“So what would your idea of the perfect husband be?” I asked Marianne while we chatted on the phone one evening as each of us cooked our respective dinners.
“IS there such a thing?” Marianne asked, surprised by the question. “That’s like asking what the perfect pelvic exam would be like. I don’t think it exists, sweetie.”
But I was curious after having recently seen the remake of the 1975 movie, “The Stepford Wives,” in which the women in a small Connecticut community are mysteriously transformed into the ideal wives who constantly cook and clean while wearing perfectly starched aprons, full make-up and high heels.
The original movie thriller has always been a favorite of mine, especially the hilariously unbelievable scene where one of the wives is heard upstairs screaming while in a mid-day rendezvous with her husband, “You’re the King! You’re the Master!”
Gimme a break.
“No seriously,” I insisted to Marianne. “If you were to have the ideal husband, what would he be like?”
It didn’t take Marianne very long to answer.
“Well, he would cook and clean, take care of the kids, draw my bath and massage my feet. Oh, and he would maintain a steady income at the same time,” she said with certainty.
I could almost hear her frothing at the mouth.
“And he’d be about 23 … forever,” Marianne added.
I was intrigued because in the movie, the men of Stepford had molded their ideas of the “perfect wife” into models that no woman could possibly live up to ” unless they were robots ” which of course, in the movie, they were.
On the other hand, if the roles were reversed, what would women want their perfect husbands to be like?
“My fantasy husband would be a mute,” Marianne continued, without any prompting. “And he would HATE football.”
He would almost definitely have to be a robot.
But Marianne wasn’t finished yet.
“He would have a fetish about doing the laundry,” she said, getting excited about the idea. “In fact, he would belong to a Fantasy Laundry League, where he and all his buddies would gather to sort and fold the clothes.”
I had to admit that Marianne’s fantasy husband was sounding rather enticing.
“He would be sensitive and attentive and kiss me for no reason at all,” Marianne daydreamed. “We would spend hours on the couch gazing into each other’s eyes, professing our undying love for each other and discussing our relationship.”
Now Marianne was starting to make ME gag.
“What about the kids?” I wondered out loud.
“WHAT kids?” she snapped. “This is MY fantasy! Don’t ruin it!”
Husband-head entered the room so I had to lower my voice.
“What would he look like?” I whispered into the phone, still wanting to hear more. “All the Stepford wives in the movie were buxom blondes.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” she said wistfully. “Maybe something like Fabio.”
Ah yes, the cheesy, long-haired muscle man on the cover of the cheesy romance novels at the grocery store check-out stands.
“Isn’t there usually a horse involved in the Fabio photo?” I asked, trying to recall. “Isn’t the girl, like, always half falling off the horse while sitting in front of him? Or maybe that’s her dress.”
The conversation then abruptly ended because our dinners were both ready and I could hear Marianne’s kids in the background clamoring for food. Husband-head was also waiting for his grub.
“Who was that?” husband-head asked as he sat down at the table and got ready to eat. “Who’re you jabber-jawing to now?”
“Just Marianne,” I said nonchalantly. “We were talking about what wonderful husbands we have.”
Husband-head raised an eyebrow and looked at me with suspicion.
“Yeah, right,” he said with a guff. “It was a men-bashing conversation, wasn’t it?”
I smiled innocently.
But as if to read my mind, he finished his food and started to do the dishes.
Just then, Marianne called back and I could hear her kids screaming in the background.
“I forgot one thing,” she hissed into the phone. “The perfect husband would also bear the children.”
Heidi Rice is the Rifle correspondent for the Post Independent. Her column appears every Friday. Visit her Web site at http://www.heidirice.com.
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