My wife never tried to break up that old gang of mine, or put a stop to an occasional boys’ nights out. I was just never one of those beer commercial guys. You know, those arrested-development homies, still wearing their caps backward and high-fiving over Monday Night Football.
Well, maybe it was kinda like that, once upon a time. There were a few guys—quasi-nerds, mostly, but we did sorta fun stuff. Before the bonds of matrimony got tied and double-knotted. For all of us. After that, it was Life with the Wife. And Kids.
But for some husbands, apparently, bachelor shenanigans never end. The revolving poker night. Friday night at the sports bar.
For others, it’s a last-minute invite as they’re leaving work. Hey, a bunch of the guys are heading to Hooters to watch the Big Game (and the Jiggle Parade).
Not in a wife-led marriage, though. Not with the wife in firm control—of purse strings, hubbie’s schedule and to-do list. A night out with the boys, if permitted at all, will be ground-ruled and time-limited—and probably about as tame as my bachelor party (which my bride-to-be actually planned for me).
A female-led husband won’t be hanging twenties on the strip-club rail, or buying a round of drinks for the table. He won’t have the cash. And he’d better not use plastic, because it’s her account, and she’ll be scanning the statement at the end of the month, line by line. “Hooters? $58.50?”
In fact, some women take firm control even before the wedding. Like this one:
“My fiance’s house was full of stupid things. I told him I planned to have a better use of our money. Of course, he will have a daily allowance, and even a credit card for emergencies, but he will need to justify all expenses. I will control his schedule. He has already curfews and I spanked him today for not coming home right after playing golf and not calling me.”
“You will be in charge of the finances,” another woman advises a bride about-to-be. “You will make sure you do not end up with $300 dartboards and have your husband spend $100 on a night out with the boys."
Here are a couple more wives explaining how NOWTBs (Nights Out With the Boys) have become a thing of the past:
Wife No. 1: "Theoretically, my husband could go out for a drink with a friend after work, but he does not have the ability to pay his tab so he makes excuses and comes home. He is required home by a specific time every night anyway, but if he does want to go out with a friend he simply has to clear it with me first and provide me with adequate notice so that his chores can be rescheduled. Obviously he cannot make arrangements, on the spur of the moment, as he will not have the means to pay."
Wife No. 2, you'll see, actually authorizes occasional but carefully controlled NOWTBs: "My husband commutes on the train (second class) on a season ticket whereas his colleagues go first class or drive their flashy cars and go out partying after work. He’s considered henpecked but very occasionally I’ll authorize him to go with them for an hour or so and buy a round of drinks, just to maintain his status. Afterward I check his wallet and, of course, check his credit card statement at month end."
“My wife decides where I spend my time and who I associate with when away from her,” one tightly leashed husband confesses. “I know if I'm as much as five minutes late home from work I'd better have a good explanation. When I'm not near a phone I carry a cell phone with the power on. She can and has called to test me.”
Another husband was issued a pager by his wife. Whenever she paged him, he had exactly three minutes to call in—or else!
Pager or cell phone? Either will do, according to female supremacist Julie Wilson (some of whose online writings are available here). Ms. Wilson advises husbands to “keep a pager or cell phone [in the car] so you can be called at a moment’s notice.”
Yet another husband was actually given a pager for home use. “Every time she needs something, she’ll page me to get it for her if I’m not in the room.”
That leading light of the FLR movement, Lady Misato (of Real Women Don’t Do Housework), suggests that wives consider allowing their mates a night out with the boys as a reward for sufficiently meritorious service (estimable gifts given, chores diligently done, intimate services performed, etc.).
But husbands denied NOWTBs also benefit healthwise, as this husband realizes: ”My midweek couple of beers after work drinking is really a thing of the past, and I told her that I really liked what her having control was doing for my fitness.”
In FLR marriages, however, “girls nights out” seem to be frequent events, whether regularly scheduled or spur of the moment. And left-behind husbands are not to question these outings. Not where or when, not how long or with whom. “What?” is permitted, if it pertains to what chores she expects to have completed during her absence.
I kid you not. Au876 tells a tale on himself:
“[My wife] goes out a fair amount of nights. I was all excited about her coming home from work this evening. I had her favorite dinner simmering on the stove when she got home. After dinner she went to check her email while I cleaned up the kitchen. When she came down she put on her coat and started out the door, saying she was going out with a couple of her friends to a movie. She saw the disappointed look on my face. As she left, she told me not to wait up for her. Guess I better go iron her blouse and maybe find some surprise chore to complete that she will notice. One thing is for sure, I can't complain to her because that isn't allowed.”
Another husband amens: “My wife and her friends often have ladies night out where the husbands stay at home with the kids or clean the bathroom.”
One female supremacist goes a step farther, requiring her stay-at-home guy to help her prepare for her girls nights out. “I prefer to have him naked when he’s helping me get ready... It gives it just the right feeling.”
That’s one aspect of boys-night-out role reversal as practiced in female-led households. There’s another, equally intriguing.
Which I’ll leave for the next post.