I got home from work the other day and my wife met me in the doorway. Apparently I had arrived just in the nick of time, for we had a vitally urgent family matter to discuss. My wife had a serious look on her face and consternation in her eyes, 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 honestly stuck for words, but not for the reason you might think. It wasn’t because I was overwhelmed by the options – after all, when it comes to making hasty, on-the-spot decisions about trivial things that I care absolutely nothing about, I’m an absolute master.
The reason I was dumbstruck – and this is the critical issue here – is how in the world did I ever gave 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 grand 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 bet that if manly men magazines had Cosmo-style quizzes to test a guy’s overall manliness quotient, I’d fall smack into the category of “probably not manly enough to fend off a rabid grizzly bear attack with a paperclip, but could definitely hold his own against a pack of perturbed Chihuahuas.”
Perhaps I’m not exactly the outdoorsy sort of manly man, but I’m a true manly man in a bunch of other ways. For example, I have far too much male pride to ever stop to ask directions if I’m lost, my raging testosterone levels make me incapable of reading instruction manuals when assembling things, and I routinely use rugged, dangerous tools each and everyday 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. They’re not the sort of tools a person could lose a limb with if something went horribly wrong, but some of them are damn 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 that I live under a perpetual haze of estrogen that, as I look around the house, I can now see might be slowly 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 favourite 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.
Right now, I don’t even have space for my laundry, for my closet has been overrun by dresses. My daughters are competitive dancers and we’re just starting competition season (you can read more about that particular basket of pain here if you’re interested), so last week each of them brought home nine glittery, poofy, ridiculously expensive dresses that have taken over every inch of closet space in our house. Eldest Daughter’s Rhapsody in Blue takes nearly two feet of closet space alone, which means for that for the next four months my clean dress shirts are destined to live in the laundry room in the basement on the shelf next to the Fleecy sheets for the dryer.
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 playoff hockey 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?