JournalismPakistan.com October 30, 2017
So I am reading this article and it says that if a man and a woman have been married long enough they begin to look like each other. I look at my wife and say, turn your face sideways.
Oh, just turn it.
First, tell me why, is this one of your silly infantile jokes?
No, it is because this article here says we should begin to resemble each other after 10 years of marriage and that the similarity increases every year after and we have been at it 37 years so I guess we are lookalikes.
She says, go wash your mouth with soap and water, I do not look like you, not one bit, not even vaguely, for one I am eight years younger and I do not have a snub nose and no upper lip.
Stop saying that, I say, I do have an upper lip if you look closely and what’s so bad about looking like each other, I was pretty hot when I was young.
Clearly one of those evenings where you do this ‘let’s weigh the pros and cons of the past’ and you get into a row about some trivial issue and it balloons into this huge argument and even the dogs slink away with that ‘sheesh, they are at it again’ expression on their canine faces.
When you have been married as long as I have you should learn where you should fear to tread. There are signs along the marital path that say ‘Forbidden, you will be prosecuted.’ Like, you just do not go there. For example, when she says, ‘nothing’ that word having more inflections and hidden meanings than ‘set’ which has a measly 464. In comparison ‘nothing’ said by wife has about 3 trillion and counting.
Then they have that scary way of pursing their lips in disapproval and it is the first signal that the water is turning hot even as you enter it but we men are often, much to our peril, impervious to this early warning. The other expressions of outrage are not looking up, tossing their hair and slamming the dish in front of you. This is largely because they have cooked something and you have not reacted to it which is bad enough but worse that you haven’t exulted over it and set praise to music.
To get on her wrong side without even trying is very easy and we men have no clue how to tackle the situation. For example, she traipses into the room while you are either watching a match or working on an important assignment and she says, notice something different. These three words constitute the most macabre marital game and can cause total mayhem to Cupid’s store of bows and arrows. And they never give you a hint, like you cannot play 20 questions or hot, hot hotttt, cooooold with it. Nor do they categorize it. Like is it in the room, new curtains, a newly upholstered sofa, a bed cover, something she has done to herself, a set of earrings, tinge in her hair, a bracelet, was her nose pierced before, gosh, cannot remember. Most husbands go into a complete panic and say something stupid and then instead of shutting up, try to retrieve lost ground by making wild guesses that only end up making her even angrier.
How do you think the evening will tank if you say, hmmmm, got your nose pierced.
What did you say?
No, no, no only kidding.
Then you lose your quota of guesses and she huffs off like one of those Spanish galleons sailing off in disgust.
All the effort and this is what I get, I don’t know why I even bother to try. This is the eternal lament of every wife.
Then they tell you as you grow older and your passion is a bit spent that you are boring and dull and look at Ashok and Surender and Khushi and Alok and Ravi and Tariq and Robert, they are so much more fun, you just sit there and sog like yesterday’s cornflakes, no snap, crackle, and pop.
And so you say I am as good as any of the above and the next time out on the town you live it up a bit and everyone has that ‘isn’t Bik a riot’ look on their faces while thunder does a heavy landing on your wife’s brow because and go figure, you are enjoying yourself too much, this is not the sort of conduct she meant.
So it is now 2:00 am and you are decanting yourself into the car and you say, wow that was a great party, what fun felt like I was 20 again and you reach out to hug her and she says, don’t touch me, that statement being loaded for bear and seen as wives as the ultimate reproach. By the time you have married kids this threat has lost its value and you mentally say ‘okay cool, I’ll read a book instead’ but women being creatures of habit believe this is a harsh punishment and a sensible husband will pretend he is being chastised and act sheepish.
Just don’t make light of it. Like, don’t turn around and say, hey, look in the rearview mirror, for a moment there you looked just like me, the resemblance was uncanny.
It won’t get you any laughs.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
Pakistan Observer, November 1, 2016