It is politically correct and rather fashionable to say that you can’t marry a man and expect to change him. So much so that we have started believing it. But almost every woman I know is subtly and steadfastly working on her man to at least change him enough to be able to live with him. For instance: Change what he eats. How often he sorts his paperwork. What he wears. What he buys. How much he talks. How much he doesn’t talk.
For most men, marriage is the ultimate and possibly, the cheapest rehabilitation program. Let me officially rechristen it to MRP (Man Rehabilitation Program). Coincidentally, MRP in its other avatar is a trivia most men love staring at. For example, the husband examines every bit of packaging, from a tooth brush to a jar of mustard for manufacture and expiry dates. Funnily enough, my father does the same, and so does my brother, and the former even sniffs everything like a dog would.
As if one MRP wasn’t enough, most of us are on multiple ones. I am on four, since I have a father, brother, husband and son.
I know what my friend meant when I told him I was taking a baby sabbatical and he said, “No, you are not. You are making a man.”
Had it been a girl, would he have said, “You are making a lady?” I guess not, because it is assumed that unless something really untoward happens, all girls grow up to be ladies and there’s really no work required. For boys, everything is a work in progress, whether they are seven or seventy.
Most of us have had fathers, brothers or both as projects when we were growing up, and did our best to redeem them. They either ate badly, flung clothes around, smoked too much, played the television too loud, messed up the kitchen, had bad friends or were just being themselves.
Yet, we go and get married. And then wonder, how did the men get by life thus far? And let’s not even get into lousy wardrobes, bad accessories, cholesterol friendly eating habits, electronics overdose or retail junkiness.
And then some of us go and give birth to men. And then actually end up doing more work in not getting him to turn out a certain way.
Curiously, the rehabilitation never ends. And the men aren’t really complaining, although it is considered macho to whine about it in male company. But secretly, they are grateful that someone finally makes them look good.
The husband has one redeeming feature though . The love for order. On a totally superficial level, but there it is. Call it OCD or what you may, but it gives me one less thing to do. Perfect.