A couple of weeks ago, a guy I will refer to as Guy (for his safety) made the unholy blunder of giving a Ha-Ha react to a comment that did not meet the approval of his wife. Because we primarily deal with emojis in this new age of love and communication, Guy’s wife followed up her comments with a red angry react. This is not to be confused by the ‘hangry’ react where the wife is just upset because she is hungry and husbands have no clue what to order.
Clue: Order everything.
Long story short, Guy did not fare very well. We all forgot the whole context, subplot and overall outline of the preceding situation that resulted in the ill-placed Ha-ha. Because in the end, all that remains is ‘The End’. And for Guy, and many of us guys, ‘The End’ is not a very good place to be in.
Which is why I have a foolproof method for surviving the stupid mistakes we men make, something Guy could have benefitted from if he was still alive.
Step 1: Commitment
When you are married, you are committed to being the pillar of support. Think of Bonnie and Clyde, famous lovers who went on a robbery spree back in the 30s. Bonnie shot, Clyde quietly killed also. No questions asked. In case of Guy, he was committed but in a different way. He was dumb like a T-Rex staring at a flaming asteroid. He added more Ha-ha reacts to further comments. Some may say he never learned. Some may consider it a brilliant strategy in getting the wife used to erratic behaviour. Except we do not know if Guy is still alive.
Step 2: Two alternatives
Always think of two alternatives to your actions. It can make the situation delightful or it can become a Guy situation where things end in death and fiery destruction. I have learned this the hard way. Each time.
I am still learning.
Last week, my wife worked really hard setting up everything from the food to the décor for our baby daughter’s first birthday—which admittedly was delayed by two weeks because it was, for once, this week, completely my fault.
She had asked me to put the daughter to sleep while she worked late into the night setting up balloons and butterflies with the help of my son and his cousins. Free child labour is acceptable when they consent.
I did look after the daughter. But I also wanted to have a Mars bar that I had stolen out of a goodie bag prepared for the party kids. I know, I know, some kid got a candy less but it is for their own good. My daughter being one-year-old and completely irresponsible, smiled sweetly at me and asked for the candy. I shared because I am a sucker. #dadlife.
This innocent act got me into serious trouble. The kid would not sleep for the next few hours, way past midnight. The tired wife was not pleased. She asked why I couldn’t think of an alternative which was to distract the baby with just about anything, NOT candy. She was right, I didn’t think. Babies are easily distracted by lights, boxes, dirty shoes, terrified pet cats, money, or expensive breakable gadgets.
Step 3: Connect with a support group
As a man, you know you will utterly and miserably fail. It is in your DNA. My wife believes Thor is one of two perfect amazing men. Naturally, I cannot compete with his cool Aussie accent and gorgeous hair even if I put on a red cape. So men, married or otherwise, are best advised to join a support group when they find out they fail at the two previous steps.
Guy thought he would Ha-ha on social media and all his other male accomplices would support him. That did not happen. He was left alone in the dark to die like that terrible recent GoT episode where no one knew what to do.
The right way to get support is in secret. This is why my friends and I have these meetups where we apparently go with our cars and try to fix problems with cars.
No! We just park our cars and sit quietly patting each other on the back. Occasionally we will see younger guys driving around clueless about what is to come. We laugh at them.
Step 4: Never blame
A wife is a loving creature like a tigress. Fierce, caring, loyal and occasionally murderous. But you can never play the blame game. She has a right to lose her temper. My wife for example looks after the baby daughter and snaps at anyone who even dares to suggest she get a maid to do the job. She simply cannot give up her daughter to someone else for the entire day while she prepares for work, looks after the house or watches Netflix. Which is admirable because she actually prefers to do it all on her own without needing therapy and ME-time.
And then she posts a status update, ‘Now I know why some animals eat their offspring’. All without actually eating any of my kids mostly because the son is skinny bones. I keep quiet.
After she goes through all that, my battles with traffic and erratic website design at work seem pointless.
Step ‘The End’: Hold yourself and wallet accountable
In the end, when it all fails, hold yourself accountable. You know you men and I are to blame. It is quicker to accept that and go back to watching Umbrella Academy. Be ready to order food because the quickest way to a woman’s heart is through online food deliveries. If only Guy had known all this, he might have read this article and silently nodded in our support group.
Ehsanur Raza Ronny is a confused dad, all round car guy, model car builder and cartoonist. He is also Editor of Shift (automobiles), Bytes (technology) and Next Step (career) for The Daily Star.