One week from today, on what happens to be my 32nd birthday (that’s February 20th for those looking to send me a gift), my first short story collection will be published in both e-book and print by Martian Lit. The collection (as I’ve mentioned) is titled Nagging Wives, Foolish Husbands, and features 24 stories that I’ve written over the past six years. Each story somehow revolves around a married couple. In most cases, the wives are nags and the husbands are fools (but you may see it the other way around!) It has been a long time in the making. Originally accepted almost two years ago, it was later retroactively rejected because the publisher feared it might be taken as misogynistic. Now, I personally don’t believe there is any misogyny involved. If anything, it is the men in this book who take the brunt of the narrative criticism.
To celebrate its release, I want to share some of my personal experiences as a married man.
First, I need to confess that I am mostly not an idiot when it comes to being a husband. Yes, I have some flaws. But I don’t leave the toilet seat up, I put the dishes away, and I don’t sit on the couch and order my woman to fetch me a beer while I watch the big game with my buddies. Not that there is anything wrong with men who do. Well maybe there’s a little wrong.
Next, I will confess that I don’t have a delusional perception of my marriage. It’s not perfect, and my wife isn’t quite perfect either (and I’m glad, because perfection gets a little boring and would probably be impossible to deal with). But for the sake of my marriage, let me say I think she is as close as a woman can get.
Nonetheless, I want to thank my wife for her support and love. Seeing as how I am publishing a collection about how wives are nags, I think I owe this much to her (and probably a lot more). So, here are 24 reasons why my wife is the best (with some subtle references to the 24 stories in the collection along the way).
1. She was okay with the fact that I titled my collection of weird short fiction Nagging Wives, Foolish Husbands. She’s also very supportive of my writing career, unlike Mark Nipple’s wife who won’t support his desire to be in a Sex Pistols knockoff band. Not only is she supportive, but she doesn’t nag at all.
2. She’s gorgeous no matter what she’s doing or wearing. This may sound a tad cheesy and cliche, but I honestly think she’s the most beautiful woman in the world. Maybe it’s just the rose-colored goggles, but after over ten years together, there has to be some truth to the fact that every day, I find myself coming home to the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. She looks great even when she is grinding up meat in a food processor.
3. She values my opinions and asks for my input. She isn’t the type to run off and make a big decision without asking me first. Even when it comes to something that isn’t a big deal, she usually wants to discuss it first.
4. She has a great sense of humor. I must admit that there was a time back when I was much younger when I didn’t think women were particularly funny. However, my wife has the ability to make me burst with laughter at almost any moment. I laugh more with her than I do with anyone else.
5. She’s savvy with money. She doesn’t blow $200 on a pair of pants or buy a new pair of $150 shoes every week. In fact, her credit score is even slightly better than mine (which is really high!).
6. She’s super smart. Yeah, she went to the college that was recently declared the school with the smartest students. Aside from that, she can carry on intelligent conversations with ease.
7. She lets me make my own decisions. If I want to do something crazy, like drive 1000 miles round trip in two days by myself to see my former high school cross country team race, she doesn’t tell me that I can’t. And when I get home, she doesn’t hold it against me, even if she didn’t really want me to go.
8. She tells the truth. If she thinks I’m about to do something stupid—like take up smoking just so I can quit—she’ll tell me. At the same time, if it’s something stupid that I really want to do, then she’ll support me.
9. She makes me look and feel better, without trying (too hard) to change me. If not for her, my wardrobe would be nothing but khaki cargo pants and ratty t-shirts that fit poorly. Since being with her, I look better (and care more about myself). I feel better too. At some point in everyone’s life, college photos become embarrassing. I feel like I’m a bit too young to already have that experience. But now I look good, and it’s mostly because of her. And, as long as I don’t look like a fool, she doesn’t tell me to go change my clothes.
10. She’s a great mother and makes me a better father. It’s a joy to watch her interact with our daughter. I think she’d be a great mom even if our child had been a boot.
11. She’s not a stereotype. Yes, she loves romantic comedies, but she isn’t some cookie cutter mold of any type of girl.
12. She expresses her opinion (even if I don’t like it). She hates Alice in Chains. Rage Against the Machine makes her want to die. And Sigur Rós, one of my all-time favorite bands, sounds like dying cats to her. Strangely, her opinion makes me love her more.
13. She makes delicious desserts. The kind that make me want to keep eating until I’m super fat.
14. She’s not the same as me. We have different tastes, which means she can introduce me to new things. Of course, we want a lot of the same things as well, which makes things like buying a house relatively easy.
15. She’s cool with my record collecting hobby, which isn’t really the cheapest hobby.
16. She does things for me, even when I’m gone. She even waited in line on Record Store Day to pick up limited edition vinyl for me while I was at a track meet.
17. She’s humble. She doesn’t have any air about her that suggests that she thinks she’s better than me.
18. She’s adorable. Yes, it’s different from being gorgeous. She says the cutest things and makes the cutest expressions. Just little things that make me smile and make me melt even though I’m too old (and maybe too crusty) to melt.
19. She wasn’t one of those crazy pregnant women who ordered me to wash two pairs of underwear early on a Saturday morning when there was a wildebeest in the laundry room.
20. She is incredibly compassionate and takes care of me no matter what. If I lost my balls, she’d help me get them back (I naturally hope we don’t have to tackle that issue).
21. She knows how to read me and respects the mood I’m in. When I’m stressed she helps me out, even if it’s inconvenient or if I am overreacting. If I’m worried that part of my body is expanding into a horse-sized appendage, she’s going to help me by preparing rabbit food in hamster-size portions.
22. She’s incredibly talented. Besides those great desserts, she can make tons of cool crafty things. She’s also quite the athlete. She was a stud runner in college, and faster than me, for awhile at least. But I caught up. And it’s no small feat to be faster than me. I mean, I am the former world record holder for the fastest backwards mile while juggling. Speaking of, she supported me when I had the goal to set the record, even if it was a bit silly.
23. She’s someone I can trust, and she trusts me in return. We don’t go around snooping in each other’s phones or email. And we don’t go around lying to each other either. I don’t have to worry that she is going to fall in love with a blade of grass (or some studly rock star) and she knows I’m not going to run off with a giant squid (or a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model).
24. She’s the type of person I still want to be with when I’m old and wrinkly and gross and we have nothing better to do than sit around and pick food from our dentures and watch the news. Have I mentioned yet how much I love this woman?
Some might ask, “Well, if your wife is so perfect, what exactly inspired you to write these stories and put them together in a collection to call extra attention to the fact that wives nag and husbands are idiots?”
Excellent question, my friends!
Maybe I wanted to examine what was missing in modern marriage. You know, what it looks like on the other side of the fence (in our case, where the grass is browner). I constantly hear stories about wives who do nothing but nag their husbands who are bumbling buffoons. I wondered what that would be like; through surreal experiences, of course.
Or maybe I just wrote a bunch of stories that coincidentally happened to have wives who nagged and husbands who were fools, because just how entertaining would it be if a completely normal husband and wife gave birth to a boot or dealt with stolen testicles?
Whatever the reason, this humble collection is yours to enjoy. You can use it to evaluate your marriage, or you can use it to make yourself feel better about your own nagging wife or your own foolish husband. Or maybe it will make you glad that you never married, or glad you got a divorce, or glad your husband died in that tragic pornographic parachute accident.
Or just enjoy it for the fun and zany literature that it is. Spoiler Alert: Just be aware that every story in the collection has something deeper at stake than simply a kooky adventure.
And there might even be a sweet surprise at the end for all you hopeless romantics out there.
The only question left is: When does the movie version come out?