Posted by: Kate | November 30, 2008

Stood Up

There are many women out there, I imagine – no, I know – who don’t share this same problem, but my husband has a hard time being selfish.  He can manage absentminded and sports-obsessed easily enough, but when it comes to a healthy sort of setting time aside for himself and doing something apart from the family, he balks.  He finds ways to feel guilty about not doing more schoolwork or missing time with the kids, and it takes a fair amount of planning and preparation for him to get out and do his own thing.

He’s gotten better about it this past year – he had a golfing weekend in Maine, and of course his Mancation in August, but still.  It’s an effort.

The only sure thing for him, over the past five or six years, has been an NHL game in Boston each year.  Usually it’s the Bruins/Red Wings game, and usually it happens after New Year’s, so Carolyn and I buy tickets for each husband-type.  Her husband Rob is a Bruins fan, Willem likes the Red Wings, so it all adds together to an easy Christmas gift.

This year it was more of a challenge, because the game fell on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and I was out of town the weekend tickets were released, so Willem had to buy his own.  Kind of ruins any element of surprise, but by the sixth time around, one would hope he had recognized the pattern already.

Thus, tickets were purchased, and the appropriate parties were informed.  Rob was planning to spend Thanksgiving in Connecticut with family, but would be home Friday night, leaving Saturday open for some for of raucousness in Boston prior to the game and perhaps a little more afterward, too.

And then Rob screwed it all up.

The thing about Rob is that he’s mostly a smart enough guy, mostly competent… but when he isn’t, he isn’t in such a smashing sense as to boggle the mind.  Things like forgetting to feed the kids if Carolyn is away for the day, unless she leaves a note.  Or things like the Tree Fell on your Car Snafu of 2007.  Prior to this year, he had never messed with the annual hockey game adventures, but apparently he felt that was a situation that needed to be remedied.

Willem tried calling on Wednesday night to try and make plans.  No answer.  He let Thursday go, being a holiday and all, and tried again on Friday.  No answer.  One could argue that perhaps plans could have been laid out more than a few days in advance, seeing as how the tickets arrived here months ago, but at the same time, they’re both guys and therefore seem to have a bizarre inability to make plans unless those plans are complex and minute.  Planlessness has always worked for them in the past, and so Willem didn’t really panic until Saturday morning.  He finally reached Rob on Carolyn’s cell phone midmorning, on the day of the game, to discover that they had stayed an extra night in Connecticut.  “I won’t be back in time for dinner, and I might not even be there in time for the game,” Rob said, thereby squashing Willem’s plans for brewery tours or sports bars or whatever man things they might otherwise have done.

Willem sat on the couch, dejected and irritated, giving in to a brief wallow about the day disappearing down the drain.  I told him I thought he should call someone else, which was initially met with resistance: “I don’t want to screw Rob over.”  It took a little convincing to remind him that Rob had initiated the screwing, and Willem had the option of accepting that or of prioritizing his own mental health and entertainment.

After a while, he agreed, and ended up spending the day in Boston with my dad, undoubtedly doing Manly Things which involved beer and razor-sharp observations of the world.  Or, at least, just beer.

He came home late and tired, already a little hung over and is still moving slowly today.  But I think he had a great time, and I’m so glad he was able to salvage his plans.  Rob never did make it back in time for the game, anyway, and so Willem’s healthy selfishness was rewarded.

Apparently sometimes being stood up is a good thing.  And I have a year or so before I have to decide whether to involve Rob in next year’s plans.


  1. Wilem is a good man. My husband has become the same way over the last 5-6 years (the first years of our marriage, I can’t say the same thing).

    Yesterday, Dave was going to go to meet all his old Fraternity brothers for a tailgater before the Civil War (oregon state vs. university of OR) but we had unexpected company show up – and he never did get to go. (which may have been a good thing since his team got pounded and lost their chance to go to the Rose Bowl…it was a very somber night)

  2. How cool of your dad to step in! Shane tends not to want to do stuff with the guys because he wants me to be there, even though he knows I hate sports. If he had been stood up like Willem was, he would have insisted that I go with him instead. Ick.

  3. Ah boys will be boys. Best to leave them to their own devices, they’re far more forgiving than us women!

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