I got home from work the other day and my wife met me in the doorway. Apparently I had arrived in the nick of time, for we had a vitally urgent family matter to discuss. She had a serious look on her face, and in her hands she held two brightly coloured bottles.
“I’m glad you’re here,” she said. “Candy Cane Bliss or Sugar Lemon Fizz…which hand soap do you want in the upstairs bathroom?”
The question caught me completely off guard. I was stuck for words, overwhelmed by the more important unspoken question, which was how in the world did I ever give my wife the impression that I care about something like scented hand soap in the first place?
I hate to sound stereotypical here, but when pondering my position on the hairy scale of manly manliness, I’ve always felt that I lean clearly and definitively to whichever side the universe keeps all the power tools.
I’m not exactly the outdoorsy sort of manly man, but I fit the stereotype in a bunch of other ways. I have far too much male pride to ever stop to ask directions if I’m lost, for example. My raging testosterone makes me incapable of reading instruction manuals. I also routinely use rugged, dangerous tools every day in the workplace. (Granted, I work in the IT field, so most of my job is mainly plugging things in and trying to make all the right lights come on, but I have manly tools nonetheless. You couldn’t lose a limb with them if something went horribly wrong, but some of them are darn pointy and if they broke the skin you could end up with a very nasty infection.)
My challenge, though, is that I live with a wife and two teenage daughters, all three of whom are female. This means I live under a perpetual haze of estrogen that, as I look around the house, I can now see might be eroding my manly manliness.
In our bathroom, my solitary stick of Right Guard is no match for the six dozen bottles of hair, face, and skin products that rule the vanity shelves. On our PVR, all my episodes of Spike TV’s Deadliest Warrior have been deleted to make room for yet another marathon of Dance Moms. Our family vehicle was purchased not with the ability in mind to tow heavy and manly objects, but rather to ensure we had enough space for the nine tons of suitcases my teenage daughters cannot live without whenever we take a holiday.
On a positive note though, the question about the bathroom hand soap might have just been the wake-up call I needed to remind me to stay on my guard. I can’t afford to be complacent. I need to offset the enduring female influences in my home with direct and forceful manly man counteraction.
For every bra and pair of leggings that I see hanging in the laundry room, I need to watch an hour of World Cup soccer on TV. Every time my wife comes home with a new duvet that is a shade of pastel that no one can pronounce, I need to purchase a new set of screwdrivers. Each time I go into the hallway closet and have to move a box of feminine hygiene products so I can reach the spare light bulbs, I need to go into a forest and hunt something with a pointy stick.
And above all, I need to NEVER mistakenly give any indication that I want to be involved in any decision involving the scent and/or placement of bathroom hand soap.
Besides, everyone knows that Candy Cane Bliss beats Sugar Lemon Fizz hands down every day of the week.
I mean, come on…some things just go without saying, right?