Nick and I, we sometimes laugh, laugh out loud, at the horrible things women make their husbands do to prove their love. The pointless tasks, the myriad sacrifices, the endless small surrenders. We call these men the dancing monkeys.
Nick will come home, sweaty and salty and beer-loose from a day at the ballpark, and I'll curl up in his lap, ask him about the game, ask him if his friend Jack had a good time, and he'll say, "Oh, he came down with a case of the dancing monkeys—poor Jennifer was having a 'real stressful week' and really needed him at home."
Or his buddy at work, who can't go out for drinks because his girlfriend really needs him to stop by some bistro where she is having dinner with a friend from out of town. So they can finally meet. And so she can show how obedient her monkey is: He comes when I call, and look how well groomed!
Wear this, don't wear that. Do this chore now and do this chore when you get a chance and by that I mean now. And definitely, definitely, give up the things you love for me, so I will have proof that you love me best. It's the female pissing contest—as we swan around our book clubs and our cocktail hours, there are few things women love more than being able to detail the sacrifices our men do for us. A call-and-response, the response being: "Ohhh, that's so sweet."
I am happy not to be in that club. I don't partake, I don't get off on emotional coertion, on forcing Nick to play some happy-hubby role—the shrugging, cheerful, dutiful taking out the trash, honey! role. Every wife's dream man, the counterpart to every man's fantasy of the sweet, hot, laid-back woman who loves sex and a stiff drink.
I like to think I am confident and secure and mature enough to know Nick loves me without him constantly proving it. I don't need pathetic dancing-monkey scenarios to repeat to my friends; I am content with letting him be himself.
I don't know why women find that so hard.