ve changed a tire….in a dress. I stood my ground against potential muggers in London once (shattering my tough girl cred: I thought they were joking).
But now, I’m a total mush. I defer to XFE on a lot of things, and he makes most of the big household decisions. Primarily, because I trust him to a frightening degree; a trust which has been earned over time as more and more of his suggestions have slowly and surely proven to be the right ones. And, frankly, he gets shit done.
Once in a while I get in a tizzy about the power balance in our relationship, particularly when I feel like he’s just being overprotective. I remind him snarkily that I did basically raise myself for the first 34 years of my life without his help.
But for the most part, I’m grateful that he leads the way down our life’s path. We’re a team. Like competitive dancers. And there can’t be two leaders on a two-person dance team; you’d end up stepping all over each other’s toes or dancing in circles.
This writer in Real Simple a few months ago put it best:
And when I’m feeling wifely these days, I remind myself that being part of a team doesn’t mean I’m lazy or can’t do something myself. It just means that, right now, I’m lucky enough not to have to.
I hear from many of my friends how lucky I am to have such a great partner. Apparently, many of the menfolk out there are slacking a bit on the whole taking-a-lead thing. So, to help my friends out, I’ll give you five suggestions on how to train your man. Now, these might not work for everyone. XFE is pretty dang special. But I have employed some of these techniques on other men in my life (like male co-workers) and sometimes they work.
Do a piss-poor job. This is especially true with anything involving physical labor. I discovered this technique purely on accident: XFE once had a great idea to paint our bedroom. I am not skilled at painting. At all. Sure enough, a few minutes in, I was demoted to the cushy position of company keeper: as in, “sit over there, don’t touch anything and just keep me company.”
Be an excellent assistant. Because I fail at many physical endeavors, I make sure to excel at other things, like fetching ice cold beverages, reading US Weekly out loud while being a company keeper, sharing good gossip. Which leads to the next tip:
Point out the flaws of the rest of mankind. When gossiping about people, be sure to point out all the ways in which your Alpha Male far exceeds everyone else out there. “I just read that Brad Pitt designed Angelina Jolie’s engagement ring. What a lazy good-for-nothing! Why, my schmoops wouldn’t be content just designing a ring, he’d go out and procure the diamond from the mine, isn’t that right, baby?”
Try to make everything his idea. A lot of men are really stubborn and just dig in their heels on stuff. The more you try to point out it should be one way, the more they stick to the other way. So, I try to put the problem out there as a question that I couldn’t possibly answer. “I don’t know too much about these things, so I thought I would ask you: Do you think that headline is too long?” “Does that cabinet look crooked to you?” Then, just let the question hang there or quickly walk away from the issue. “It’s probably just me. I’m sure it’s fine. Don’t worry about it.”
Give in on the small stuff and save your ammo. I don’t like doing it, but I help wash the car every weekend. I get tire duty, which is no fun at all. It involves a lot of squatting and multiple scrubbing brushes. This whole exercise seems especially silly to me since it invariably rains two days later. But I do it, with a minimum of complaining, because it makes XFE happy. And, I can basically take the rest of the day off since I racked up cooperation points in the morning.
Same goes for work: we’re not saving lives here. If someone really wants things a certain way, might as well let them have it. I call that giving in and losing a fight, but bosses usually call that “being a team player.”
So there you have it. Some tips on training your man. Good luck to all you ladies out there, and hopefully, you’re man won’t read this and figure out what you’re up to. Or worse yet, turn the tables on you. Now that all my secrets are out there, I’m expecting a double helping of tire duty this weekend.