Husbands must come first

2007-12-05 00:00

Ted came by on Saturday evening, despite me having asked him not to. Earlier in the day Brenda mentioned that she had a little surprise for me. I assumed she had come across my copy of the brilliant Dr Laura Schlessinger’s book, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, which I have been leaving in strategic locations around the house ever since it was published in 2004.

The message in this visionary work of genius is simple. The key to a happy marriage lies in the hands of the woman. All she has to do is follow a few simple rules: no nagging, stay in shape, let him go out with the boys, put him before everything else in your life, cook him a hot dinner every night and never say no to sex. When I mentioned this to Ted, he laughed cruelly and said it was far more likely that Brenda was planning to lace my supper with the same stuff game rangers use to tranquilise elephants, after which she would grind mustard seeds into my eyeballs and chop off my willy.

It seemed improbable, but then again, until last week, so did a Jacob Zuma presidency.

Brenda looked disappointed to see Ted stagger in under the weight of three cases of Tafel Lager.

“Right,” said Ted. “First item on the agenda — a toast to the ANC Women’s League.” I raised my bottle solemnly. No words were needed. “Second item on the agenda — the naming of teddy bears.” Ted said that he was outraged when he heard that British teacher Gillian

Gibbons had been sentenced to 15 days in jail in Sudan after allowing her class to name a teddy bear Mohammad.

“Teddies are duplicitous creatures that bear allegiance to no one,” he said “The infidel should have been put to death right there in the classroom.”

I felt that he was being unduly harsh. At the same time, anyone who voluntarily moves from Britain to Sudan deserves to be punished. Ted said he wanted to put matters right. He pulled out four soft toys from a bag at his feet and before I could stop him, he poured beer over each of their heads. The fluffy cat was christened Jesus, the dolphin Buddha, the lion Krishna and some kind of marsupial missing one eye was named Jah.

“There,” said Ted. “Now we’re even.” Great. All I have to do now is come up with a way of pacifying the hordes of angry Hindus, Christians and Rastafarians who will march on my house this weekend.

“Third item on the agenda …”

“Forget the agenda,” I barked. “Let’s just watch TV.”

The 46664 concert was on. Perfect. We could relax and move on to the second case of beer. A Muizenberg longboarder was on stage. He had a hearing aid in each ear and was strumming a guitar. “I’ve surfed with that dude,” I said to Ted. “Nonsense,” he snapped. “That’s Peter Gabriel.”

I was shocked. “That’s the ANC’s chief whip in the city council?” Ted gave me the lazy eye. “The other Peter Gabriel.”

So it was. Between songs, the camera caught him drinking a cup of tea. The band sounded as if it were made up of people blowing on dog whistles. At one point, Gabriel stormed off stage. He was clearly unhappy with the sound. Ted said with all that tea he probably just needed to wee.

Next up was Johnny Clegg. Or a reasonable facsimile thereof. He hasn’t aged in 30 years. Clegg was joined by a gang of half-naked hijackers from Soweto armed with sticks and wearing yellow bandanas and running shoes. They sang a rousing rendition of Impi. The darkies in the crowd went crazy. The whiteys checked that they still had their passports.

After the ad break, Nelson Mandela made his way onto the stage. People wept openly. They whistled and cheered and stamped their feet. They screamed and shouted and had unprotected sex with strangers. So great was their joy. Then he read his entire speech without glasses. I will always resent Mandela for making me feel old and feeble.

A rapper called Ludacris did a set in which I didn’t catch a single word. In an interview afterwards, he said: “Y’all know I have my own foundation back home — the Ludacris Foundation.”

We also have one. It’s called the Friends of Zuma. You don’t get more ludacris than that. Oops. There goes my career.

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