Ever since I wrote an article on my husband, I have been getting a number of phone calls and fan(?) mail. The letters ranged from a recommendation that I deserved to be abandoned in a desert (or was it an island in the midst of nowhere?) to the pointed suggestion that women like me should stay single and contribute to the happiness of at least one male, presumably my husband! My former teacher, who knows us both, gently pointed out all my husband's good points. He was afraid that I overlooked them. How men rush to each other's defense!
Since there is a clamour that I should present the husband's point of view, here I go. In the first place, the wife' s contention that there are several basic things about their husbands that require improvement, is met with incredulity. Men in need of improvement! You must be joking. With characteristic modesty they felt they were more or less perfect. Most of the troubles, they are convinced, are due to the women in their lives.
Take a simple thing like food, they say. Wives always put food on the table just when a man is about to make a phone call or is reading desultorily or just cat-napping or while pretending to be deep in thought. They keep on muttering 'Food is getting cold' .
Wives they say can't bear to see the husband sitting around, happily doing nothing. Come Sunday morning, the poor husband is expected to turn handy-man. The wife brings up an assortment of burnt out toasters, non-working irons and hairdryers expecting them to be repaired. The husbands have an ingenious answer. They are quick to dismantle everything, so that every available table is covered with spare parts. For the next few Sundays- there is peace. There is no more place to even balance a nut or bolt.
One doctor friend of ours says that the trouble with his wife is that she never puts the tops on anything. "I spend half my life putting things on the things she took them off from". He says starting from the cap on the toothpaste, to the top on the marmalade bottle and the cap on the car radiator he has to do 'the follow-up act' and it ruins his day. This reminds me of my husband's similar complaint that I never put back anything from where I originally took it. I agree I don't, but that is because I put everything into my handbag. After all it is so handy. The only problem is that I use several handbags and it is difficult to keep track of what I put in which bag. Just the other night, we went to the theatre. I over turned the entire contents of my bag and found the usual compact, comb, house keys and wallet, the keys of the refrigerator we sold a long time age, two week old platform tickets, library cards, old bills and invitation cards, buy no cinema tickets. I turned to my husband, tried my usual ploy in all such instances, "I gave the tickets to you, I distinctly remember" - Before he could refute the charge- the person we sent to make the advance reservation came up with the missing tickets.
As for the charge of propping up the newspaper against the sugar bowl and reading it right through breakfast, a husband says, "my wife's idea of interesting conversation is recounting the funny dream she had last night, interspersed with questions like "do you think these curtains match the cushion covers?" or reading out from the letter she received from an old school friend I don't know from Adam! Other husband's agree that this is a fairly good sample of a wife's conversation.
Wives' 'intuition' is a dirty word in the dictionary of husbands. This is specially so when the couple is driving around, trying to locate a friend's house. While the husband is carefully pouring over a city road map and looking up sectors and road numbers, it is galling when the little woman parks up- 'turn into this lane. I have a hunch- it is the right one'. Against all odds it turns out that she is right. No wonder the harassed husband concludes, 'there is no justice in the world'.
To conclude men are convinced that contrary to expectations "it is a woman's world out there". She holds all the cards in the pack except one and you can guess which one it is.