Perfect husband, or sociopathic hug robot? Hard to tell, sometimes. Hard to tell.
We all want a husband, don't we? Lovely husband, to give us lovely hugs. Nice man in a suit to bake lasagnes for. Our husband will come home to us, and give us a sexless kiss on the cheek, and will ask us how are days are, and we will say: fine. Then he will sit in his chair in silence nursing a whiskey, and eat our lovingly prepared food in silence, and then watch television for five consecutive hours, and then bed. Husbands, lovely husbands. Lovely, lovely, marriage. That is the dream. Thousands-years-old pointless institution between two humans, bonded together in chugging misery. Let's all get married. To a husband.
Anyway when you're picking a husband out next there is a list – a little ticklist, little husband ticklist – courtesy of FamilyShare writer Rachel De Castro. On one hand: lists are a useful resource. On the other hand: I think if you paint a man in the shadows of what this list projects, if you imagine a human male who does not tick any of these 15 boxes, then essentially you have a robotic sociopath who pauses just a beat too long before he ever laughs. So there's something quite dark, there: that the minimum requirement for a successful husband is essentially "someone who washes up sometimes" and "remembers you like Maltesers", and that anyone who fits those two requirements is a good halfway towards being an ideal man, and there isn't much hope in that idea, not a lot of self-love. But then also: a good husband is hard to find! So let's dive in:
1. He trusts you
He doesn't doubt your actions.
Husband 101. Gotta trust your fundamental actions. Got to trust every single thing you do. Husband? They should rename them trustbands. Because they trust so much.
2. He is loyal to you
He has nothing to hide. You have access to everything in his life and know what he does.
Well hmm because there's 'having nothing to hide' and there's 'not letting you have access to my e-mail because from there you can find my darkest secrets, i.e. just how many eBay alerts I have set up for trainers, exactly how many e-mails I send myself every day, just how many Uber receipts I have and thus just how many Ubers I take'. Listen I'm all for trust but every relationship has to have a little bit of mystery, otherwise the closest movie analogy for your love is 'that time Leonardo DiCaprio climbed into a dead horse'.
3. He knows your tastes
He knows your favourite chocolate, the kind of movies you like to watch and your hobbies.
"Hey, where you been?"
"Squash. I've been playing squash."
"I didn't know you played squash."
"I've played squash every Thursday for eight years."
"We met at a squash convention."
"I don't recall that."
4. He gives you some time to yourself
If you want to go out with your friends, get a haircut or watch a movie alone, he doesn't care. He knows that sometimes you just need some alone time.
Always good when a husband allows you the freedom to perform basic human tasks and doesn't just cling to your back and spin like a limpet, like a rucksack made of flesh, pawing at you for milk when you go to the cinema with your friends, mewling at your feet whenever you get a haircut, running you a long bath and then just bobbing in it, staring intently, naked and hairless, scrunched up like a ball, whispering, "I don't wike to be awone".
5. He remembers holidays
He knows and prepares something special for the holidays that are important to you.
"You alright, John?"
"Said: you alright? You forgotten anything?"
"Oh— I've done it again, haven't I?"
"Which one is it?"
You are in a room with frosted windows, a room with a pine tree. Mulled wine warms the air with clove aromas. Stockings hang around the fireplace. An entire family sits in silence and eats turkey.
"It's Christmas, isn't it?"
"Ah, fucking hell. Fucking hell. Only I've told the boys I'd go and meet them for 5-a-si—"
"No, it's... it's fine. We'll do Christmas instead tomorrow. It's fine."
6. He helps you be better
He does not accept any self-hate talk you throw at yourself. Instead, he helps you build confidence and encourages you to get up when you're discouraged.
So essentially your husband has to be a partner, a father, and also a sassy sidekick in a 90-minute romcom who works at your office but doesn't work, exactly – sits opposite you filing his nails and occasionally zinging out bon mots and rolling his eyes when the guy from accounts tries to clumsily flirt with you, but no actual spreadsheets – and then when you crash and fall, at your lowest lull, when the romance with the man of your dreams briefly concludes at about minute 70, when you are on your arse and on the floor, he picks you up, dusts you up, calls you "girlfriend" a lot, and makes you go to the gym, get a promotion, and have an abrupt face-changing haircut all in the space of one montage. At your eventual wedding he sobs hugely and throws confetti, and is also your Maid of Honour.
7. He laughs at your jokes
... even when they are not funny.
I don't do this because: why encourage failure? But also: if you tell your husband a shit joke and he laughs at it, and then you go to work and tell the same joke and they find it so unfunny they fire you – they march you to HR and ask you for one of those boxes so they can immediately pack up your shit – then whose fault is that? The husband, for lying? Or you, for creating a situation where he can only laugh at your jokes, never question or judge them, the only outcome is positive, there is no failure, only success. Nah. No. Nah. You live in a fantasy world, man.
8. He believes you
He knows you'll be honest with him.
This is probably some wider breathless self-helpy point about trust and encouragement and relationships and mutual faith in one another but it can also very much be just about an argument re: who ate the last KitKat out of the KitKat seven-pack which we got from Tesco in the big shop literally yesterday, Linda, I can't believe you've gone through seven KitKats in that time! I didn't even have one! You hid the wrappers!
9. He laughs with you
He makes you laugh and you have fun together.
This is like if they got those Facebook algorithms that write weird emotionless headlines to instead write your wedding vows.
10. He values your feelings
He always takes into account how you feel.
Again this feel like step 10 on some sort of off-brand Alcoholics Anonymous list – Alcoholic Atheist Anonymous, or something, where they've created a 12-step god-free program and run out of wind with it after about step three and so now they are just like "Step 7: do not take honey to airports" and "Step 8: tell people how atheists need churches too" and then by 10 they are like "respect feelings?" and you're so bored you just give up drinking as something new to do.
11. You feel loved by him
You just know you are the love of his life.
One of the best moments in the history of boxing was when Tyson Fury beat Wladimir Klitchko and then grabbed a microphone and sang 'I Don't Want To Miss A Thing' to his wife, Paris, and then right at then end shouted "LOVE YOU MY WIFE" at her in a way that suggests he isn't fully 100% sure of what her name is but with respect he's just been punched in the head loads and the words 'my wife' are probably a push at the moment, and so anyway here's the video, it's iconic:
Anyway: that's what it feels to be loved by your husband. That's what it feels like. It's intense, and I'm not sure I want it.
12. He makes your complicated life easier
He gives solutions and seeks to avoid conflicts.
Marry a Filofax, then. Marry a Gmail inbox. Fuck a Roomba.
13. He helps you with house work
He washes the dishes and takes care of the kids without you even asking.
It's good being a man sometimes because you get adulation for washing a plate without being asked to. It's fucking boss, actually. Sometimes I just wash a plate for the applause. It's brilliant. It's like: you know when a dog walks into a room of people, and everyone just goes mental? That's the normal reaction to me washing a fork. It's great.
14. He consoles you when you're sad
He doesn't like to see you upset and does everything he can to make you feel better.
SCENE: YOU ARE SAD, POSSIBLY CRYING
HUSBAND: [PATTING BACK] There, there
YOU: Thank you, perfect husband
15. He adores your smile
He tries to see your smile every day.
What freaks me out about this sentence I suppose is the word "tries" in there, which sort of cracks all context away – on one hand it could be 'he tried to make you smile every day, so he can see that cute smile of yours, so your sunbeam can become his' but also it's very 'your husband is sat in his car with an empty two-litre Evian bottle to piss in, a bag of sandwiches to eat, and some binoculars, and he is parked 400 yards from your workplace and he will see you smile today, so help him god, he will not leave this spot until he sees you smile, by any means necessary', and listen: we all love in different ways.
I suppose the conclusion here is the same as that Glamour article on how to make men love you: that everyone is different, that there is no default template for the perfect relationship, and that also maybe you should expect a bit more out of life if you think going at a cheese grater with a scouring pad is worthy of your eternal love and marriage. Are we all, not, worthy of a little bit more than that? Well, no, not everyone. Some real shits out there, and someone has to end up with them. Piers Morgan has been married twice, for fuck's sake. But most of us: most of us, at least, are worth more than that.
(Top photo via peteandcharlotte)
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