Wistful Bachelor Years

There are times when I wake up early, and my wife will ask me, “How come you’re up so early?” This is about the dumbest question I’ve ever heard. Don’t worry– I’ve told her exactly that. Here’s why: there’s no way I could possibly know. I woke up and couldn’t or didn’t want to go back to sleep. Why? I have no earthly idea. Seriously. Just happens sometimes. I don’t ask why, because I don’t really care. If it happened all the time, I might spend some time thinking about it. But otherwise, I don’t know. You can ask me the same question a hundred times and I’ll give you the same answer every time– I don’t know. And I really don’t care.

This brings me to another point. On occasion, my wife takes a business trip for a few days, or she takes a few hours to go shopping or babysit the grandkids or something. And when that happens, I revert to bachelor mode. What’s bachelor mode? No longer do I necessarily adhere to a standard schedule. I eat whatever and whenever I want. I sleep anytime and get up whenever. Why? Because no one is going to question me about it.

If you’ve every been married, or lived with a woman, you know that wherever you go and whatever you do, you live with someone who’s going to ask you questions about it. You accept it and you know you’re going to have to live with it. It is the way of women.

When I was a bachelor, I had a roommate for a long time who used to take off for hours or days without explanation and then magically reappear. He travelled a lot more than I did, so I was almost always there all the time. But my roommate would appear and disappear without explanation, and I don’t recall ever asking him where he was going, why, what he did when he was gone, nothing. The same thing was true on his end. He didn’t ask me what I was doing, where I was going or why. Never happened. That’s the life of a bachelor. At least male bachelors. I can’t vouch for female ones. Those days are considered by men as halcyon days. And yes, we’re wistful about them. We look back on them fondly. They were likely some of the best times of our lives, even if we were poor and our environment was crappy. We still didn’t have to answer to anyone about where we went or what we did.

Note: this wouldn’t be true if you spent your bachelor years living with your parents or something. That’s different. Most likely your mom and/or dad would serve the same function as your wife: to ask you questions.

I love my wife to pieces. We’ve been married for 30 years as of this writing. Not only have we lived peacefully together for that time, we’ve even worked together most of that time, a task most married couples would probably consider impossible. But we’ve done it happily and successfully. Not only that, but even though by now we’ve told each other every story we have to tell, often more than once, we can still sit down and talk for hours and enjoy each other’s company. And just like every other married man, I get asked questions about where I’m going, what I’m doing and why. Long ago I accepted it. It’s one of the compromises of being married.

But I still look upon my bachelor days wistfully. It’s not that I don’t love my wife or wish I hadn’t gotten married. To the contrary.

I’ve explained all this to my wife, who still can’t understand it. Well, it’s one of the great mysteries of life. Men and women are different. Who knows why. But they definitely are, and there’s nothing to be done for it. It’s just a fact of life. My wife thinks men are weird this way (and in other ways). She’s right. They are. And so are women, though they would complain that they’re the normal ones. But all men know that women are weird, too. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just a thing. And since there’s nothing you can do about it, you might as well learn to live with it.

After all, it could be worse.