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"Handbook for Married Bachelors"

by Hank Gross



Vol. 2, No. 3,  July, 1961

     Maybe you can't knock marriage, but the male stallion built to roam the wild plains, sometimes gets restless within its bonds. It is in the interests of such married men, the eternal bachelors-at-heart, that BACHELOR presents this first of a series of columns devoted to the problems benedict's encounter in their instinctive bids for freedom.
     This first article will take a long, hard look at those tired alibis you've been feeding the missus over the years. Merely that an excuse is legitimate is no excuse for its being poor. From the moment you say "Honey, I'm going to be a little late tonight," your mind must shift into high gear to think of an acceptable reason why.
     If you're the mind of an Einstein, by all means convince her mathematically that you were in the fourth dimension all evening instead of at the racetrack. Otherwise, you must resort to somewhat more imaginative methods of misdirection. One such tactic, known as the "Bold Admission," is based on the assumption that no matter what you say, your wife won't believe you anyway. "No dear," you say to her pleasantly, "of course I'm not at the office working late. I'm in a bar over here on Third Avenue with---" Cover the mouthpiece just enough so that she can still hear you and whisper, "What did you say your name way, honey?" No wife will fall for that, and you can go back to whatever you're doing, confident that your wife thinks you're kidding and really must be working.
     Another way of misleading your spouse is to use the "Lesser of Two Evils" approach. Allow her to catch you in something not quite as bad as what you're really up to, and chances are she won't look any further. Arrange your multitude of sins in order of the importance your wife attaches to them, from playing the horses on down to speaking out of turn. Then, when your wife confronts you for example, with her suspicion that you're fiddling around with the cute little violin at the office, you simply consult your mental list and refer her to the next lowest offense. "What, me fool around with Madaline?" you exclaim. "Now dear, if you're referring to the highball me and the boys indulge in during our coffee break every morning--" This should take her far enough off on a tangent to insure that Madaline is quickly forgotten, and temperance becomes the topic of debate for he next three weeks.
     Getting caught dead to rights with the adorable little cupcake who does the filing is a different situation, even if you only took her in for a friendly drink while trying to teach her the alphabet. Such a mishap requires the "Big Lie" technique, based on the theory that the more unbelievable your story is, the more fully will it be swallowed.
     "Funny running into you here in this bar, dear," you begin noncommittally, in response to wifey's glare.
     "Oh, funny is it!"
     "Honest, dear, it's not like you think." and then you go on to spin your whopper, which you know is a good story because you read it just last Sunday in the condensed book section of the paper.
     "You'll never believe this," you go on, "but as I was on my way home from the office, this strange woman approached me--Candy, meet my wife--and she told me that a man was chasing her, and would I please hold this valuable package of microfilm for her, because she wouldn't want the Soviet spies--did I mention that there were Soviet spies?--to get hold of it. Would you believe it?"
     Go on to give her a brief synopsis of the plot. If you carry it off well, your only problem is never to get caught again with the same Candy in the same bar.
     One word of warning--excuses like this, while effective, are liable to backfire. Witness a case not long ago of a man who was wrongfully accused of homicide. It looked like an open-and-shut case against him unless his wife could provide an alibi. "Oh, he couldn't have done it," she explained sincerely to police. "He wasn't even there. I know, because he called me that night to tell me that night to tell me that he wouldn't be home till late. You see, some juvenile vandals or something had let the air out of all his tires and when he went to a service station the attendant said he would fix the tires if my husband would just watch the pumps for a little while, since the attendant's dog had just gotten a bone stuck in its throat and he had to rush home and...why yes, officer, I realize it sounds a little fantastic, but..."
     Nevertheless, a true married bachelor, we think, would have viewed his fate philosophically. "Well, anyway," he'd say with a touch of pride, "it was a helluva good story!"
     There was another good story we know of that also went haywire. It's about a fellow who came home at four in the A.M., thoroughly stoned. He was about to tiptoe upstairs, when the clock on the wall cuckooed the late hour. On sudden inspiration, the fellow waited till the bird had finished, then added another eight cuckoos of his own. Next morning his wife asked how late he'd gotten home. "Midnight," he replied smugly, "Didn't you hear the cuckoo?"
     "I certainly did," she said, "It cuckooed four times, hiccuped, said 'Damn!', then cuckooed eight times more!"

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