COLUMN: Checking in with the Activity Organization Dept.

Ask most guys in long-term relationships if they want to do a particular thing, and you’ll get: “I’ll check with the wife.”

COLUMN: Checking in with the Activity Organization Dept.

A buddy phoned the other night.

Wanted to know if I’d be interested in going fishing up north at the end of the month.

What was my reply?

Same reply as every other married guy.

“I’ll check with the wife.”

Note that I didn’t say sure, or count me in, or I was interested, or even that I was busy doing something else.

No, I said I’d have to run it past the domicile co-ordinator, aka wife.

It’s interesting to note that while she does communicate with me as to her social activities, it seems it’s usually on an informative basis rather than consultative.

I mused on this fascinating topic some years ago, and came to the following observations:

There comes a time in a man’s life when he meets a woman with whom he wishes to spend his life, or at least a considerable period of time

After the necessary domestic arrangements are completed, such as formalizing the co-habitation timing and location, the man basically hands the good woman his social calendar, and becomes a passive referral service.

These are men who once were capable of deciding what they wanted to do, and when they wanted to do it.

But no longer.

Ask most guys in long-term relationships if they want to do a particular thing at a particular time, and you’ll get the auto-answer.

Now what makes this particularly intriguing, and/or profoundly disconcerting, depending upon your perspective, is that this is not a manifestation of mutual coordination.

I shall illustrate.

On a particular occasion, I was attempting to get my colleagues together to send off one of our own on a life adventure.

Asked if they had the evening free and could attend, the men gave the standard response.

“I’ll check with my wife…”

All the women, on the other hand, considered the question for a moment and replied either in the affirmative or negative.

They didn’t need to check with anyone.

Now, why is that?

Is it because on any given day, men can’t remember what they had for breakfast that morning, let alone what commitments they have in a week’s time?

That would explain why a lot of guys take a long time to start dating again after the break-up of a long relationship.

They keep waiting for her to tell them they’re going out, and when.

Or is it because after guys find a partner and settle down, organizing social engagements can be off-loaded. Have found the Significant Other. Critical basic needs now taken care of.

That doesn’t explain, however, events like football games and fishing trips, which involve having fun and drinking beer, both of which fall into the critical basic needs category.

Those activities have to be “checked with the wife,” as well.

Gentlemen, at what point in our development did our gender surrender? I mean, what would have happened if General Wolfe, instead of attacking Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham, had told his officers he had to check with his wife first?

She’d have told him as long as he cleaned out the garage first – and as a result, we’d all be speaking French.

Think of that the next time you refer all social engagement queries to the Activity Organization Department, which is manned by a woman.

Now, dear readers, I’m going fishing, among other things (all wife-approved).

Back in a few weeks.