Domestic Credits

My husband Jim and I have very traditional gender roles. We just have them backwards. He cooks, I take out the garbage. He wanted a big white wedding, I wanted to elope. He wants kids, I want to burp and play video games in my underwear.

He's nurturing, I'm competitive. When one friend of mine told me that all human actions boiled down to competition and nurturing, I went straight home and told Jim, "I can be more nurturing than you can!!!" Jim, naturally, assured me that he was confident that I could achieve that goal and that he would wholly support me in my efforts.

As you can see, he's just brutal in competitive nurturing. He just figures that he earns domestic credits whenever he's nurturing, and that those will be useful in case he needs to spend them later. The problem is that he has earned so many that Alan Greenspan's going to start warning him soon about domestic credit inflation.

One way that Jim earns domestic credits is by handing me my towel every day when I get out of the shower. (Usually we shower together and usually he starts and finishes first.) Since he was being so nice, I had to start handing him his towel, too, if for some reason I was out of the shower when he finished. When I got into it, of course it got competitive. As soon as the water stops, BING BING BING it's off to the races! If the person showering gets to the towel first, the showering person wins!

The best part is that if the wet person wins, the dry person has to grovel and acknowledge the winner's superiority and dominance in all things. (Aside: can you imagine if the sports were like that? I'd watch boxing if I there was a chance of hearing Mike Tyson say, "You win. You're better than me. You're superior and dominant in all things.")

The interesting thing about this game is that the, winner earns some domestic credits and the loser spends some credits.

Another way to spend domestic credits is to cause an argument. Our favorite argument is about time. See, I'm a pessimist. I think it'll take an hour to get anywhere. My husband's an optimist. "Oh, we can make it to San Jose Airport from Palo Alto in ten minutes!" "At rush hour???" "Ok, twenty-five!"

He was way, WAY late the night before one performance of Carmen, when we were both in the chorus. He was supposed to swing by and pick me up to take me to the theater, but I could have walked to the theatre both ways uphill barefoot in the snow by the time he finally showed up.

Unfortunately, I spent a bunch of domestic credits by overreacting. It wasn't actually his fault and we did make our entrances (barely). Maybe I was just a wee bit on the edge from the sleep deprivation from thirty-nine hours of rehearsals in the previous week and from the heart attack in the front row at the performance the night before.

By the time we got home, we were exhausted. We fell into bed like skydivers without parachutes.

Unfortunately, the next day, we had an important meeting at some painful hour of the morning. I tried gentle persuasion to get Jim up, then gave up and started showering by myself. Several minutes passed with still no sign of him. I started to worry. We had to get to the meeting, but I didn't want to yell at him too hard because of the argument the day before. I was afraid I'd go farther into domestic credit deficit.


I turned off the water. Bang! Out of bed down the hall he raced! He was just reaching for my towel when I turned the water back on. When he realized the trick I'd played on him, he laughed -- and acknowledged my superiority and dominance in all things.

Best of all, I was net positive again on domestic credits. Yessss!

Ducky Sherwood