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Decoding Men

April Men's Room

My cousin just got engaged. I’m happy for him, but as a guy who’s been married and divorced, I feel like I should offer some insider information. Not to him. This column is for his fiancée and all the first-time brides about to commit to living with a man for the rest of their mortal days.

Here’s a few secrets about men that most women don’t learn until long after their wedding vows:

• Your husband will spend money in ways that mystify you. Your husband will refuse to spend money in ways that will mystify you. One day, he’ll balk at forking over ten bucks a day for rental car insurance, and the next, he’ll put a riding mower on your credit card despite your yard being roughly the size of a handball court.

• Men actually like chick flicks. They’re just too embarrassed to admit it. Give your husband an ultimatum, so when his friends ask why he’s humming the score from The Notebook, he can say, “It was either that or clean the gutters.” His buddies will nod at his wise choice.

• Your husband’s fashion sense will freeze the moment he says, “I do.” Regardless of the hip clothes you gift him or how his style clashes with models in GQ, you’ll be stuck for life with a man with the same fashion sense he had at your rehearsal dinner.

• Social science reveals that married men talk for one reason: to be right. If a man is losing an argument to his wife, he will resort to one of three options: overwhelm her with inaccurate statistics and misremembered and/or misattributed quotations, rapidly change the subject, or clam up and seethe.

• Be prepared for Tuesday night. On Tuesday nights, your husband will get together with his Dungeons & Dragons buddies or brew beer in the basement with Dave and Carl or play bass with Raging Nectar, his grunge band from college. Tuesday night will be sacred to your husband. Interfere with Tuesday night at your peril.

• Men are creatures of habit. Your husband will find a restaurant he likes and a meal he reliably enjoys there. When you suggest trying a hip new spot instead, he’ll act like you’ve proposed playing highstakes poker with the kids’ college fund. Do yourself a favor and save that trendy cafe for girls’ night out.

• Your husband will try to turn you into his own personal Siri. Think it’s a coincidence that artificially intelligent voice-activated services have women’s names like Siri and Alexa? Men have been yelling random questions and requests at their wives from two rooms away since marriage became a thing.

Please don’t misread my intentions. Knowing these secrets won’t inoculate your marriage against these husband flaws.

You’re gonna be stuck for life with the guy just like he is on your wedding day. But, you can lower your expectations, however. And, while lowering your expectations may seem like a cop-out at the moment, you may soon find that it just could be the secret to marital bliss.

Dylan Patterson is a writer and filmmaker who teaches English at Cape Fear Community College. 

To view more of illustrator Mark Weber’s work, go to www.markweberart.blogspot.com.

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