Friday, May 29, 2009

Male Bonding

Do we think this woman is overreacting a little bit?

DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Rick," and I own a small business with a partner, "Mike," who is in his late 40s and a confirmed bachelor. He constantly invites my husband out to dinner, ball games, drinks, etc. without ever including me. Rick always declines.

I think this is rude. Am I being overly sensitive? Do you think he's trying to show my husband what he's missing? -- IGNORED IN THE SOUTHWEST

Yes, it's a bit rude that she is NEVER included in the invitation. But it also seems unnecessary that her husband turns down Mike's invitation every single time. Surely if they own a business together they are friends--if Mike is in his late 40s and most of the people he knows are married, and they all turn down his invitations as a result, he may find himself completely without friends. Rather than trying to show Rick "what he's missing," he probably just doesn't want to go to the ball game alone.

Has the husband and I ever said "do you mind if Sue joins us?" or even jumped right to "Sue and I would love to?" just to see what happens? It may even be that Mike doesn't intend to exclude anyone, but feels more comfortable issuing invitations to Rick.

And have Rick and Sue ever invited Mike to join them in any social event, ever? Why not? I think Sue is seeing him too much as a Bachelor with a capital B, and not enough as a colleague, friend, and human.

Abby says:

DEAR IGNORED: I don't think you're being overly sensitive. Because this is happening repeatedly, the implications are insulting. If Mike had any degree of social sensitivity he would realize -- after many turn-downs -- that your husband prefers socializing with you to boys' nights out.

As to Mike possibly trying to show your husband what he's missing, I don't know. What IS he missing?

**Edit: In re-reading this, I find myself wondering whether this couple is recently married--and if Mike and Rick have had a longstanding friendship and socialized together. This woman seems way too freaked out about it to have known and worked with Mike for 2 decades.

New discussion point: what do we think of the phrase "confirmed bachelor?" When men say it about themselves, it seems to be both a point of pride and warning against overeager girlfriends. When this woman says it about Mike, she seems to be passing judgment...he's not just single, he's a swinging crazy single trying to tempt her husband to the wild wild world of....the baseball field.

It may be true that he's not married, and has no intention of ever marrying, but her inferences about what that says about his character seem completely unfounded and absurd.


Ashley said...

Wow... what is with all of these women being jealous of their husbands' social lives? (I seem to remember a few jealous wife posts recently...) I'm a firm believer that if you try to control your husband's social life, he'll end up going anyway, but not telling you about it. If this were another woman, I could see her being upset, but it's another guy, and it isn't like he's asking her husband to go to a strip club or something. It's a ballgame!

What's up with Abby's advice? "What IS he missing?" Is she implying that the husband is missing something by being with her? That is what seems insensitive to me about this whole situation.

Becky said...

I think Abby was actually trying to hint at the same point that you made--that the fact that the wife feels the husband is "missing" something suggests that she or their marriage has somehow prevented him from socializing normally with friends.

Sorry for the overload on wife posts! These days I'm probably overemphasizing the "MARRIED PEOPLE ARE INDIVIDUALS WITH THEIR OWN LIVES TOO, BLAST IT!"

Ashley said...

Oh no, don't apologize! I totally agree with you and think this topic is really interesting.