For almost all of my adult life, I have been under a serious delusion. It’s a delusion that I created myself, I suppose. After all, I made the decisions about who I dated, who I had long-term relationships with, and who I eventually married.
But something has changed this time around. And I’m only beginning to understand the significance and gravitas of it.
You see, I’m finally the man. Not a man, mind you. I kind of figured that out some time ago. I mean, the man.
No, not the man as in “I’m da man!,” that odd declarative statement men make when they think they’ve mastered one universe or another, bested their friends in a game of upchuck, or avoided killing themselves doing something asinine.
If that was the case, then I’m pretty sure almost all of my past lusts and loves have, at one time or another, secretly fist-pumped and uttered “I’m da man!” under their breath when they were with me. Most were somewhat manly. Not in a having a dick kind of way – though I still question the ex in Florida. But they all seemed to like to be the man of the family.
I admit. I like strong women. I get to blame my now deceased mom for that. She was by far for the strongest woman I’ve ever known. I guess you have to be when you’re the mother of four rambunctious boys.
She also had to be both father and mother most of the time, since my own father was in and out of the hospital and in and out of work all the time. She even had to master signing his name, since women back then couldn’t own anything or get their own credit card or checking account. She was so good at it that the one time my dad actually signed his name, the bank called, thinking it was a forgery.
When I married for the last time, I just naturally figured that history would repeat itself. Kat is, without a doubt, a strong woman with an iron will. I mean, she raised her kids all by herself for 13 years, putting them ahead of any of her own happiness. How she did it, I still can’t figure out. If I was asked to do the same, DSHS would have had to break in the door, only to find me alone in a corner, rocking and sobbing uncontrollably.
But something strange happened after we said our “I do’s.” Kat let me keep my dick. I still remember the time she explained how she wanted to conduct our new relationship. While she wanted to be a true partner, she would ultimately defer to me as the man of the family and head of the household.
Wait! What? I waited for the other shoe to drop. It didn’t. There was no addendum such as “…except when it’s important,” or “…except when it comes to money.” Nothing, not a single except.
I am still a bit dumbstruck about this. Over these many years, I’ve gotten quite used to not being the decision maker. Oh sure, I’ve been consulted regularly, but most of the time it wasn’t really my decision.
Case in point. In Florida, I always wanted to live on the gulf side. When it came time to buy a home, I found the perfectly affordable new home. It could be delivered to either side of the state. Where do I end up? Catty-corner to her parents. In Melbourne no less.
It wasn’t an option really. Her parents dangled a free acre that she could have title to. I wasn’t on the deed for the land. I only owned the house so if things went south, as they did, well, you know that left me.
But with Kat, there’s no fine print in the contract. If we don’t agree about something, even if it’s something important, I am the tiebreaker. No flip of the coin. No, “I’ll get this one, you get the next” answer. I make the decision.
Wow! Talk about pressure. Now I know men have been in this role for centuries. My father originally had this role until he drank himself to death and my mom had to take over by default. Then women’s liberation came around and everyone seemed to want to be in charge and that was fine with me, because hey, that’s how I grew up. Since my mom did a pretty good job, I figured all these strong women would too.
So here I am. The decision maker. I’ll let you in on a little secret. This is a pretty scary world to be in. I mean, I have no one else to blame if the decision turns out to be a total turd. Only myself. I can’t get into a fight over it, I can’t wish it all away because I made the bloody decision and my wife deferred to me to make it.
I’m sure that some guys would just run roughshod all over this and go on a huge “I’m the man!” power trip, buying season tickets to the Seahawks in lieu of food for the family, picking up the tab at the bar for all his buddies and turning the living room into a man cave with a 300″ big screen over the mantle.
Me? I’m taking baby steps. It’s still very new to me. Sometimes I feel like I’m in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, trying to decide which is the right cup was the Holy Grail. I’d better get it right or I’m going to melt down in front of everyone, and Kat hates it when people do that on her wood flooring.
I suppose I will get used to it over time. I’m already making some headway. I no longer stare blankly at Kat when she looks at me and says, “It’s your decision baby.”
Deep down, I know she’s there right with me, going over all the options and supporting me in whatever decision I finally make. That alone makes it all right, even when I’m wrong. I think…
In the Emerald City, trying to decide what’s for dinner,