Let me get this out of the way right at the top: I’ve been together with my wife 19 years with this July marking our 15th wedding anniversary. I could not be a happier married man. I have two healthy, beautiful daughters… ok, you’re thinking there’s a “but” coming. There is, though it has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of my marriage. Stay with me here.
The other night while having a little trouble sleeping, my wife and I watched some late-night television. As I began scrolling through our cable’s preview guide, I stopped on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Your key point here is that she did not ask me to stop on Oprah’s show. I did it on my own.
Are you grasping the magnitude of the situation here? I didn’t stop on ESPN to see which college basketball game was being replayed. I didn’t stop on ESPN2, ESPN News, CNN, Fox News or even The Weather Channel. No, I stopped at Oprah. On my own.
I then took it to an entirely new level: I clicked further to see which guests she had on her show. Finally, the unthinkable: I said, out loud, “wow, that looks like a great Oprah… I’ll set a reminder for us.”
Dazed, a little confused, the remote slowly slipped out of my hand as I mumbled, “what just came out of my mouth?” My wife said nothing. She just smiled.
A reminder for the 12:30 a.m. Oprah, for Heaven’s sake.
I used to laugh at Oprah. I routinely mocked her minions who revered her as some sort of modern-day Athena, the Goddess of wisdom.
In space, no one can hear you scream. Unless you’re watching TV with your wife.
For the ladies reading this, you know exactly what I’m talking about. And men — don’t sit there and play dumb with me. Yeah, I’m talking to you.
Over the course of a marriage, men need to understand and accept the reality that women begin transforming us.
It starts slowly so that we don’t really notice. But it does start. And sooner or later, the transformation from man to husband is complete. The way you know it’s complete is when you begin setting reminders to watch Oprah Winfrey after midnight.
You need to understand that women are born with… The Power.
That much we already know. How and when they develop it is another story.
It might be in high school; it might be in college. Maybe it’s in secret meetings with other women at a health club or in the break room of a job but somewhere, at some point or another, women are taught how to develop and refine The Power.
My wife was endowed with a level of The Power that’s off the charts. What I find amusing is how she tries to act as though she has no idea what I’m talking about when I mention it.
She knows. And she knows that I know she knows. That she doesn’t think I know she knows is an insult to my intelligence.
And men everywhere – they know. They understand.
For example, it used to be the word “cute” never came out of my mouth. Never. I was always of the mind that should I say the word at any time no matter the circumstances, I’d hear thunder and maybe see a bolt of lightning landing in my general vicinity.
Now, I say things like “look at that dress, that’s really cute.” Are you kidding me? I said that the other day at Target, one guy looked at me and just nodded a knowing look of complete resignation. It was his way of saying “I understand, brother… I can’t control the word from coming out of my mouth, either.”
How about the show Project Runway. Years ago, I’d have called the program a collection of freaks that know how to sew. Now, I don’t miss it. And not only don’t I miss it, I’m unafraid to admit I don’t miss the show. In fact, I just typed that last sentence and didn’t even realize I typed it. The sentence just came through my fingers as though my wife, upstairs at this moment, was aware of what I’m writing and willed me, through The Power, to own up to my addiction to this program.
Finally, there’s the apex – the summit – the zenith of my complete transformation from man to husband: QVC.
If the idea of watching a show like Project Runway was absurd, the mere thought of QVC showing up on our television was enough to send me into a dark closet and close the door behind me. Now…
It’s not only my idea to turn to QVC, it’s not just that I have my favorite hosts on QVC – I order from QVC. Not my wife, me!
It wasn’t too long ago I was sitting in the Metrodome watching the Minnesota Vikings play the Chicago Bears. Sometime during the 3rd quarter I went out to grab a beer and a brat. Two guys in front of me began talking about QVC from a few nights earlier. It seems one of them got a great deal and bought a laptop; his friend bought the same one on the same night. They shared a laugh and high-fived over the coincidence.
Are you with me here? Are you getting this? Does any of it make sense?
A bunch of guys standing in line waiting to buy beer and brats during the 3rd quarter of the Vikings-Bears game and instead of talking about the game, the two guys in front of me are talking about buying the same item on QVC on the same night. And high-fiving about it.
Even just a few years ago, after so many years with my wife but my transformation not yet fully complete, I’d have practically been laughing out loud. Instead, at that moment, all I could think to myself was, ‘how the heck did I miss the laptop deal?’
Tonight, I watched the titanic college basketball game between Tennessee and Memphis. During commercials I occasionally got the urge to grab the remote and just, you know, take a peek at what was being offered on QVC. I know there are other men out there, with a transformation status level of 100%, who had the same urge.
This is my life, now. College and pro sports living harmoniously with the Oprah Winfrey Show, Project Runway, QVC, saying words like “cute” without batting an eye… and owning up to all of it. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it. I’m simply admitting I’m no match for The Power.
I love my wife. In fact, after 19 years together I love her more now than I did in our early years together. But men, never underestimate The Power. Never. And if you’re with a woman who has developed and refined it without proper mentoring… I feel for you, I truly do, and I think you know what I’m talking about.
I’m blessed with my wife. She’s admitted to me that she’s put in a cap on how many times the word “cute” will actually come out of my mouth. She’ll always make sure I won’t watch more than 12 episodes of Oprah’s show in any 30 day period and QVC — no purchases unless they come with the Easy Pay option.
I’m now going to turn on ESPN and watch SportsCenter… right after I see what QVC is selling this hour.
oprah winfrey photo, courtesy abc.net; project runway photo, courtesy abcnews.com
About the Author: Christopher Gabriel is the host of the cleverly named Christopher Gabriel Program on AM 970 WDAY in Fargo, North Dakota. You can hear him weekdays from 9 to Noon. As a writer and humorist, his work has been been published online by the Chicago Sun-Times, Reuters and publications within the Sun-Times News Group.