housebroke husband

Here’s this week’s Regarding Annie Column from the paper. Thought it might be easier if I just pasted it in for you.

“Is there anything more harmlessly dangerous than a domesticated husband?

Here’s the thing about men in their 30s with stable jobs and good marriages: It doesn’t matter who they were in their 20s, what condition their hairline is in or how schooled they are in the fine art of seduction, women everywhere want them. Why? They’re tame, they’re not out to impress anyone, and they’re hopelessly ignorant to their own attractiveness.

In other words, humble and friendly is to the 35-year-old divorcee what sexy and single is to the 20-year-old clubber. And my husband is absolutely clueless about it. To make matters worse, these poor stupid men have no idea that their idea of friendly regularly comes across as flirty. Flirty with big red flags and blowtorches.

So the other night Mr. Sweet Talker stops for a milkshake at the local drive-through.

“Hey, can I get an Oreo shake?” he asks the girl.

“Sure, no problem.”

“I’ve just got to ask, is there any chance you still have that peppermint shake available?”

“Sorry, we discontinued it after Christmas,” she says.

“That’s too bad, I loved that shake! Man, I would get one of those every day if I could.”

Now to some idiots, like my husband, this might sound like nothing more than friendly conversation. But to his wife, who knows that his flirting button broke about 10 years ago and he now spews forth all kinds of innocent chatty fodder to every woman who crosses his path, this could be the start of something … else.

“Yeah,” she says with way too much warmth for a person discussing ice cream, “that shake was awesome. But hey, we’re bringing our peach shake back, you should come by and try it sometime.”

Let me translate: “You sound hot and friendly and I would totally go out on a date for peach milkshakes with you.”

“Cool,” he says, “I’ll have to do that.”

Now, what he meant by that was, “peach milkshakes sound good and I’d like to try one.” What she heard was something a little closer to, “let me get your number and we’ll share a peach milkshake and maybe something more.”

As he pulled away from the speaker and inched the car closer to the payment window he noticed my You Poor Idiot look.

“What? Did I say something wrong?” he asked.

“No honey, you said all the right things,” I replied.

“I don’t get it,” he said.

“I know, but she does, and she’s going to be really disappointed to see me sitting in the passenger seat when we pull up to that window.” I then gently explained to him for the 89th time that he’s sweet and friendly and women find it irresistible. Since he’s the most single-minded loyal hound on the planet, the thought that anyone would find someone as old and settled and married as he is attractive is inconceivable to him.

Let me tell you, she wasn’t any too happy to clamp her eyes on me as she handed him his peach milkshake. Frankly I don’t blame her, there’s nothing as appealing as a friendly puppy dog, especially one that’s house trained.”


  1. Amen and amen. Boy, you nailed this one, Annie. I’m totally reading it to my hubby so he can see that I’m not a crazy for believing that chicks see that same phenomenon with men in their 30s. 😉

  2. Love it. My hubs, now retired, never, ever recognized when he was being flirted with. He was pretty much innocent of the naive flirting you describe; but because he wore a uniform for part of his career, he was flirted with on a regular basis. Women have all kinds of fantasies about uniforms!. He never recognized it!

    • annie valentine says:

      I totally agree. Uniforms and/or guns kind of make a man irresistible. I can be bugged with my husband in the morning, but by the time he’s all suited up I’m totally over it.

  3. Ashley W. says:

    I so agree with you Annie. I feel my husband has gotten better with age and he doesn’t see it. He’s a police officer and ring or no ring he still gets offers ALL the time. Funny, I never thought you’d want to see the person giving you a ticket again. Can’t wait to read this to him too! Your posts are always right on and very entertaining. Keep doing your thing!

  4. Oh dear, my husband is a very friendly 29 year old. Is this the sort of thing I have too look forward to? Lol!

  5. Wow, as a husband who tries to be friendly I am shocked to read this. I never had any idea that I might come off that way. Isn’t your husband in special forces? So he’s probably fit. I’m not and honestly cannot imagine anyone could be at all interested in a portly (and getting more so), graying middle school drama teacher. Still, I want my wife never to have to worry or be anxious, so I appreciate the heads up this is a good thing to know and discuss with her to make sure. Thanks for the tip!

    • annie valentine says:

      Um, did you never see Mr. Holland’s Opus??? Braden, trust me, you should be very afraid.

  6. Oh Annie! You are hilarious!!! And so right on! I just love your honesty!! I’ve never laughed out loud at something I’ve read online before… even though we all do the whole -lol- but do we really -lol-? Well today I did, and I thank you for that!!! LOL!!!

  7. Ah the ol’ milkshake flirt.

    My hubby was a fireman and girls seem to fall all over fireman in their uniforms. Once on a fire call, a girl got his name off the back of his jacket…went to the firehall with a dozen roses.
    Thank goodness I wasn’t around then…….I am way to jealous.

  8. I, too, have a flirty-not-knowing-hubby.

    But as I read the story, it was not thoguhts of your hubby’s chat but of how sad this chick is flirting with your hubby before she even lays eyes on him.

    Now I know Sean Connery is HOT but he’s the rule-breaker. Your hubby could have be some 59 year old, retired women’s lacrosse player that had been kicked in the neck and now sounds like a dude.

    It could happen.

  9. Annie, this comment is about the napping situation with June.

    Have you ever tried a sound machine? The kind that have 7-8 settings like soft music, sounds of the rain forrest or white noise? (Which is my preference.) We didn’t discover these miracle workers until our 4th child and I love them. We bought a couple of them for individual rooms (put up high enough that little ones can’t play with them) and the hallway. You can get them anywhere from Walmart to BrookStone. We turn them on EVERY nap time and EVERY bed time. It’s like putting them in a car and driving around for 2 hours. Plus it covers up the noise that the other kids make so the babies stay asleep. Now I have siblings that use them plus both grandmothers have one at their homes for when everyone is all together. They love them just as much.

    Good Luck

  10. Oh Annie, you are so funny. I love your “translations” :).