One of my favorite movie scenes of all time is from About Schmidt. In the film, Jack Nicholson plays a man who’s excessively controlling wife demanded, among other things, that he pee sitting down. Shortly after his wife’s sudden death, however, Schmidt has an epiphany as he is assuming his standard position on the throne: he’s free! No longer does he have to pee sitting down! In a moment of joyous abandon, Schmidt stands up and proceeds to urinate all over the bathroom walls and floor…everywhere but in the toilet.
That’s basically what it’s like for a horse husband when their wife goes out of town.
In a recent discussion in the Horse Hubby Network, men shared what they REALLY do when their wives are away.
- Video games. Many wives don’t appreciate the cultural, intellectual, and artistic value of video games in the same way as their husbands (I can hear female readers chuckling as I hear an ‘Amen’ from the boys). And so, for many husbands, video games are a guilty pleasure. Being left at home alone, then, provides us with the chance to get our gaming fix (much in the same way that when we’re away, our wives indulge in reality television). I include sport in the category of video games, as for many women the two activities are equally inane.
- Junk food. A great many horse husbands are the primary cooks in the family. But when our wives are away, we seem to forget how to use the stove. My preferred meal is a frozen pizza, which I can throw into my pizza pizzazz. For other dudes, though, even a frozen pizza is too much work when the wife is away.
- Booze. What complements video games and frozen pizza better than a couple of wobbly pops? Beer is, of course, a preferred beverage among horse husbands, but others prefer a good Irish whiskey, scotch, or bourbon.
- More work. Perhaps unremarkably, most horse husbands are also very driven people in their own right. They value family, and so strive for a high degree of work-life balance, but when left to their own devices, and after the gaming urge and booze have worked their way out of their systems, horse husbands hunker down for periods of very high productivity.
Basically, when a horse husband’s wife is away, they momentarily enter a state of bachelory bliss. When my wife is at a home, I like things to be tidy and I enjoy cooking. But when she leaves for a horse show, I stop cleaning for a day, allow dishes to pile up, fire up the PlayStation, grab an adult beverage, and piss everywhere (just kidding). But this only lasts about a day. Very quickly, freedom is replaced with a sense of absence. I miss my wife. True I can get more work done when my wife is away, but after a day of ‘playing bachelor,’ I soon remember that I’m glad those days are over. Home is where the heart is, and my heart is wherever my wife happens to be.
When Elisa is away, my freedom is the freedom of a homeless man.
For this reason, I am making a greater effort this year to join Elisa at as many horse shows and events as possible. Work and other commitments often get in the way, but they can also serve as excuses.
Going to more horse shows means figuring out how to “do horse shows” better. How can I make sure that I am comfortable (i.e. so that I don’t become a whiny little girl when I get tired, hungry, hot or wet)? What do I bring with me and how do I manage my time so that I can be productive in my own pursuits at the same time as I support my wife in hers? How can I increasingly embrace the horse show as a shared experience instead of something that “she does” while I tag along. After years of experience, I have garnered enough experience that I am pretty good at surviving at equestrian events. But 2016 is the year that I have decided to thrive.
I will be documenting my successes and failures throughout the year. Any helpful tips or sage advice are very welcome in the comments below.
Are you a horse husband who survives and thrives at horse shows? Do you have a story to tell or a tip to share? HorseHubby.com wants to hear from you! Send an email with firstname.lastname@example.org and we will share your thoughts with our audience. We’re all in this together, boys.