Even now, with my golden years in sight, I still yearn to achieve some goals left over from boyhood and teenage years. Oh, I’ve given up on running a 5-minute mile or bench pressing 300 pounds. But I still have designs on someday cruising the Danube from Vienna to Varna, on the Black Sea, and maybe learning enough Homeric Greek to work my way through the Odyssey in the original.
Near the top of this long-running resolve list is an item I should have accomplished decades ago, back when I pledged my heart to the girl who would rule my heart for the rest of my life:
Resolved: to be a better and more attentive escort to my wife.
Embarrassing Confession: Despite this sincere resolve, I too often neglect my wife at cocktail parties, wedding receptions, and similar social functions. There I stand, doping off, unaware that her wineglass is empty or that the waiter just forgot to serve her dessert.
Or maybe I just forget to pull out her chair or remove her coat or wrap. And, yikes, did I just say the wrong thing to the wrong person, or forget a name and face I should darned well know? Yep, and now my wife is having to rescue me again from appearing like a social ignoramus.
This is unacceptable behavior for any husband, let alone one who professes to worship, adore and serve his better half. By now I should be like Au876, a paragon of chivalry according to his years-ago postings on Lady Misato’s Wife Worship Forum:
“Showing Your Worship of Her in Public: I have been trying to make an example of our marriage in the presence of other couples by the way I treat my wife. Treat her like she is the most important and most special person in the world (after all, she is). Your wife will glow in that and appreciate the way you behave in front of her or your friends. There is a tendency among men to put down their wife in public. The exact opposite should be the case.”
Obviously, I need help. So I’ve been collecting some do's and don’ts from Au and other attentive husbands, like this:
“You will want to find out how she will expect you to comport yourself in public. She will likely expect you to open doors for her, stand when she enters a room, light her cigarette, and perform other acts of chivalry. She may have different protocols for you depending on where you are and with whom.
“When we are together I give her my undivided attention and I am usually always at her side and prepared to do her bidding. She prefers I stay silent unless spoken to.”
Is that excessive deference on the part of a husband? Well, how I wish I’d observed those strictures at a recent function. I actually interrupted my wife when she was talking to a woman across our table. She turned at looked at me in incredulity and annoyance, then snapped, “I’m talking, don’t interrupt.” I stammered back: “I just wanted to ask if you wanted another glass of wine.”
See, even when I’m trying to be chivalrous, I klutz it up!
But some guys get it, like the husband who called himself “Mr. Lisa” on the old Spouseclub message board (several years defunct):
“My job at the party will to remain at [my mother-in-law’s] side as her personal waiter for the afternoon/evening. Lisa thinks this will be a good experience for me, and that it should not be humiliating to me to have to serve in this manner, and I guess it isn't really.”
But no spouse, I think, gets it better than Fdhousehusband, who describes the instructions he was given by his executive wife when he escorted her to a corporate event:
"’I hate carrying a purse to these functions. Put these in your pockets.’ i dutifully found a place in my pockets for Her cell and all Her other odds and ends. ‘you will be my walking purse tonight. I want you close by in case i need anything, understand? Stay at my side, smile and look charming… your job tonight is to convince them that you are the perfect supporting spouse whose job it is to take care of My house and My kids so that I can focus on my job 100%.’"
Which is just what he did: “[As] She worked the room. i stayed at Her right elbow, slightly behind Her, just where Her purse would be. my pockets were bulging with Her stuff and i found myself getting hard at the thought of being nothing more than Her purse tonight. i fetched Her drinks and hors d'oeuvres and remained at Her beck and call all night.”
If you can locate any transcripts from the old Spousechat message board, you will be delighted to read the voluminous postings of Ms. Lynda, a dynamic young woman who launched herself into an upwardly mobile executive job right out of college, taking her boyfriend along for the ride, marrying him and turning him into a full-time “subordinate and submissive” househusband, whom she referred to as “Mr. Lynda”:
“Just as some men enjoy the public adoration of their wives, I think I will enjoy the very public adoration of Mr. Lynda when it becomes even more popular to do so… As people become more comfortable with our life, it would be nice to have Mr. Lynda admit in public that it is my earnings that supply our lifestyle, that I am the boss at home, and that he enjoys being a corporate spouse.”
On another FLR blogsite I found among the “10 golden rules” of proper gentlemanly behaviour one that I should absolutely commit to memory:
“You make sure that no woman remains with an empty glass! It is your duty to always keep an eye on it and ask a lady politely if she would like a refill or something else.”
“You do not eat in presence of women unless every woman has been served some food and is eating."
There are many more chivalric rules in the same vein, followed by this summation:
“Gentlemanly behaviour in a man for me has to express and radiate his genuine respect for womanhood. Just think of the good old days when a proper gentleman was throwing himself in the dirt so a lady could walk over him without getting her feet and shoes dirty!
“I told my darling that in his presence a woman should never have to do menial tasks such as carrying stuff (other than her handbag ), cleaning up dirt, fetch things etc.! All those things are his duty! Furthermore I expect him to do those duties with eagerness, thus expressing that he considers it a privilege just to be allowed to be in our presence!”
Amen! I mean, Ah, Women!