It’s 8:15am, and I am the only male shopper at Target. Inside my cart is a bottle of Pinot Grigio, a 36-pack of Tampax Pearls, a tube of St. Ives Apricot Scrub and three packs of Purex Complete 3-in-1 because, you know, it was on sale. I am wearing the same shirt I slept in. Also a hat.
The remaining load of laundry in the dryer will be folded upon my return home, at which time I may or may not catch up last week’s episodes of The Young & The Restless. Apparently Chance isn’t dead, but now has to go into witness protection to shield him from the rest of the dirty cops in Genoa City, but there are others that want to take him down…I’m sorry, what was I talking about?
Anyways, if my soap hasn’t finished by the time I’m done folding laundry, I will do 100 push-ups and 300 various crunches, which may or may not be a subconscious way of counterbalancing the fact that I am, of my own volition, watching a soap opera. The house has already been dusted. I did that yesterday, along with a deep clean of the master shower and two of the three toilets. If I go for a run, chances are I will not walk the dog. If I walk the dog, chances are I will not go for a run. I know, I know. I’ve thought about that already.
At some point I will post an interview on my blog that I did with Coldcut’s Matt Black while I listen to new albums by Badly Drawn Boy (sad), Eskmo (awesome) and the Black Crowes (predictable). I will refresh my online portfolio and accept a few LinkedIn connections. I will IM. I will find my dog, napping in a sunbeam somewhere, and annoy the shit out of her for 5 minutes. I will savor every last drop of my cappuccino. At the height of my caffeine buzz, I will contemplate organizing something in the house that more than likely does not need to be organized — at least not right now.
I will wave at the moms I know, which is to say I will do a lot of waving. I used to do a lot of talking, but if you’ve ever been in my position, you know why that’s a bad idea.
There are a few things that need to be shipped before I pick my son up from school, where I will try to have patience with the people that insist on parking in the roundabout and blocking the flow of traffic into and out of the lot, even though there are dozens of empty spaces just a few yards away, down a one-way alley. I will wave at the moms I know, which is to say I will do a lot of waving. I used to do a lot of talking, but if you’ve ever been in my position, you know why that’s a bad idea.
I will talk to my son about his day, even though I know it was probably fine. I will try to be wise. I will recommend discourse for scenarios where an older kid is picking on him. Should discourse fail, I will recommend self-defense. I am not in favor of starting fights, but I am strongly in favor of finishing them.
When my wife gets home, I will inform her that the gardener has been paid, the checks have been deposited, that the neighbors still have not turned off their outside light, and that I picked up those things for her and they’re under the sink in the bathroom. I will also tell her that I love her and ask about her day, even though I know it probably sucked, at which point I will offer her a glass of Pinot Grigio.
Tonight’s dinner is a chicken and andouille étouffée. I will be ordering the white rice from the Thai place down the street because, for some reason or another, rice is much harder for me to cook than a chicken and andouille étouffée. I do not consider this a problem. I will be disapointed if it doesn’t turn out perfect, and I will constantly ask for validation on my culinary skills. (I am a Leo with an Aquarius moon, deal with it.) I will have a beer. I will eat too fast. I will make my wife do the dishes, even though she’s happy to do them anyways.
This is my life, give or take a few deadlines or changes to the menu. I constantly worry about the pressure my wife feels being the primary breadwinner in the family, even though she reassures me that what I do on the day to day is priceless and indispensable. And though I freelance and pull in money, I am, essentially, a stay-at-home dad.
Do I ever feel “womanly?” No. Does a woman who works a 9-5 at a Fortune 500 company feel more “manly?” Probably not. I am satisfied and self-assured. I am happy that my son doesn’t have to go to daycare after school. My dog doesn’t have to spend all day licking herself alone. She can do it in front of me.
I am the Man of the House, which I’ve learned has less to do with any predetermined dollar amount and more to do with making sure the homework is done, the milk is fresh, and the dry cleaning has been picked up. But…at some point I should probably get out of this shirt.