Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bedtime Stories

Let me tell you about a good friend of mine who married a gorgeous blonde. A Candy Bergen/Catherine Deneuve-class blonde, I kid you not. He was a compulsive late-night person, while she went to bed early. I told him, right after the honeymoon, that he should change his ways, pronto. I mean, a no-brainer, right?

But he never did, and the marriage unraveled. There were plenty of other persuasive reasons cited, but I always wondered what would have happened if my friend had just made it a policy to put down his post-adolescent toys whenever his bride was ready for bed and gone to play with her instead.

Many years later I finally got hitched… and forgot my advice. Not always, but too frequently I would stay up after she retired, playing with the computer or watching sports.

Then I discovered wife worship—just in time, thank God! And there I discovered my old bedtime dictum emblazoned as one of the cardinal rules. In fact, I have yet to come across an example cited by any female-led couple where it is otherwise.

Here is a typical example of the benefits of synchronized bedtimes, from a recent Internet friend who shares the wife-worship lifestyle:

“One of the things I did before with my obsessive hobby was stay up way too late after [my wife] went to bed. Since our reconciliation, I make a point of going to bed at the same time as her. When we go upstairs, while she is in the bathroom, I will turn over the bedcovers and fluff up her pillow. This past week, I have made a point of leaving a small Peppermint Patty on the pillow. When she comes in the room, if she is not already changed for bed, I help her change. I help pull off her jeans and panties, unhook her bra, and fold her clothes neatly over the chair. I help her into her nightie. When we get into bed, I usually offer her a backrub.”

And we fade out…

Bedtime for Bonzo

Why doesn’t every husband follow this recipe for nocturnal togetherness? Granted, it isn’t easy to change longtime biorhythmic patterns. Often, it seems, it takes a resolute wife to takes matters into her own hands and imposes a curfew on a time-philandering husband.

fdhousehusband (who, alas, is on extended vacation from his own FLR blog, Her househusband’s life) is fortunate enough to belong to just such a wife:

“i was always a night person before i became Her househusband, but after a while i began to be in sync with my morning person Wife. She requires that i go to bed before 11:00 pm (‘my curfew,’ She calls it) and that helps me wake up without an alarm clock. i don't drink coffee as She forbids me from having caffeine. (‘You don't need caffeine to motivate you, that is My job,’ She says)."

Here’s another guy taken in hand by his wife: “My wife began dictating that i would no longer stay up watching tv but would go to bed when she went to bed and wake at a specified time, early to get ready for work, deal with the children, and get breakfast started.”

And another:

“Every night, I was required to go to bed at the same time as my wife, and stroke her body while she went to sleep. On about half of all nights she would become sexually excited while I stroked her skin and proceed to have orgasms, assisted by vibrators, or my oral or manual ministrations…”

My night-owl friend would certainly have profited from a take-charge wife like those, or this one: “I gave my husband a curfew for coming to bed nightly so that he wasn’t up all night watching sports or God knows what. Bedtime is either 10 or 10:30. He has different duties each night. Some nights it’s a massage, some nights he pleases me with oral sex. Some nights we just cuddle.”

Cuddle Time

Cuddling and footrubs are pretty much standard features of these romantic bedtime stories. I offer typical excerpts:

“My favorite part of the day is bedtime,” a husband explains, “when i massage her feet with lotion and kiss them and we talk about our day and, if I’m lucky, cuddle. This has become a nightly ritual that we both enjoy.”

“My wife and I go to bed together every night (unless she is out real late, in which case I am already in the bed). I make a point of this. I am never first (well hardly never) to go to bed. When she goes, I go. Then, after I rub her feet with lotion, almost always I cuddle with her and tell her how much I love and adore her. I do this for as long as she will allow.”

“My husband’s nightly routine begins by placing a glass of water beside the bed, turning down the sheets and waiting for me to arrive. Once I am in bed, he gives me a 10-15 minute foot rub to help me relax and get ready to sleep. I feel completely pampered and taken cared of, and my husband feels wonderful that he can serve me and worship me in this manner.”

“I am expected to prepare the Queen's bedroom for Her at bedtime, lighting candles, warming Her pajamas for Her, and choosing music to fit Her mood. I must request entry into Her bed, where I perform nightly massage and can be awakened at any time when She needs attention.”

“In a little while, i will rub Her feet before bedtime. (She alone will decide if I go right to sleep or if She wants sex tonight). i am very happy in our lifestyle.”

“When she's ready to go to bed, I go up with her and rub her back, legs and feet until she's asleep. She now expects me to do this, which makes me VERY happy, and says she can't go to sleep without it! When she falls asleep I go downstairs to do a few minor chores (fold more laundry, clean up the living areas, recharge her cell phone, whatever).”

“We both know that I'll be pampering her when we go to bed. Makes for a pretty nice life—for both of us.”

“When we go to bed at night i kiss Her feet and service Her orally if She wants. my sexual activity is totally under Her control and i am not allowed to touch myself without Her permission.”

“my Wife told me to come to bed. i rested the side of my head in Her left underarm and curled up beside Her. She hugged me with Her right arm and placed Her right leg over my hips. i placed my right hand on Her chest…”

Some take-charge wives assume an uncompromising tone in the matter of imposing curfews for hubby:

“From being a game,” one husband confides on a wife-led message board, “ it's now become the default that I get ready for bed when she chooses to, kneel by her bed to await instructions (sometimes she just wants to go straight to sleep but often she wants me to pleasure her.)”

This wife even utilizes the 24-hour military clock for scheduling her mate’s rising and setting: “Husband’s chores must be completed before curfew. He is required to be up no later that 0900 on the days he works the later shift and his days off.”

“My wife has drastically curtailed my television time,” a man writes, praising her firmness, “and assigns an early bedtime if my chores are done. It is her philosophy that any distractions in a man’s life must be removed in order for him to remain focused on his wife.”

“Gotta hurry,” another husband typed in a hasty bulletin board message, “I have only 3 minutes till bedtime.”

Isn’t it demeaning for a husband to be ordered to bed by his wife? Of course it is. And yet I can’t help thinking that many a failed marriage (like my friend’s) could have been saved by exactly such a no-nonsense maternally imposed regimen. More examples:

"’Time for bedtime, sweetie,’ my Wife said. ‘You have a busy day tomorrow.’"

“’Go to bed now,’ ordered my wife as I was completing my chores. ‘You must get up at 5 a.m. tomorrow morning to serve me breakfast in bed.’ A few minutes later, she joined me in bed.”

“After a bit more relaxing at her feet in front of the TV, my wife made me go to bed early, telling me that tomorrow would probably be a ‘big day for my little boy.’ This time, her words made me feel very little and very embarrassed.”

“My wife took to the female-led relationship big-time, making all the decisions, even telling me when I had to go to bed. Secretly I liked it, and I knew she could tell. I hardly put up any resistance.”

Some wives, in fact, use bedtime to review hubby’s daily performance, rather than wait for the Weekend Update, which was the subject of an earlier two-part posting:

“I keep a private journal. It is closer to a daily love letter to my wife. It is my one uncensored outlet for telling her how I am feeling and what I am thinking. She usually has me read it to her as part of our bedtime ritual. I get in trouble if I have no entry for that day.”

“I spent the next twenty minutes rubbing her feet. It excited the hell out of me. She could tell too. When I finished she said, ‘Well, I guess you have finished most of your chores for the day. Did you clean my tennis shoes?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Then you can go to bed now.’"

For yet other worshipped wives, sending hubby to bed early constitutes punishment for substandard performance:

“My husband neglected his chores the last two days. I have changed his bedtime to 8:15 pm until Monday.”

A husband who signs himself “Mr. Mary” writes: “For me, being made to go to bed early and not getting to watch a favorite program on TV is a punishment that can really put me in my place.”

Another husband amens: “The mildest form of punishment my wife would employ is something like being sent to bed early, which i don't enjoy because i always prefer to stay up past midnight. If i argue about it, then i am forced to go to bed early and switch the light out, so that i can't read in bed.”

Finally, just to sketch out the wide spectrum of bedtime behaviors in female-led relationships, here are a couple of matriarchal households in which hubby may find himself dismissed to bed in front of guests—demonstrating the wife’s complete authority over him:

The first one was posted under the name of “Charles” on the now-defunct Spousechat message board: “After dinner, I made coffee for [Lisa and her friends], they went into the living room and talked business for a while, while I cleaned up. After cleaning up, I went in and politely asked ‘Will there be anything else, ladies?’ Lisa's guests thanked me and replied no. Lisa said ‘No, that'll be all, but before you go to bed Charles, go through my closet and see if you can find that orange print skirt, you know the flowered one that I bought in St Croix last year? It'll probably need to be ironed but you can do that in the morning, just see if you can find it tonight, I want to wear it tomorrow.’ ‘Yes’ I replied and left the room…”

”Rebecca,” an unapologetic advocate of all-out matriarchy, offered wives this advice on her Yahoo! Group (“Happy Wives, Trained Husbands,” also long defunct):

“Bedtime is an excellent time for husband training. Controlling what time he goes to bed, where and how he sleeps, what he wears, is excellent training because he thinks about his situation all night in his subconscious. If it is done in front of a witness he cannot deny it and cannot pretend it did not happen. For example, you have another couple over for the evening. Say to your husband, ‘Dear, it's bedtime for you, go get ready and get in bed and I'll be in to check you in a few moments.’ He must obey and you have shown your authority.”

Better by far, guys, to just take the hint and go hand in hand with your beloved to dreamland.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I Get Letters

A blog reader named Steve asks, “One question that I have is that many women feel uncomfortable being put up on a pedestal. How does a man deal with this?”

Good question, Steve, and one I’m still wrestling with in my own wife-worship marriage. I tell you, it was a pretty awkward and non-sequitur moment when, after ten years of conventional marriage, I suddenly dragged that stubby, Corinthian-capped pedestal into the living room, placed a small utility ladder beside it and encouraged her to climb up and be worshipped as a domestic goddess.

My bride categorically rejected the notion of female superiority or female dominance. She is a very egalitarian person, and indeed is very proud of my accomplishments, such as they are. “Don’t be a sycophant!” she scolded me once, when I apparently was getting a bit too servile, carried away with a campaign of what is often called “stealth submissiveness.”

And we husbands, newly converted to the gospel of wife-worship, can go to extremes. As I wrote in my book (Chapter 5, “Pampering and Pitching In”), “Are we getting slightly carried away? Advocating a kind of chivalrous silliness—opening doors and standing when she enters a room? Traditional feminists routinely label such masculine behavior as infantilizing, even insulting.”

So I dragged that pedestal back out to the garage with the old cobwebbed exercise equipment. And I’ve learned in the decade since to curb my courtly impulses, not to throw my cloak over every encroaching mud puddle. I walk a fine line these days when it comes to catering to, or anticipating her wishes.

The trick is to do her bidding in a kind of macho, easygoing way. Call it the Moving Van guy, nodding when the lady of the house tells him where to set down the dresser he’s hefting and what to bring out of the van next, and where to put it.

If she sees me calmly alter my course, from whatever I’m doing in order to comply with her request, without the usual husbandly delaying tactics, she’ll eventually get the desired message – that she is controlling me. I am, in other words, her servant, and she certainly realizes now that she has only to express a wish and I comply. Just so long as I don’t act in what she regards as an unmanly way.

And that, I think, is what Lady Misato’s Queen-Knight metaphor is all about. Courtliness. Being milady’s champion, not her lackey. Milady’s knight in combat, her dragon-slayer in chief.

To quote a husband who put that paradigm into daily practice, “I believe this is why the Knight to Queen analogy is so popular. Although the knight is subordinate to his Queen, he is still expected to retain the traditional ‘manly-man’ role to her of providing strength, security, and protection.”

And, yes, there is a pedestal inherent in that Knight-Queen or Knight-Lady dynamic. He kneels before her, which does result in an incremental elevation of her status. Again, the trick is to ratchet up that elevation just a millimeter at a time, till eventually she’s up where she belongs, regally empedestaled.

Again to quote my book (Chapter 3, Perpetual Courtship”), “What wife can hold out against continuous, insidious courtship? How can she not be susceptible?”

As the oft-quoted (by me) Au876 put it, “…most if not all women love to be pampered, adored, worshipped and listened to.” So do all those ultra-romantic things, guys, but, you know, be a mensch, not a mouse.

Back to “Perpetual Courtship”: “If a marriage is to be a compelling and continuing love story—and that's the goal here—romance must be reinvented, with new romantic challenges thrown in the way of the suitor (lawful husband though he be).

“The truth is, perpetual courtship is not an artificial contrivance, a trick foisted upon credulous husbands. It is an arrangement in harmony with our own biological natures, male and female. And even if it wasn’t, who cares? It works!”

Friday, November 14, 2008

‘Boudoir Boys’

A poster on Fumika Misato’s original husbands’ forum playfully referred to fellow wife-worshippers who were trading tips on giving pedicures and such as “boudoir boys.” In that eccentric all-male aggregation, the apparent insult was intended, and taken, as high compliment.

I am reminded of the late George Sanders,* an English actor (actually of Russian birth) known for his “his suave, snobbish, and somewhat menacing air” (e.g., Addison DeWitt in All About Eve) and his celebrity marriage, back in the ‘50s, to Hungarian glamour queen Zsa Zsa Gabor (great aunt and prototype of Paris Hilton, another blonde famous mostly for being famous).

(* For younger readers, it was Sanders who supplied the languidly menacing voice of Kaa in Disney’s Jungle Book, performed at a single cold reading, as I was once informed.)

No boudoir boy, Sanders is said to have been terminally annoyed when he learned, after marrying the drop-dead gorgeous actress, just how many intensive hours she required at her vanity table prior to going out.

A wife-worshipping husband, I assure you, would yield such a magnificent creature as much time as she required. Indeed, he would request a ringside seat to observe the goddess at work. He might even seek to be a “part of the process,” as you will read.

As I wrote in Chapter 5 of my book, “Pampering and Pitching In,” “There are manly guys who draw their wife’s bath. Who shampoo her hair. Who loofah her skin and even shave her legs. Who give facials while she luxuriates in the suds. And who are ready with a warmed, fluffed towel to enfold her as she emerges, a dripping Venus, from the bath. Who are rewarded with the further privilege of drying and powder-puffing her skin, or massaging it with moisturizing creams. And who, later, lovingly brush her hair, the traditional hundred strokes.”

As one husband succinctly put it: “Through pampering my wife I am brought close to the center of the feminine mystery, intoxicated by it, overwhelmed by her.”

That’s about as far as you can get from the ‘50s-era stereotypical husband afraid of venturing into the estrogen-filled zone of milady’s boudoir. But a husband can turn, or be turned, rather quickly from one type husband into the other, according to a woman signing herself “Cindy B.” (in a letter to Elise Sutton’s Female Superiority website):

“A common male complaint is how long it takes their wives to get ready and how frustrated they become having to wait. Never mind the fact that we are making ourselves beautiful for them. The male nature is an impatient nature. What men need to realize is that most of us women don’t know for sure how long it’s going to take, so when we say it will be five minutes, a man should not take us so literally.

“What right does a man have to bitch about how long his goddess takes to make herself beautiful? My husband would develop an attitude when my five minutes at the makeup table turned into a half-hour and I had to rush. I always felt rushed. Now, thanks to female domination, I have rectified the situation…

“I will shower and dress in only bra and panties and call my husband into the bedroom. I put him across my lap and give him a sound spanking with my hairbrush. As I do this, I remind him that I am his goddess and that he is blessed to live with a goddess. I make him reaffirm his devotion to me and I ask me if he is going to wait patiently for me while I finish getting ready…

“By doing this I am teaching him patience. He is not permitted to watch television or get on the computer or talk on the phone. He has to sit in the chair and watch his goddess finish her hair, put on her makeup, get dressed, select her jewelry and try on different shoes. My husband is now part of the process, and I will ask him which shoes he likes the best…

“This routine has caused a real renewal in passion and romance.”

Another wife accomplished almost the same result, without recourse to her hairbrush, as this ardent husband testifies: “Saturday morning after she showered, she called me in and said, ‘You may watch me put on makeup and blow dry my hair if you wish.’ I do love that, I have always stolen glances just to watch her do that! To me, a woman doing that is so feminine, erotic and powerful.”

Both these guys are mainly there as idolators and voyeurs, though Cindy B does consult her husband’s opinion on various apparel items. But some husbands are privileged to take a much more active part in “the process”:

“My wife came into the bedroom and sat at her dressing table to apply her makeup. She was wearing a silk robe that I had hung in the bathroom that morning. As she applied her makeup, she noticed that there was a chip in the polish on one of her toes. ‘I don't have time for a pedicure now, but fix that chip for me while I finished my makeup.’ I found the polish and first cleaned the old polish from that one toe and then applied a new color and topcoat. And then I remained at her feet…”

“Do you have your husband give you a manicure and pedicure?” one matriarchal wife advises another, new to the lifestyle. “Does he blow dry your nails with his breath? Have you sent him to beauty school so he is at least as good as the local beautician? Do you have him run your bath, bathe you, and shave your legs? Does he warm your towels for your exit from your bathe? Do you have him clean your makeup brushes and jewelry? Hand-launder your hosiery, panties and lingerie? Keep your clothes closet in order?”

Sending hubby to beauty school idea may seem, at first blush, far-fetched, but from the message board and newsgroup postings I’ve collected over the years, it seems a not uncommon occurrence.

The cosmetic arts, in fact, constitute only part of the domestic curriculum in which men are being enrolled by enterprising wives. “I have had my husband take classes in skin care, beauty and make-up, and cooking,” a wife confides to Elise Sutton, “all to make his personal services better and more to my liking. He now does my nails, takes care of my hair, and does my make-up each morning.”

Katherine West, a female supremacist who blogs intermittently at Loving Female Authority, took charge of her hubby’s boudoir training herself: “First he learned to bathe me, shave my legs, and paint my toe and fingernails. Next I started teaching him how to apply my makeup and brush my hair. I allowed him to trim and shape my pubic nest. He took to his new submissive role like a duck to water.”

Other anxious-to-please husbands use magazines to acquire their skill set in the feminine arts, like this enterprising individual:

“I canceled my subscriptions to Field and Stream and Sports Illustrated and replaced them with Cosmo and Glamour. I've learned about makeup, fashion, and hairstyles and patiently accompany my wife as she shops for pretty clothes, helping her pick out sexy lingerie, dresses, and heels…”

And, within the pseudonymous sanctuary of online FLR sites, these guys like to vie for bragging rites about which one performs the most intimate services for his queen. Some provocative examples:

“Beauty care for my wife includes getting and giving bath, brushing hair, doing makeup and nails, laying out and assisting in dressing her.”

“My Mistress requires me to massage her feet, paint her toenails and shave her legs. Occasionally she has me bathe her.”

“As she sits at her dressing table blow-drying her hair, I start to massage body cream into her shoulders and back. I'll then drop to my knees and massage her legs and feet, while she's still doing her hair. When she gets up she usually allows me a brief kiss of her pubic area followed by a quick lick of her rear. I then thank her. Oh, how I love it!”

Sounds like they get pretty carried away, doesn’t it? Listen to this husband: “I'm going crazy, giving her footrubs, of watching her try on new dresses, watching her put on her make-up in the morning, watching her do her fabulously thick and rich hair....”

Or this one: “I kneel next to the tub and begin to bathe my wife as I have done so many times before. I try to remain calm as I run the sponge and soap over her back, breasts and legs as she relaxes.”

Well, this guy may TRY to remain calm, but there may be not-so-subtle visual clues to what’s going on inside the kneeling bathboy, as this wife observes: “My husband gets rock hard as he bathes me.”

Fdhousehusband, who blogs at her housband’s life and is one of my mentors, offers this advice to husbands embarking on wife-led marriages: “Help Her dress and undress each day.”

For those Neanderthal types who presume to scold their mates for logging too much time at the dressing table, fd is torn between pity and contempt:

“i always laugh when i see TV shows, films and even my male friends impatiently waiting at the door for their Wives to finish dressing and yelling out something about ‘being late.’ i think to myself, ‘Why isn't he helping Her?’ One of my important jobs is to help Her get dressed each time She heads out the door and to reverse the process when She comes home. my assistance saves Her precious minutes from Her busy day and makes myself useful. And besides, i get to enjoy this very special and intimate contact with Her!”

Another of my wife-worship mentors, Au876, obviously concurs, offering this encouragement to would-be “boudoir boys”: “Fold her nightgown every morning. Make sure you clean her vanity area, her hairbrush, her hair rollers and do this every day, not just once a week. Rub her feet every night, check her toenails for rough spots and repair as necessary. A pedicure every ten days or so is not enough. Wash her stocking and hang them to dry where they are not in her way.”

But I yield the last word to a woman, posting under the cyber-title of Goddess Christine: “Treat your partner like the Queen that she is. Honor her and worship her. You don't know just how lucky you are.“

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Clean Slate

This is really just a postscript to my two-part “Weekend Update” postings. In the November Real Life Stories on Elise Sutton’s site, “Doreen B” writes about the weekly performance review that she administers to her live-in lover, Timothy, 20 years her junior:

“Each week I appraise his efforts for the week just gone by and explain to him where I require improvement or more effort. I then decide whether he deserves punishment (he always does!) and inform him of how many strokes with my strap or cane and/or extra days in his device that I have decided to award him.”

This is standard operating procedure in female led relationships, very much along the lines of those cited in “Weekend Update.” But then “Doreen” cites an additional benefit of these sessions, which I thought merited a mention here:

“…the weekly appraisal has become an important part of our relationship. It lays down the standards I expect and closes off one week and starts a new one with a clean sheet. Timothy says this is particularly important for him, as he feels ‘cleansed’ and forgiven for any mistakes or faults and able to concentrate on getting things right for the coming week.”

This recurring rite-of-passage has the effect of wiping the husband's slate clean, and re-energizing and rededicating him for the coming week’s service to his beloved.

“When I am finished,” she adds, “[Timothy] kneels at my feet and thanks me for correcting him and promises to work even harder for me in the future.”

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Losing His Grip

In my book, Worshipping Your Wife, I talk about husbands losing their grip—on the TV remote control:

“…husbands ought to haul themselves off their couches en masse, relinquish their remotes and take up their honey-do lists.” (Chapter 5)

“…my advice to husbands is: Find the ‘Power Off’ button on the remote, get off the couch and start courting your wife. (Chapter 6)

“Not a few husbands mention handing over the remote to their wives as a big-deal behavioral modification. And it IS a big deal. Watching TV with my wife, I often find myself with a death-grip on the button-studded contraption. Like NRA card-carriers, most of us guys will give up our remotes only if they're pried out of our ‘cold dead hands.’ (Chapter 7)

But why, guys, is handing over the remote to our wives so difficult? Even for a moment? For some of us, endorsing the entire paycheck to her or giving up our nights out with the boys can be easier.

I’m not going to get psychoanalytical about it. You can speculate, if you like. Let’s just stipulate, as the lawyers say, that it IS difficult. In some way, the ultimate power transfer.

Which reminds me of another quote from my book, in chapter 6, about “Meyer’s Law” as codified by mystery novelist John D. MacDonald: “In all emotional conflicts, the thing you find hardest to do is the thing you should do.”

Husbands who successfully unwrap their fingers from this battery-operated IR-gun report a sense of liberation, like kicking an addiction. They find, again to quote myself, “it's lots more fun to play with her in bed than with the TV remote.”

Some eloquent examples:

“After we reconciled, I realized that I would much rather be with her than watch the shows I like… Because of this, she ended up as the undisputed queen of the remote control. When we came downstairs to look at television, I would pick up the remote and hand it to her, and then submit to whatever she wanted to watch. She commented the other day that I am so domesticated now that I'm watching HGTV with her, and that she never would have believed that a couple of years ago.”

“Over the years, i have developed a number of routines that i now follow out of habit… [including] handing Her the TV remote. Each time i perform these little domestic routines i reinforce my supportive role in Her Life.”

“When we adopted an FLR marriage,” another husband explains, “the TV remote became Hers. However, the music to be played in the car had been determined by who was driving. That changed too. The car stereo is now an extension of the TV remote and She will now choose the music, regardless of who is driving or which car we are in.”

“I truly love my wife and do the utmost to please her. I wasn't always like that, but now I get up before her, prepare breakfast, make up the bed and clean up while she gets ready for work. I cook and clean up. And she controls the remote on the TV.”

“I rub my wife's feet every evening and give her massages whenever she wants them. And she now exclusively has the remote for the TV.”

“I have handed over the TV remote, although sometimes I ask if she minds if we watch a certain show.”

Many husbands realize what a big deal this “little” gesture can be:

“I realize that I am able to be defer to my wife in many subtle ways, from small things like turning over the TV remote to sitting at her feet as she reads or watches TV and massaging her feet.”

“You should vigorously pursue every opportunity to give your wife massages, talk to her about things that interest her, leave the remote in her hands, fetch her something to drink, make dinner, clean up afterwards, etc.”

And what about the wives? Almost without exception, those embarking on female-led relationships seem eager to wrap their lovely fingers around this particular symbol of power, recognizing it as akin to the scepter of state held by the queen:

“You will come to enjoy the freedom in decision-making afforded you,” writes Emily Addison of Around Her Finger. “If you want to be the only half of the couple allowed to use the remote control, you need only say so.”

One wife, reveling in newfound domestic supremacy, ranked “I get first rights to the remote control” as No. 11 among her new perks.

I don’t mean to give the impression that wife-worshipping husbands eagerly surrender the remote control. Many guys, indeed, have to have this favorite toy pried from their grips, and not always at an opportune time.

One wife chose to assert her electronic-gadget authority in the middle of Monday Night Football. The shocked husband recounts the traumatic incident: “She turned it off, took the remote. I was stunned. ‘From now on,’ she said, brandishing the remote, “this is mine. You are not to touch it.’”

“We decided that from a certain date on,” writes another wife on the Around Her Finger blog, “I would decide what TV shows he and I watched. Most of the time he was very agreeable to me changing the channel to watch what I wanted, but there were times, especially on Sunday afternoons, when I would switch to a romantic movie and force him to miss a football game. He grumbled, quietly, but he grumbled nonetheless.”

In some advanced arrangements, husbands are expected to defer happily to their governing mates in all things, most definitely including channel selection: “My husband and I are believers in matriarchy,” a wife explains to Elise Sutton. “At dinner, I'm the one who sits at the head of the table. While we're watching TV, I'll have him bring me a cup of coffee or a tray of fruit. Best of all, I'm in total control of the remote.”

But even the most compliant guy can harbor a few frustrations as he observes occasional female ineptitude with the finer points of electronic button-pushing: “We have a complex TV setup and despite three months of gentle coaching, she keeps screwing it up. There is an element in me that feels very insecure that I've seeded control of my life to Someone who can't use a remote control.”

Another husband concurs: “It still drives me crazy that she now has the universal remote control and struggles to use it... Man, I've got a long way to go.”

What’s a well-meaning guy supposed to do? Well, according to fdhousehusband, he should just settle back and realize that “she has the authority to make mistakes."

One couple arrived at an electronic compromise, as this husband details: “I sit at my wife’s feet while she sits in the comfortable easychair. I am in charge of the remote control, but she is in charge of me.”

Pavlovian Postscript: As I was getting ready to post this, I came across a quote from a husband whose wife kept two electronic remotes, one to control the TV and a second to control him:

“The power of a remote control can be used for so much more interesting endeavors than just changing channels on the television. My wife had a remote control and she would give me different sensations of pleasure and pain from the very mild electrical charges.”