Whenever I go to a bridal shower, I always give two gifts: one real gift of something nice or useful (and boringly chosen from the registry), and one joke gift. When my friend Judy got married in 1985, she got cold cream and foam curlers. That gift was such a hit that it became my standard joke gift until about two years ago.
That was when I realized that all men mumble so much that I needed a way to warn women what they were getting into in a relatively lighthearted way. Q-tips.
You know as well as I do that all men say vitally important, life changing things to you while walking 5 feet ahead and facing in a completely different direction. Lip reading isn’t an option. Have you ever known one who doesn’t?
And then they then get, well, testy when you say,
“Oh, sorry, honey. I couldn’t hear you. What did you say?”
So these days, I make sure to give the bride a box of Q-tips. And I tell them that once they are married, they will need to keep their ears very clean or their marriage will not last.
I’m only partly joking.
There is just something about guys that they think that they only need to say something once, and the entire world hears, comprehends and hangs on their every word. Whether it is, in fact, comprehensible or not.
My husband, my son, my brothers, they’re all like that. Male friends, too. Well, they’re probably former friends after that comment, but they still mumble. My co-workers may mumble like that too, but they hide their annoyance better.
There is just something about asking a guy to repeat something, to say it again, that makes them, ummmm, crabby. And just because, well, perhaps you were in another state when they said that thing you didn’t hear, well, it is entirely your fault that you just didn’t hear it.
Hence Q-tips for the bride-to-be. I think it is important for people to understand just what they’re getting into. And just opening a silly gift like that stops the stupid-ass bridal shower games and starts a conversation that lets the bride-to-be understand what she needs to be a good wife: bionic hearing. Surprisingly, no bride has yet run screaming from the room.
Actually, I wonder how many divorces do revolve around this irritation. I’m sure that in divorce court, this issue comes up all the time. And I’d bet it plays out differently depending on whether the judge is female or male.
When the husband stands before the judge and says:
“Your honor, she drove me crazy. She was always asking me to repeat myself. She said I mumbled.”
A female judge would respond:
“I’m sorry, Mr. Smith. I couldn’t understand what you said. Would you repeat that please?”
A male judge, alternatively, would respond:
“Divorce granted. Take it all, Smith. You’ve given her enough over the years. Leave her a box of Q-tips so she can clean out her ears so she can hear the next poor sod.”
So I figure it’s actually a kindness for me to warn brides-to-be of what’s ahead of them. Don’t you?
But come to think of it, I haven’t been invited to too many bridal showers lately. Maybe they’d prefer cotton balls.