A couple of my nieces on my wife's side got engaged for Christmas. They are certainly reasonable young women with a lot going for them, but it was pretty funny hearing them talk about the future as if they were entering Candyland with sweets falling from the trees.
Of course, I was there to help talk their husbands-to-be through the upcoming days.
"Do you like dish-pan hands?" I asked one groom to be. He just sort of shrugged. "All the things you used to love are soon to be memories."
"Oh no," the clueless bastard explained. "We do our own thing and we respect each other's need to break free every now and then."
I couldn't stop laughing.
"Have you considered how it will be when you're sleep-depraved, chasing kids around, and cleaning the house ten minutes before the Super Bowl is starting?"
"We've talked it all through," he said. "We have a plan to keep everything interesting. We get along great."
I decided he needed a little Jameson's to understand. I poured the shots as he got a dirty look from his fiancee.
"You shouldn't drink that," she said.
"And so it begins," I told him.
Yet I was right there with two minor pieces of advice for him. What's an uncle for?
"First off," I told him. "On the days when you can't stand the sight of her, and hopefully there won't be many, stay clear. Don't say something that will change the relationship, or make it difficult to crawl out of the hole. Just get quiet, let a couple of hours pass, and it'll go away."
He looked horrified.
"Does that happen a lot?" he asked.
"For me, hardly ever, but it's easier to apologize for beaing quiet then it is to say your sorry because you blamed her for something that you created in your own mind and let fester to the point where you misplaced your anger."
"Sounds like you're back-tracking and saying that it is your fault."
"It's always your fault!" I said. "Men are usually the one's who screw it up and start thinking crazy - the women stay level-headed and we resent them for that."
"Okay, walk away when you're absolutely fed up and deal with it when you're in love again. I got it. What's your second piece of advice?" he asked.
"If there's something that you hate doing and she asks you to do it, screw it up royally and she'll do it herself the next time, but you have to be sincere in that first attempt and pretend that you're worthless because you weren't able to pull it off. You get out of doing the job, and you get a little sympathy too because she just figures you're pathetic."
"That works?" he asked.
"I only changed about three diapers," I said. "The first one I got poop on the rug. The second one I pinned upside down, and the third one fell off the kid when he ran down the hall."
I hung my head and lamented that I was a failure and I got a kiss and a free pass for the next several years.
"That's good, I think I'm ready," he said.
Poor clueless bastard.
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