The fascinating, the gross, and the totally inexplicable things men like to do alone.
1. We (try to) fix things
It sounds crazy: You've asked us repeatedly to deal with some D.I.Y. project, and when do we tackle it? When you're not even there to see. I'm more inclined to plaster the holes in the playroom (what are they doing up there-jousting?) if my wife, Karel, isn't around to needle me. Also, it helps when "someone" isn't hanging over your shoulder making "helpful" suggestions about how to "apply the plaster in the smoothest possible fashion." Of course, Karel's happy when she comes back to an improved home, but I'm not sure how she'd feel about the rest of my while-you-were-out list...
2. We park the kids in front of the TV
A six-hour Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles marathon is not an option when Mom is home. Karel's finely tuned guilty conscience will lead her to believe she's being a "bad mommy." But when people talk about "bad dads," they usually mean guys who went out for a pack of cigarettes and never came back. So letting the kids watch too much TV isn't as ulcer-inducing for us. Besides, I sleep like a baby after the kids have spent the day staring at the idiot's lantern, because I know I cleaned the bathroom, made dinner, and finished a column. They can go outside tomorrow.
3. We explore our relationship with the dog
You should see the dog when you're away. It sits by the door and moans; it runs around looking for you. This would be fine if I thought that Fredo the Mutt did those things when I'm gone. I rescued you, Fredo. I try to buy your affection with Kong toys stuffed with cream cheese, but you just keep bringing me Karel's bras, like all you want is a Kong full of Karel. I'm jealous, I'm hurt. Fredo, you broke my heart.
4. We nap
I love naps. But I feel bad taking them when Karel is around, because she never stops sweeping things and folding laundry. Having your partner standing over your nap-couch with a basket of jumbled socks doesn't exactly make for a primo snooze.
5. We relax with a little brown alcohol
When Karel goes to bed early, I don't get lonely; I get the remote and a rocks glass filled with bourbon. Watching sports my family hates while tying on a little buzz is a rare treat nowadays, as opposed to my single years, when it was just called a weekday.
6. We mess with your shower products
Confession: I tried to use your exfoliating loofah. Which is how I injured my groin. Pro tip, dudes: Don't try to exfoliate your groinal region. It's gonna end badly.
7. We achieve junk-food nirvana
Step 1. Kiss you good-bye.
Step 2. Watch you pull out of the driveway.
Step 3. Get in the car, drive directly to the snack aisle of the grocery store.
Step 4. Make it rain cheese curls and pork rinds until 20 minutes before you get home.
8. We get creative in bed
Not like that. But if you're gone overnight, there's a good chance that your husband will take all the pillows and craft a new, comfortable "pillow wife" to sleep with, and he will be slightly disappointed when you return and complain about his toenails. Pillow Wife never complains.
9. We clean our way
Contrary to popular belief, we don't live in squalor when you're gone. Just because you "dust" the furniture doesn't mean my way of "vacuuming" it is any less effective, and when you're away I don't even have to engage in a debate about it.
10. We let the kids brawl
Have you seen puppies wrestle? Kids need that too-they're like furless puppies. They need to be able to clobber each other under the watchful eye of adults who will make sure they don't break anything too badly. Moms are less cool with this, and it doesn't really work when one parent is stressing out; it makes kids feel awkward as they hit each other with small logs.
11. We get lonely, okay?
Watching Boardwalk Empire with Pillow Wife sorta sucks. She adds nothing to the post-episode conversation, and she doesn't laugh at my Steve Buscemi impression like you do. She doesn't do anything like you do, actually. Are you coming home soon?