Who’s the boss in your cave?

2011-03-30 00:00

EVER since my wife and I left the respective subcultures of our youth (most of my friends at the time were crazed drug addicts and rock groupies, and most of her friends were in the used-car business) to try to lead a normal life together, our existence in suburbia has been fraught with misunderstandings and lifestyle clashes with other people also living in suburbia.

After a few trial honeymoons, most of which took place in the back of Kombis surrounded by musical equipment, drunken band members and smelly socks, we felt we were finally ready to (a) buy a house together, (b) tie the knot (yes, we did it in that order), and (c) organise play-dates for our subsequent offspring.

Although it's getting better now, we still experience crossed lines from time to time. Such as the day, about a week ago, when the father of one of my daughter's best friends pitched up to bring his kid for a sleepover at our house, and he asked me at what time he should collect his girl in the morning,

I replied: "Let's ask the boss," and promptly called down the corridor to consult my wife about the logistical problem.

Said he: "You see, tomorrow morning early I'm going to an Angus Buchan meeting, and …"


What made things even worse, was that I really like this guy. Of course, I had not known that he was a Buchan fan, but I felt immensely embarrassed. I didn't want religious differences to get in the way of our friendship. At the age of 56, I'm simply too tired to look down on people who look down on people who look down on people who look up to God.

I decided to level with him instead. "Here you are going to an Angus Buchan meeting and I just called my wife 'Boss'," I said. "Be honest with me. Do you think I should also go to this meeting? Do I need this stuff in my life?"

"Yes," he said enthusiastically. I promised to think about it.

That evening, after we had finally unplugged the Playstations and settled the kids into their beds, I told my wife about our awkward conversation.

She responded by saying: "Isn't Angus the guy who said men are superior to women? What crap."

I thought about her answer for a few seconds, and then asked her: "Can I read you something? I think it's applicable."

"Sure," she said.

I went to my study and fetched an old science fiction novel from 1964 by Richard Saxon, called Cosmic Crusade, and sat down again. "It's about an ancient race, the so-called Refugees, who only very rarely indulge in mating. This is an extract from a speech by an older member of the tribe to a young man who had just married.

"'To all other Refugees, women are just a differentiation of the species. But to you, now a mater, a woman and your own woman in particular, will become a tyrant mistress, a wanton whimsical creature of a thousand caprices. She will bend you to her will, she will ride you to obedience, she will sap you of all willpower. And all because she is a woman and a mater, and will be a mother, the most precious being in all existence. One thing only I can promise you, my boy, you will be happy. Your chains will be chains of gold. You will learn to rejoice in your servitude.'"

"That's beautiful," she said. "That guy had real insight."

"Perhaps I shouldn't go to Angus after all," I said. "It's far too late for me to become a Mighty Man."

She said, whimsically: "We'll never really fit into suburbia, will we?"

— News 24.com

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