When I joined the Army, it only took an hour or so before I truly appreciated the value of a three day pass. When hunting season rolled around, I heard the First Sergeant comment that he could go if he could get a “kitchen pass”. The need for and the value of this type of pass was lost on me until I got married and discovered that kitchen passes are issued by your wife and they can be few and far between. My mother did not raise a dummy. I quickly learned that while the Basswife outwardly behaved as if I was the “boss”, that behavior was only because I knew she was the real “boss”. This nugget of knowledge is summed up in the old southern expression;
“If Mama ain’t happy, nobody is happy”
One of the things that will upset your Mama pretty dang quick is if you disappear into the woods to go fishin’ or huntin’ or wander off with the guys. Mama likes company… your company.
This immediately presents a dilemma. You are boss, but you know who the real boss is. It never pays to make the boss mad – especially one who can banish you to the couch on a cold night. How to get the real boss’s permission without comprising your male ego and the illusion that you are the boss? Well, you need excuses – rational excuses preferred. Excuses based on a higher, respected source are the best.
For years, I looked for this golden excuse. Granted, some of my attempts were pretty innovative;
Lame excuse #1:
Blame it on your buddy. “Jane is visiting her sister/kids/vet/friends/brother (pick one), so Dick asked me to go fishing next weekend.”
Analysis: This is a good shot. Note that you lead with the female connection to develop rapport. You clearly state that a member of the broader female team is going to be busy and does not need the attention of her husband. If Dick does not go this weekend, then Jane will be impacted the following weekend. This appeals to the female team spirit. Your wife will probably take one for the girl team and agree. “Yes… this will be a good weekend for you to go – after all, somebody has to keep Dick out of trouble.”
Of course, Dick has the same conversation with Jane. Now, both your wife and Jane know exactly what is going on and will see through this in an instant. But, if not used too often, this becomes a good way for them to issue that Kitchen Pass while maintaining the moral high ground.
Lame excuse #2:
Find something compelling for your wife to do that does not involve you. “When was the last time you saw your sister? XYZ event is happening this weekend, maybe you two ought to go to that?”
Analysis: This really is not an excuse – it’s a tactic. But, if you come up with a good activity, it’s a pretty good tactic. After all, one of your jobs working for the boss is to keep her entertained. This gambit is even more effective if you want to go fishing your brother-in-law. In fact, you can get him on board and he can push the agenda from his side.
These two options are both pretty good. But there is something better.
The Golden Excuse.
I stumbled across this totally by mistake. The Basswife and I were on a road trip. One of the shows she likes to listen to on XM is Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Dr. Laura is a shrink who takes calls and offers advice to a mostly female audience. She is a pretty well known personality who recently wrote a book called “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands” – a book I certainly do not have the guts to give the Basswife.
Anyway, we were listening to a caller who was complaining that her husband goes out every Friday night with the guys to play poker and does not return until the wee hours of Saturday. The caller confirmed that nothing other than poker was going on and that the husband was a perfect father in every other aspect. I sat is stunned silence as Dr. Laura very firmly admonished the caller. She stated, in no uncertain terms, that guys need “guy time” and that the caller should live with it and cherish the relationship she had.
I glanced at the Basswife. She had heard it. No words were exchanged, but the message had sunk in. Dr. Laura is female; a highly respected female; a Doctor even… Bingo. Authoritative source strongly making the point!
Now all I need to do to get out fishing is to say that I would like to go fishing on Saturday. No problem. She remembers the Dr. Laura admonition. Despite what Dr. Laura says, you can’t push this too much. I certainly would not use this every weekend – but I am pretty lucky since the Basswife likes to go bass fishing – so I can get some kind of fishing action either way.
And avoid the couch.
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore