The Best Motto

Gd, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannon change
Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

You woke up this morning - Congratulations! You got another chance!

Monday, May 06, 2013


Being a woman is both a blessing and a curse. For centuries we had to deal with male idiocy disguised as logic, while ourselves constantly accused of being too emotional and devoid of clear thinking – even in the most progressive societies. And when the civilized world finally acknowledged the fact that our feelings are deserving of respect and consideration (at least in some instances), different floodgate opened. Males of the species in the dialogue about feelings perceived an opening in which to insert their own emotions, and since then we are under constant barrage of their (forgive my French) whining. The said whining comes from all sides of political spectrum, i.e. the ladies magazines (which are notoriously left-wing) and different religious sources (which are usually not left-wing at all).

So, not to be outdone, a few months ago Aish put on their website something authored by a Rabbi and titled “Ten Things Men Wish Women Knew”. Now, as my readers know, I have never been married; however, having observed countless married relatives, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, I feel that I am competent to respond to this little masterpiece. My character is a collective of about 15 real people I know, has a few kids, works, lives in Brooklyn (for the ease of reference), and has the usual assortment of in-laws.

Ladies, it's not complicated. And guys feel free to add your additional points in the comment sections below.
R: Love, love, love this little introduction! Does this mean that the complaint is more than 10 points long? But of course it is, why am I so surprised?!
1) Just like women, we need love. Even though women have the reputation of being more emotionally needy, we find ourselves longing for those words. Please say them often.
R: Honey, I knew you were emotionally needy when you got jealous of our first baby and the amount of time I was giving him (ergo, stopped giving you) – so, that's not news to me. I love you and would like to assert it as much and as often as possible – however, it is a bit hard to do when more often than not you yourself show complete disregard to the feelings and emotional needs of our children, never mind mine.
2) Additionally we crave respect and approval. Show us admiration and your wish will be our command. Nag us or attack us and we will retreat to our caves.
R: If I did not respect you or did not approve of you, the wedding would never have happened. How exactly am I supposed to show you admiration – give you a gold star every time you finally finish something you promised to do half a year ago? What constitutes nagging – my asking you (politely) for about 10 times to do something for the house and/or for the kids and not so politely for the 11th? How else would you like me to proceed? I texted you; wrote a note on the fridge, and told it to you verbally – all, mind you, exactly as per your instructions for such cases. Why is your selective memory and inattention to our needs translates into my nagging?
3) We are not mind readers. We can’t anticipate your needs and desires. Tell us what you want. Help us out. We want to give to you but you need to tell us how. Don’t be coy; be straight. The proof of our love is not in our clairvoyance but in our response to your clearly expressed wishes.
R: As previously mentioned, I love and respect you – which also means that the object of my affection is bright and in possession of common sense. So, please forgive me for assuming that if you finished a roll of toilet paper, you would replace it; if you see a light bulb on the front porch die, you would replace it – especially considering that you are 7 inches taller than I; that if our daughter is showing you her drawing, you would talk to her and praise her work; that your first greeting of the day to our children would not be screaming and accusations; and that if you like to rest and drink hot tea when you are sick, you would automatically assume that I would likewise like to rest and drink warm tea when I am equally sick. Forgive me for this horribly mistaken assumption – I never knew that in masculine language common sense is mistaken for clairvoyance. But even if I am straight with you – meaning I spell out in minute details what precisely I want at this particular moment or what I would like for you do – most of the time my wishes are somehow ignored or forgotten – and then I am accused of “nagging”.
4) We respect what a good mother you are and how much you do for the community, but we do not want to be at the bottom of your to-do list. We want to feel like we are the most important person in your life. (Would you mind getting off the phone when we walk in the door?)
R: You are my husband and the father of my children. You are very, very important to me! When you are sad, or sick, or hurt – it hurts me too, more than you usually realize. But our children are the most important people in my life! They are the results of our love and commitment to each other; they are the best of both of us. But they are also small and defenseless – and they need love, guidance, and constant care. They can't cook for themselves; half of them can't even get dressed on their own, or blow their noses, of, forgive me, wipe their little tuschies. They can't even get to their friends' houses on their own. They also don't know how to deal with difficult situations, adversity, or bullies, and most of the time they can't clearly articulate what exactly is hurting them. Also, aside from our older daughter, none of them would ever voluntarily do their homework – would you like me to hire a tutor for them?
As for my “community work”, as limited as it is – for some reason I assumed that the situation of Mrs. R on the next block, who is blessed with more children than we and whose husband is battling cancer for about 3 years now, or Z's family 5 blocks over, whose youngest child is in and out of the hospital for over a year, of Mrs. S's, who is basically housebound and has no family to my knowledge – in my ignorance and silliness I thought that our problems and concerns, as weighty as they are, somehow pale next to these people's, so, yes, occasionally I do ignore or forget your dinner, shirts at the dry cleaner's, or even your second cousin's Bar Mitzvah, in order to run errands for these other people and try somehow to lessen their problems and concerns.
And, finally, my telephone conversations. I figured out long time ago that there is a slight disparity in what constitutes good manners by my family – and how your family looks at that particular subject. Never the less, I was taught to treat everyone with equal respect – so, if I am talking to someone on the phone, I consider it rude to hang up on them the minute you walked into the house. I said hello and acknowledged your presence – is this not enough? Plus, don't forget one important detail – most of these phone calls are not with my friends, but rather connected in one way or another with our children. And I shudder to even contemplate what will happen if I hang up on your mother or one of your siblings – this horrible faux pas will probably be mentioned at our baby's Bat Mitzvah – or possibly even her wedding reception.
5) Our desire for physical intimacy is not some trivial biological need that we should just suppress until the kids are older. It is an expression of our desire for a deep and profound connection with you. When you rebuff it, it is hurtful and we feel rejected. Imagine if we are always too tired to talk to you.
R: Here is the simple truth: by the time I hit the pillow at night, I am unconscious about 95% of the time. Blame it on the following: unending housework that I do ( and you somehow do not see the results of), kids' schools, homework, teachers, bath time, or what have you; the endless food shopping and other errands, commuting to work, endless frustration from the job itself, the thankless task of constant diplomacy (above the level of the State Department requirement) in dealing with your family – any one of these, all of them, or any combination of the above completely drain my physical and mental energy. As a side note – I wanted to take a few years off from work after our son was born so I could be home with children, but your parents frowned at the idea of their darling child working alone in order to support the lazy queen at home. So, sweetheart, whatever the cause may be, the effect is – I am usually comatose at night. But, to paraphrase a popular book, if necrophilia is your thing, I am not stopping you. And, yes, usually you ARE to tired to talk to me – regardless of the topic of conversation.
6) Our jobs are important to us – for our self-worth, for a feeling of accomplishment, and because we want to provide for our families. Please try to understand that we work hard and are actually not on the golf course all day.
R.: Darling, the fact that you wanted to support our family from day one is one of the reasons I liked you from the beginning. I understand that your work takes a lot out of you – but I work too. You require time to decompress after a tong day at the office before you can talk to me or the children with any degree of civility – I never get this option. And, yes, I did not work while on maternity leave – but it was no picnic by any stretch of the imagination.
7) You seem to think we’re incompetent but we are actually capable of watching our children – and even doing a good job of it! If you want to have a break and get out of the house, please go – and trust us.
R: Oh, wow! Does this come from the same man who would not let me go to supermarket on Thursday night because he was afraid to be with our newborn for less than an hour? The same person who kept berating me for having the audacity to leave him with a screaming baby so that I could go to the mikva? I am duly impressed with your maturity and attitude change! I am taking you up on your offer this coming Sunday and going out with my friend for a few hours- and then ( just for the sake of science) I will count how many phone calls I would get asking me where the coats are, how come we are out of milk, are any of our kids allergic to peanut butter, is the kugel in the fridge dairy or pareve, why are they fighting over the same pack of crayons, et cetera, et cetera. Finally, I wonder at how much time would pass before I would be asked about how long I was planning to talk idiotic nonsense to my friend. But, hey, hope springs eternal. On the second thought – scratch the whole friends outing! May I just have a nice, long, uninterrupted nap? Then maybe we could address your concern listed at #5.
8) We are not another one of your children. Please don’t speak of us that way (we don’t think it’s cute) when talking with your friends, and please don’t treat us that way. It diminishes us and you.
R: OK, you got me there, pal! I am completely stumped – what precisely are you talking about? Unless you are referring to the times when you decided to justify the saying “a woman gets her first child the day after the wedding”, and I called you on it (but did not discuss it with any of my friends), I really have no idea what you are talking about and what the issue is.
9) We really wish we could give you all the material possessions your heart desires. It is painful to us that we can’t. Please don’t increase the pressure by constantly criticizing us about it.
R: I appreciate the sentiment, darling, I really do! But what material possessions are we talking about? The jewelry I got after our first son was born? I really did not want them – your family insisted. My perfume collection? They are presents from my mom and my sister. My wig? You kept making a hole in my head (forgive the pun) till I got one. Clothing for the kids? They do grow, you know; and I can't always insist on the younger ones wearing the hand me downs from their older siblings – it's simply unfair. My clothing? I am sorry, but it is usually more expensive than yours – you are welcome to tag along with me and find out for yourself. Family vacations are non-negotiable, I am sorry. As for criticizing you – are we talking about my suggestion of a homemade lunch for you at least twice a week as opposed to take out? Or my annoyance at your purchase of the new phone and an ipad before the necessary bathroom repairs? I do apologize, most humbly! In my obtuseness I somehow decided that, as we own the house, it really would be a great idea to make sure there are no leaks in the ceiling, and it pains me to know that I caused you pain and distracted you from the ipad enjoyment for an entire evening.
10) We are simple creatures with simple needs. We don’t require elaborate dinners on fancy china. We just want the comfort of a warm home and the love of a good woman.

R: I love you very much, sweetheart, but dealing with your moods somehow makes me doubt the validity of your claim for simplicity. You may not require elaborate dinners or fancy china, but I sometimes actually do – and if any member of your family comes to visit, simple fare and disposable dishes are not an option. Believe it or not, but one of my main reasons for marriage was the desire to be a loving wife who provides a warm home for her (hopefully) equally loving husband. I make every possible effort to achieve that goal, but I am human and ergo not perfect; however, I would dearly appreciate the same effort (or at least an attempt) on your part.

Your loving wife.

And, gentlemen, bonus point from me personally, and not from the imaginary wife: there are two logical reasons for putting down the toilet cover: 1. There is less of a chance of something falling inside and necessitating repairs and 2. Less germs get in the air, especially if your bathroom is on the small side. So, please don’t complain about our toilet seat nagging – we actually do have a point.


SubWife said...

Well, basically you can boil down these ten to 1) I am a human being with feelings and needs, which should be respected 2) Express yourself clearly but respectfully, 3) Don't treat me like a child. Which I think applies to all sexes. The fact that these wishes differ with the actual behavior - well, we all have conflicting wishes. Like we want a man who is strong and traditionally manly, but also gentle and sensitive, and I don't think those exist in nature. You can have either one or another. We like that a husband is nice an polite, but get frustrated that he is too soft on the kids. We want help in the kitchen, but want it done only our way or get annoyed at the sight of someone else toughing our pots. Don't take me wrong. Men are weird, and this generation of men seems to be particularly immature, which is a source of many problems you listed. But women are weird too, but in a different and (I am partial) more benign way.

SubWife said...

*touching, not toughing pots, lol.