By Tim Bennett
Attention: Wives. Besides giving your husband a good spiritual kick in the pants, men’s retreats provide much more than male bonding, they also make your man appreciate you more—a female. The following four S’s will explain what I mean. The words in italics are public declarations to my wife, or things your husband would write to you after a retreat, if he was a writing kind of guy.
Snoring. Psychiatrists tell us traumatic experiences are sometimes so painful that they are completely blocked from our memories. That’s why I probably didn’t remember the trauma of prolonged sleep deprivation that I experienced years ago at a men’s retreat when I was assigned to a room with 10 Olympic-level snorers.
It all came flooding back to me, however, during my last men’s weekend. I shared a room with two bunk beds and three other men. Of course, they left the light on and were sleeping on top of their blankets and not under the sheets—which women of all ages hate with a passion—but that’s beside the point. (For guys reading this who haven’t figured it out yet—the reason is because it takes more work to clean a blanket than a pair of sheets.)
Their snoring was synchronized like a steam engine, with three pistons going up and down at regular intervals. The guy beneath me was making such a racket, the 6’8” 315-pound former high school linebacker sleeping across from us woke up and yelled, “Hey! Will you just turn over!” Surprisingly, his method succeeded—the unconscious man simply rolled over and stopped snoring…momentarily.
Later, I learned that everyone at the conference thought they had the worst snorer. One guy was so upset with it in his room he went into exile wandering the facility in search of any place that would give him refuge. He even put a pillow over his ears to escape the noise, but to no avail. The snoring pierced all the sheetrock, mortar, wood, and cotton to the outermost corners of the building.
My dear wife, your soft nocturnal breathing habits will never bother me again—even if you are blowing air into my face. If I snore, feel free to tell me, “Will you just turn over” in a commanding voice.
Sensitivity. Most men are not naturally sensitive. Sadly, this may be due to falling out of too many trees as children. At retreats, this untapped quality is magnified. To give you an example, I was up late talking with some guys in the lobby of our lodge. Around midnight, a man, who is normally a very considerate kind of person and one, I’m sure, would never do this in his own house, started chopping wood on the hearth of the fireplace to build a fire. At one point, when the hatchet got stuck in a piece of wood, he nonchalantly took it over to the large wooden storage box and began to bang it with intensity against the side—totally oblivious to any potential sleepers.
Sweetheart, In case I’ve never said so, I just want to say “thank you” for keeping the kids quiet when I’m taking a nap.
Showers. Unfortunately, there are some guys that see men’s retreats as mini-vacations from self-cleaning. Their wives are not there to remind them of their unpleasant odors so they figure they will take advantage of it. Not to point any fingers here, but when I came through the door of my room at the retreat center, it could have been the Buffalo Bills locker room in mid-August. Pungent fumes wafted up to my nostrils in waves and I honestly wondered if I could stay standing. The toxicity level was enough to make the average man drop to his knees. I, however, made it dutifully up to the top bunk, holding my breath without falling—a feat I consider on par with the guy who climbed Mount Everest without an oxygen tank.
Darling, I understand now when you, or the kids, tell me to keep my arms down I really do need to take a shower. I also appreciate the fact that you take such good care of yourself and use such wonderful perfume.
Selflessness. I don’t know what it is, but there is something about men and food. I still can’t figure out how 20 guys at this retreat consistently beat me to the head of the chow line. I think these guys either camped out outside the door, or made prior reservations with the chef. When I did make it to the food table, I had to be careful of something else—flying fork wounds as these flashing silver objects piled pancakes higher than the leaning tower of Pisa. Looking at the plates coming back to the tables, you’d think everybody was feeding a family of 12! And then, these same guys—realizing that they were wrong about the impending famine—would go back for seconds and thirds!
Honey, I just want to thank you for always deferring to me at the supper table and letting me get first dibs on the food. Like Napoleon once said, “Food is a very important morale booster.”
So wives, the next time a men’s retreat comes up, encourage your man to go—when he comes back, he might even open the door for you. As for me, I am now guilty of sending this info to Wikileaks and a mob of angry men want my hide, so if you’ll excuse me I’ve got to go find an embassy somewhere.