My wife walked into the room holding a red outfit in one hand and a blue one in the other hand.
“Which of these should I wear to the Cavanaugh’s?” she asked.
I’ve been playing this game for well over forty years, and I still don’t understand it. When it’s over, I never know if I’ve lost or if it was a tie. I never win. I’ve come to accept that.
It has nothing to do with the dresses. When it comes to fashion, my opinion is the last one my wife would want. Remember, I’m the one who bought her a lavender Velour jogging suit—see BUYING PRESENTS (SORT OF). It doesn’t matter which dress I pick. She’s going to wear the one she wants to wear. It will probably be the pink print or green pants suit that are still hanging in her closet.
Sometimes we play the game with other things such as paint colors or pictures.
My wife: Honey, should we put the picture we got from the kids on the north or west wall of the living room?
Me: I think the light would hit it better on the west wall.
It’s a sure bet the picture will end up in the dining room or maybe downstairs in the TV room or anywhere but the west wall of the living room.
For a time I thought she was asking my opinion so she could find out where the picture wouldn’t look good, some kind of reverse psychology: If I like something, then it has to be wrong. But there are too many places the picture could hang, and she only gives me the chance to eliminate one of them.
Compared to this game the Do-these-jeans-make-my-butt-look-big Game is a breeze. Most first-timers will answer no in that game. “Ha, ha,” I laugh wildly. A common rookie mistake. The problem with no is there are too many variables. Maybe somebody told you a very funny joke a couple days before and remnants of a laugh are still clinging to your face. She’ll think your smirking, or because it’s thee answer, she’ll think you’re being disingenuous—Heaven help you if you hesitate as if you had to think about it before you said no.
The correct answer to the Do-these-jeans-make-my-butt-look-big Game is (If you have a pencil write this down): Only a blind moron would think you have a big butt. I’m surprised you can even keep those jeans from falling down. There’s just nothing there to hold them up. You say it loudly and immediately, and you give that answer even if you’re married to a whale … and I mean an actual whale from SeaWorld.
Unlike the Big Butt Game where you want a fast response, with The Game you need to spend some time contemplating your decision. My wife likes to think I am putting as much thought into my decision as I would in pondering the fate of the free world. What I normally do is try to remember what leftovers are in the fridge that I can eat later on, then after a few minutes I go eeny meeny miney moe and pick one of the dresses. When I know she isn’t going to wear whichever one I pick, it’s hard to get excited about it.
Once when I was young and very stupid, I thought I could avoid playing the game. I jumped out of my chair and started pulling off my shirt. “If we’re going to the Cavanaugh’s, I better get my shower taken,” I shouted. Turns out we weren’t going to the Cavanaugh’s until the following day. Good thing. It gave me a day to find out who the Cavanaugh’s are.
I’ve come to the conclusion that The Game is like the Rorschach inkblot test. My wife is doing some kind of psycho-analysis on me from my choice of dresses or picture locations. She’s probably determined that I’ve gone stark raving mad– It’s possible from playing The Game so much. I’m sure when she gets together with her friends for coffee they review the results of The Game.
Friend Number One: My husband picked the burgundy jumper. Can you believe it? The burgundy jumper.
Friend Number Two: I don’t want to brag, but my husband picked the little black dress.
Friend Number Three: You are so lucky, and I am sooo jealous.
My Wife, speaking in an embarrassed whisper: He picked the west living room wall again.
A gasp goes around the table.
Friend Number Two: I am so sorry for you.
Friend Number One: Wow, I never thought anything would make me glad I have my husband.
Friend Number Three, giving my wife a one-armed hug: Why do you stay with him, Sweetie?
My Wife, wiping a tear from her cheek: I don’t know. I should have left him years ago when he first picked lavender Velour, but I thought I could change him. Now I don’t know what to do. He gets along with my family, the grandkids like him, and he’s fantastic at the Big Butt Game.