Jan. 11, 2007
A couple of weeks ago I did something no self-respecting male would admit, but here I go. I returned a sound system to the store and bought a water softener instead.
It's the kind of thing that could jeopardize a fellow's standing in the men's club.
It happened because all DC wanted for Christmas was a $20 piece of Chinese pottery she'd spotted in a discount store. She didn't want anything else because she'd have to find somewhere to put it.
I complied with her wish with the exception of the few trinkets she found in her stocking Christmas morning. One was Martha Stewart's encyclopedic new bible on "Homekeeping." In spite of the time she spent wearing stripes, Martha is still DC's idol.
DC gave me a home entertainment system with a DVD player. A bargain pot versus a Bosean technological marvel. I'd been Scrooged.
Fortunately, a few days before Christmas we had watched a TV report about the next high-tech thing: High-definition DVDs. The picture clarity is six times greater than with current DVDs. Buying a new entertainment system with a suddenly old-fashioned DVD player didn't make sense.
That wasn't the only domestic dilemma of the moment. DC was unhappy about all the water spots showing up on the glass in our shower. Since I take showers and she takes baths, her solution was for me to wipe off the walls after each shower.
What? My idea of taking a shower is to relax and luxuriate under a warm cascade of water. It's a sensual experience. The experience should not involve a squeegee.
Here I will admit my husbandly flaws are multitudinous. I am not handy, can't fix a broken car or much of anything. When DC decides to paint something, I just get out of the way. The last thing I built were bookends in industrial arts class in the seventh grade.
So when DC charges me with the crime of spotting up her shower walls with water, I don't get overly exercised. I am guilty of much worse.
My suggestion was to consult her lovingly given Christmas present to see how Martha Stewart handles water spots. Martha Stewart doesn't allow dinner guests to drink red wine for fear of stains, so there was danger she might advocate a ban on all showers.
But Martha just recommends having your water softened.
Here's where my guy credentials might be questioned. I like soft clothes. My manly side also desperately needs clothes that don't stain easily. For years I had been telling DC we should get a water softener. She was unconvinced. But now that Martha Stewart was endorsing it, the wisdom and wonders of soft water were clear.
My solution: Return the sound system and buy a water softener. Soft water was even cheaper. DC couldn't say yes fast enough.
The utter domestic mundanity of these concerns makes me wince. When and how did I become a guy who could value soft water over earthshaking bass notes?
I forfeited a sound system in exchange for peace and soft water. I don't know that my male friends would understand. I'm not sure how this has happened myself.
Sam Blackwell is managing editor of the Southeast Missourian.