This weekend my wife asked me to do something that crossed all lines of decency. Jo wanted just too much. The result has been pretty tense, I can’t lie.
I’ve said before how we husbands have to put up with quite a lot, and mostly we ‘Man-up’ and get on with it, it’s not like we get a choice is it? However, on occasion you ladies cross the line.
I was tasked to go and do the weekly grocery shop.
That’s not the issue.
Due to my apparent lack of ability to buy the right things and spend within 20% of the actual budget I was given, Jo provided me with a list. I said in that same post highlighted above, about the pressure of being sent out without a list to do the shopping, how difficult it is to use male initiative to correctly work out what a female thinks you need, well this was not a problem on Sunday. On Sunday I was given a list.
The list was the problem.
Or rather what was on it.
I had been in the store for approximately two hours and had thus far managed to navigate my way through the fruit and the vegetables. I was on target to beat my record of six hours for the whole shop, so I was feeling quite good. After slowly working my way along a couple of aisles, smiling at myself for thinking of a few things that Jo had forgotten to put on the list, such as crisps, bacon, eggs, burgers, Formula 1 magazine and chilli sauce, I glanced at the list and everything came to a crashing stop.
There it was, clear as day, the most heinous request a wife can demand of her man. The music in the store stopped and the other shoppers came to a standstill as my scream echoed around the shelves. An old gentleman looked over my shoulder at the list, patted me on the shoulder, shook his head in disgust and muttered, “We should have never given them the bloody vote…”
Jo wanted some equipment. Some special equipment. Every now and again Jo gets a bit of a fancy on for these things. She will go crazy for them and have them all over the bathroom and crammed into her handbag for about a week. Suddenly, as fast as the craving had started, it will be over and she will completely stop using them for a few weeks. I dread this particular craving because something about using them makes her a little cranky. For some reason she can be pretty unreasonable during her addiction. It’s only when she gets back in control and gets herself clean that her mood will return to normal, right up until she falls off the wagon the following month and it all starts again. I really do think that doctors and the government should be looking into this further. They openly sell these things in all the major supermarkets – no warnings or anything. No control on how many you are allowed to buy at a time either. Something should be done about this because it clearly isn’t just Jo that suffers from this hideous addiction.
There it was on the list. Right there taunting me. Not only was I going to have to go and stand surrounded by the miserable, unreasonable women that you always find in that particular section of the store, but I had to actually work out EXACTLY which ones Jo wanted, because she had been quite generic with her request, giving only their brand name and men be warned – there are different types, many different types. I knew straight away by the sheer fact that they had been requested, that trouble was brewing at home, I was going to be shouted at when I got home for something. I realised I would have to pick up my pace a bit and get the shopping done really fast.
So I did the dance that all men in my position do, the “I’m not buying Tampax” dance. It basically consists of walking back and forth by the ‘periods, incontinence and post natal’ section of the aisle (clearly labelled as such to make things easier), pretending not to be buying anything. I studied the tissues near by while slyly trying to look through the corner of my eye at the unmentionables. It is imperative that no one sees you buying these things, it doesn’t matter if bystanders are male or female, the damned things need to go in the trolley unobserved – these are not my rules, they are THE rules. At one point I realised that the tissue box I was pretending to look at, was in fact a box of breast pads and in my panic to put them back I managed to knock over a breast pump and Tena Lady display case. I ran. You have never seen a trolley move so fast. As I motored away my arm came out and grabbed a box that vaguely looked like it contained the right things.
The rest of the shop was done in a blur, I felt slightly ill at the thought of the period monster that could be sitting at home waiting for me. I checked and double checked that I had everything that was on the list. I carefully removed any extra additions that I had recklessly added through my own initiative and re counted. Yes, everything was as per the list – EXACTLY.
Then something amazing happened, one of those wonderful moments of humanity that reminds you how kind people can be. At the till, everything was going through and I was frantically packing as usual, but maybe with a slightly more frightened look on my face. The lady at the till swiped the offending box and stopped. This amazingly perceptive woman looked at me, winked, pointed to the ‘special offer’ flowers in front of her till, “trust me” she said, as she lent forward, picked up a bunch and put them on the conveyor belt. Every little helps – as they say, good old Tesco.
I got home and before the boot of the car was empty I had learned that I had taken too long, forgotten to use the ‘bags-for-life’, and forgotten the eggs that Jo had mentioned to me as I got into the car but weren’t on the list. Apparently these three things together proved that I didn’t love or respect her. I had, it seems, done it on purpose in order to prove something.
I produced the flowers.
Something incredible happened.
Jo shut up.
“Thanks” she said and disappeared to put them in a vase. The house went quiet. It was a miracle. I unpacked the shopping without any further comments. A smile spread over my face – thank you Tesco lady, your uncanny understanding of the hostile conditions that I face every month saved the day; I am in your debt. Shortly after finishing the unpacking, Jo came over and gave me a hug of gratitude and shared a moment of warmth with me. I was her hero – this felt amazing.
Half an hour later, as Jo headed upstairs carrying the last ‘special’ unopened bag…
“WHAT THE F**K ARE THESE SUPPOSED TO BE?”