This past weekend, I let my husband off of his short leash and gave him free range. You see, the women’s only triathlon was in town.
And so, on Saturday we were scheduled to volunteer with local sponsors at the expo. I was excited to talk with women about the sport while Chris was excited to have a guilt-free opportunity approved by the wife to spend an entire day working on bikes – it can’t get any better than this but wait it does – AND talking to hot, fit chicks that would do nothing but give him oodles of attention and hang on his every word.
I was situated at my running sponsor tent while Chris and Jennifer, our coach, were at our bike sponsor tent. This separation was probably a good thing since working with Chris meant I would probably spend the day either wearing out my hand from slapping him repeatedly for staring at the parade of women walking by OR by bossing him around. Neither which would result in a good outcome (for him or for me).
Though Chris and I were physically separated, throughout the day people either felt obligated or oddly entertained to give me reports on what he was doing or who he was talking to. In my opinion this was totally unfair. Because they weren’t doing the same for me. After all, Liz is talking to yet another woman isn’t nearly as incriminating as Chris is talking to yet another hot young fit chick, is it? But still, the reports kept coming in and I guess the flirts, the giggles, and the chatterbox kept coming out of my husband.
It was about 1 pm when Jennifer, our coach, peeked out from behind a sign hanging by my tent.
“Chris is talking to all the young girly girls,” she reported with eyes raised. I wasn’t sure what to say. Or even if I should care at all. First of all, there was a very slim chance that any of the girls actually picked up on what he was saying – the hazards of talking to a fast talker – second of all, there was even a slimmer chance that he was talking about anything remotely of interest to a girl. After all, we are talking about a male Waterstraat known for (wo)man-trapping hapless women into conversations about cars, wheels, metallurgy, trains, or my FAVORITE a few weeks ago - about whether or not I shifted the gears on my 5-speed car when I sensed the shifterthingmabob going off or just by sound. Huh?
“Jennifer, he is way too much of a dork to even know what to say or how to flirt,” I said, honestly. Trust me, I know. After all, I had once met him, I had once flirted with him. Or tried.
Besides, I told her, he just likes the attention. So there is no threat. And this is true of all married men. Admit that most of the attention that married men get out of their women is in the form of when will you do this, or why did you do that. So I believe that most married men are just looking to talk to any woman about anything just as long as she stands in front of him long enough and pretends to be entertained. Because us wives, well, we stopped pretending a long time ago (are you talking to me about shifting gears?).
A short while later, I decided I had to check this out. If Chris was talking to girls and getting attention this was something I had to see. Sure enough, I walk by the tent and there he was. In all of his women’s only triathlon glory. Talking to some girls, hands animated, eyes wide. Not only that but he was sipping one of probably one hundred of the free samples he took advantage of from the Starbucks’ tent.
Watching this unfold, Rich from the bike shop appeared in front of me.
“Liz, do you want any pizza?” he asked. Hmmmm, pizza. Although it is against the very core of all things good and tasty in the world – I just don’t like pizza. I declined. No pizza for me. Which might as well be a metaphor for no fun, no junk food Friday nights, no cheap sausage or greasy pepperoni. No to the pizza.
“Chris says you never let him order pizza,” Rich replied. See what I mean? It’s the scarlet P painted on me in spicy red sauce. This is worse than adultery. She wandered away – forgivable. She doesn’t like pizza? Reprehensible. Mind you anyone around me can eat pizza, I just won’t join in. So, my friends in the bike tent, correction – I would never eat pizza if Chris ordered it but he can order it any time. He can also use the bathroom when he’d like, stay out past 11 pm, and drive the car. As long as he puts gas back into it.
So I replied in my defense; “No, he can eat all the pizza he wants but tell him to go easy on the frozen mochafrappacinos. If he has too many he’ll wet the bed.” Take that. All right, he has never wet the bed. But come on, I wasn’t going to be made to feel like the bad wife, bad person, bad eater, bad taste for refusing pizza. I had to get my jab in there somehow. And actually what I really wanted to say was to tell Chris to lay off the frappacinos with whip on top because he had a 75-minute run later that day which would not be fueled by 1000 ounches of fat-filled imposter coffee drink sloshing in his stomach.
At that point, I left Chris to his questionable at best food and drink choices and returned to my tent. A little bit later, Jennifer appeared.
“Chris ate pizza,” she reported. Great, because I’m keeping track of his caloric intake today and he is way over his limit so would you strap this muzzle on his mouth so he does not eat anymore and also does not trap any more unassuming women into conversations about trains/bikes/metallurgy/etc.
She continued, though. “We’ve made plans to go out for pizza some time so he and I can eat pizza and you and Jerome can eat salad and water,” she said. Obviously she too is a pizza lover married to a non pizza lover but I’m sure I can speak on behalf of Jerome (her husband) when I say this is EXACTLY how we feel about being married to people who do not like coffee. Coffee is our pizza and it is just as wrong not to love coffee as it is not to love pizza.
I’m not sure what Chris ate for the rest of the day because the updates stopped there. After the expo, I joined Chris at the bike tent and he said goodbye. Rich thanked him for his help and coming out for the day.
“Every so often she lets me out of my cage,” Chris said.
I shook my head and we went home. On the way, I learned that Jennifer told Chris he didn’t have to run today. I guess when you share pizza with the coach you get in good with the coach and get out of workouts. Maybe I will start eating pizza.
The next day, Chris offered to join me while spectating at the race. Warning: do not take your husband to spectate at an all women’s event. Nothing good can come from this. Unless you want him to (a) ring a giant cowbell in quiet residential neighborhoods before 7 am; (b) turn the cowbell upside down to show you that his bell is ‘extra large’, (c) comment every time a Her Sports sponsored athlete rides by that “I'd do her sport any time”, (d) read the names on the race numbers and then say inappropriate things like “there goes Ida – I-da-ho, no, U-da-ho.” You-get-the-point.
After watching over 1800 women swim, bike, and run by us in scantily clad sporting outfits, I decided the husband had enough women’s only fun for the weekend and took him home. At which point I put him back on his leash where he would stay tethered for awhile.
Life is tough for the married man. Especially when the wife keeps you leashed up from things like frappacinos, and pizza, and flirting with girls. But can you really blame the wife? After all, have you ever heard the sound of a cowbell before 7 am? Or been trapped by a man talking endlessly about trains?
But it’s not really that bad. And I don’t keep Chris under tight control. He can do and eat whatever he’d like. Besides, what he doesn’t know is that his leash is really one of those retractable leashes and if he tried to run he’d realize he could get at least as far as the edge of the yard.
Of course then he’d get zapped by the invisible fence.