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Traditional Man

What a lucky gal I am to have such a smart husband. A self-proclaimed expert on everything, Andy is your go-to-guy for unsolicited advice on any topic. As a nervous, first-time pregnant woman, my mind was always put at ease by Andy's knowledge of the expecting body. From recommending a scheduled c-section to arguing the money saving benefits of hand pumping, Andy was a constant voice over my shoulder, assisting me in my pre-parenthood decisions. In preparation for Caroline's arrival, I began stocking up on diapers. How silly of me, Andy cautioned, a baby just needs one diaper a day! Good thing during those nights of colic and breastfeeding, Andy had the good sense to open one eye, and suggest I feed the baby (after I'd already been awake for 30 minutes feeding and diapering.)

If at any time I question a decision or even if I think I'm making the right decision, Andy is there by my side to remind me that I'm wrong or doing the wrong thing and quickly sets me straight. I am almost $40,000 in debt for my fancy pants, elite education, but what for when I married a man who is a genius by osmosis.

This past weekend was no exception. We had a parental visit and Andy is not a big supporter of my dad. I can't blame him as I've never been in dad's fan club before, but as an adult I think good old dad and I have come to understand one another. Or have at least learned to be in the same room without throwing punches. I know what to expect when I'm with him and I don't expect anything much more than what meets the eye. Even though I lived with the man for 20 year and have been his child for 30, it took my all-knowing husband to give me a lesson in feminism as it relates to Frank.

After the visit, we were sitting in our dining room, recapping the weekend's events, and Andy summed it all up, "You know. Your dad- he's so traditional." Why Andy, what do you mean? What is a traditional man? Do explain. "He doesn't help around the house at all. He never lifts a finger to do the dishes or set the table. He never helps change Caroline's diaper or feed her either." Hmm, sensei, I'm stumped. I think about these astute comments as I glance over at the book shelf and my college women's studies course books- Vagina Monologues, Yellow Wallpaper, The Bell Jar and reflect on the number of times my high school classmates were surprised when they visited our house and saw that indeed my dad was not dead, but alive and well, breathing and sitting in a recliner watching bowling on TV.
I'm glad Andy has brought this term, traditional husband, to my attention. For so many years, I've wondered how to coin my dad and really determine what kind of a man he is. For hours of my childhood I sat in my room questioning: are there others out there like this? Is he a unique beast or one of a million men who expect women to wait on him hand and foot? Even as a married woman myself I hadn't been able to place my finger on what to call a man who would starve and stink if not for a woman to clean, bathe and feed him.
I'm an enlightened woman now. I can recycle those feminist books and cancel my upcoming therapy sessions. Andy has once again shed light on a mystery I could not decipher myself and set me straight. If only you all could have such a smart, "non-traditional" husband.


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