Saturday, February 18, 2006

Beloved Wives Day ( 30)

“Beloved Wives Day” (30)

A group of Japanese men hoping to encourage the nation’s legions of workaholic husbands to head home early and show their wives some appreciation have proclaimed Tuesday “Beloved Wives Day”.

“This is from Reuters, their Oddly Enough news, just in case they’re listening in and want credit”, I said to Phyllis, who sat patiently while I read to her from an article a friend had sent me.

“I don’t think Reuters is here in your computer room. Oh, no, you’re going to write about this, aren’t you?” Phyllis said.

I ignored this outburst and kept reading: The group, which calls itself the “Japan Doting Husbands Association” urged men to get home by 8 p. m. and say thanks to their wives for all they do. Many men can’t put their feelings of gratitude toward their wives into words. Work is number one for them.

“That doesn’t sound like you.”

“You mean you think I’m good at expressing myself?”

“Oh, no. You can talk all right-- you’ll say anything to anybody. I mean you’re not exactly a workaholic.”

“That’s good, isn’t it? I come home to my wife and puppy dog.”

I read another bit of the article. “Here’s another section I’m good at. It talks about the five “golden rules” including going home early, calling wives by their given name and looking them in the eyes when talking.”

“Oh, that’s rich. You never look me in the eyes—you’re always staring into your computer screen, or watching TV, or reading something. You are actually married to your computer. When I want to get your attention, I practically have to e-mail you.”

“Say, that’s an idea. Why don’t we set up your own personal e-mail account—you could send me a message—I always check my mail.”

“No, thanks. I’ll just call from work to make sure you haven’t set the kitchen on fire.”

I ignored this—I’ve never actually set the kitchen on fire. I did once try to pop some microwave popcorn and mistakenly set the dial on “beverage” rather than “popcorn”. I’ll have to admit that there was a lot of black smoke and the house smelled like it had been on fire. It’s also true that particular bag of Orville Redenbacher had a hole in it, as though it had been shot, but no real damage was done.

“Here’s something else: The group—the Doting Husbands –has its own homepage, which includes a column where husbands can write down their feelings they are to shy to say out loud.”

“You mean to tell me these guys have to get on the Internet to talk with their wives? What kind of a wimp does that? Sounds to me like they need a dose of Dr. Phil.”

“I thought women liked the sensitive type—you know, like that English guy, Hugh Grant, in Six Weddings and Three Funerals, or whatever it was called”.

“Hugh Grant? Who’s he?”

“Oh, that’s right-he doesn’t do those slasher pictures you like. Maybe they’ll show one of his movies on Lifetime so you can catch it.”

“Anyway, the article goes on to say the Japanese marriages are under great pressure. In 2004, more than one in three marriages ended in divorce.”

“Sounds like some of those Japanese girls are getting smart”.

“You mean you wouldn’t put up with a husband who was married to his work and who wrote comments at a web site, because he couldn’t get home on time?”

“I would be setting him out on a street corner.”

“Kind of harsh, isn’t it? Isn’t that what you say about women whose husbands don’t work?”

“No, I say women who support husbands who won’t work should throw them out. If it were me, I’d set them out with the garbage.”

I try one more time. “Here’s a guy with a broken heart—listen to this: I’m sorry I had a car accident. I’m sorry I’m away so much on business trips. I’m sorry I end up sleeping at the office so often.”

“He sounds like a “sorry” excuse for a husband, I’d say.”

“Maybe we should start “Beloved Wives” night right here. On your nights off, I could make sure I get home early, make it a point to call you by your given name (Sweetheart), and say thanks for all the things you do”.

“No, don’t do that—I’ll think I’m in the wrong house. “

“Why don’t we start tonight? Hey, how about I fix us some microwave popcorn?”

“How about you staying out of my kitchen, Buster?”

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