I have been married for more than 13 years. I know this because: 1. I wear a wedding ring inscribed with the words Love always, John, which serves to remind me that, recurring fantasies aside, I’m not Antonio Banderas’s wife; 2. 1 have in my possession our marriage license, dated November 21, 1983, signed by Circuit Court Clerk Mel Wills, Jr., of Kissimmee, FL; 3. 1 can think of no other logical reason why I would routinely purchase men’s Jockey shorts.
Despite such considerable evidence, many people don’t believe I’m actually married. They argue that a married person, at least on occasion — such as every leap year — should be able to produce a spouse. Which, quite often, I can’t.
The problem is this: When it comes to social activities, such as attending weddings or dinner parties, my husband and I have different attitudes. I absolutely look forward to and thoroughly enjoy them. My husband, on the other hand, is somewhat less enthusiastic to the extent that he’d rather spend the evening engulfed in flames.
It’s not that he detests every aspect of going out. In fact, he really likes the part that involves returning home. This is where he feels most comfortable. No dress code. No worrying about which fork to use. No need to engage in polite conversation. (Although I do periodically insist that he use the word please in conjunction with the phrase “get me the remote.”)
The problem has gotten worse over the years. When we were first married, we went out fairly often. Now, I’m really starting to think the man wouldn’t so much as attend my funeral unless, of course, it happened to be held in our family room, and he didn’t have to wear a tie, or talk to anyone. Granted, we’re older now and have two children. But unless I wasn’t paying attention at some point, I don’t believe we were ever sentenced to solitary confinement.
On the bright side, I’ve discovered that this need-to-rent-a-more-social-husband dilemma isn’t unique to me. I recently had lunch with two girlfriends who admitted to having similar problems. When my friend Susan announces they’ve been invited to a dinner party, her husband gives her this look “like I’ve told him he has three hours to live.” Jane notes that her husband responds to all social requests with the same five-word sentence: “Do we have to go?” Which is later followed by, “When can we leave?”
We decided that this male/female conflict probably dates back to the dawn of civilization when prehistoric man felt compelled to stay near the cave and ward off predators, while prehistoric woman felt compelled to wear those new suede pumps with the black animal-skin dress that completely camouflaged her “hip problem.”
We also concluded that, although we wish they were more social creatures, our husbands have many other wonderful qualities. Besides, we’re willing to bet that while Melanie Griffith is putting on lip gloss, Antonio Banderas is nearby whining, “Do we have to go?”