To Whom Would I Be Married?
November 4, 2011 § 24 Comments
Nights drawing in, I think why not a bit of harmless fun in the spirit of a party-game: I think about my men friends and the husbands of various women I know – or, indeed, don’t know – and I wonder (don’t we all?), to which of them, in a different life, might I like to be married? Please don’t give me any shit about how many of them would want me for a wife because we know the answer to that – I am not going to spell it out, but it has four letters, begins with an n and ends with an e – and anyway that’s not how the game is played.
It has to be said, there aren’t all that many; perhaps a handful. Not because I am the world’s biggest fusspot, just Because. Certainly not the three or more (cf. Marriage Grass Greener?) who aren’t having sex with their wives. I could do without hidden rejection, the poignancy of which would be all the more, well, poignant, for being hidden, and for the assumption by everyone that because you were married you must be in sexual clover (well, relative to your average plankton, at any rate). It would be almost harder to talk about than planktonhood precisely because the rejection was so covert. I’ve got REJECT stamped on my forehead in big bold letters like FRAGILE on a cardboard box with baubles inside. At least it elicits a certain amount of sympathy, if and when people have the imagination or energy to be sympathetic.
Don’t get me wrong, I like enormously a great many husbands. In fact, many of my best friends are husbands. There are a few who are said by their wives to be slight bullies or very selfish or lazy or erring on the side of control-freakery or whatever and I see it, but they aren’t like that to me, or to their other friends on the whole. The truth is, the very definition of spouse means the person who bears the brunt of the bad in her partner, but also, with any luck, the best of the good. Perhaps, as a mere friend rather than spouse, one is benefitting from a side of someone that could be described as their better? What I see amongst my male friends (pretty well all of them husbands) is erudition, humour, loyalty, affection, wisdom, generosity, and protectiveness. BF is a perfect example, (and particularly at the moment, whilst so touchingly making every effort to get me together with Long Shot, in my eyes he can do no wrong). But, by his own admission he is, he says, in that tried and trusty phrase, “a nightmare to be married to.” In fact, I am not sure I agree, because although he has “issues” that understandably might make his wife wish occasionally to throttle him, he also displays all the above good qualities to her, whom he respects and adores. Once, when the redoubtable Janey threw a singles’ party, she managed to collect an unprecedented number of available men under one roof, but the one who was the most handsome and charming and clever and delightful, was not available, because he was – is – her absolutely tip-top husband. He is as good for her as she is for him but I can think of a few other men who would – and do – make lovely husbands. My best friends’ husbands are all fab and I like them very much. Mr Standard-Bearer is a good example, but maybe it is because he is married to Mrs Standard-Bearer that he makes such a good husband and if he were married to me (not that he’d want to be in a million years, though we have been friends for ever), he might be less marvellous. But not necessarily. In the old days, we all knew he was a good catch. A good catch who made the best possible choice and remains a good catch.
Times, during the complex process of divorce, when I thought I’d quite like to be married to my own husband but’s that’s cheating and anyway, I am over that now (yes I am; no comments, please) and girlfriends have said, much though they loved him, they don’t know how I managed to stick with him as his wife for more than seventeen minutes.
But it has to be said, there are a heck of a lot of husbands out there whom I am thankful are not my husband. I refer to the undercover SFARs (Single For A Reason), the ones who somehow slipped through the net of singledom, and managed to bag a wife despite baggage, casual cruelty, emotional distance, an underlying gay theme, an understanding of cleanliness (both domestic and personal) erring on the side of clueless, teenage tendencies, mental illness, a sheep shagging habit, a beard, etc etc etc.
My father had a frankly dodgy theory that a woman would marry any man if he showed enough persistence, and I am afraid these are the husbands who prove that theory and I don’t think anyone would much like being married to them, their own wives and a pathetic old plankton like me, included.