Nan DeVincent-Hayes, Ph.D               [ Back ]    [ Home ]    [ Next

OPINION COLUMN “Here’s a Thought.”                  

Nan DeVincent-Hayes                               

Grunts, Snorts


The male species is territorial. The older they get, the worse they become. When my husband and I were engaged, I saw that he needed a lot of work, but there was potential; he was still young and trainable.  He even remained trained for several years, but then that glitch in his brain switched back into primitive mode and he returned to animalism. No matter how educated men are, or from which station they come in life, or how good-looking and cultivated they seem, they remain an antediluvian species. And like animals, they unconsciously mark their territory.

“Put your napkin on your lap,” I remind my husband when we dine out.

“I know that! It’s my lap.”

Why must men snore so loud?  If you turn up the volume on the TV, they wake up and groan, ‘The TV’s too loud;’ ‘It’s late, go to bed’; ‘Do you really need the light on?”

Or if we have company, I tell him to act proper. “The girls already gave me five pages of do’s and don’ts” he counters. When there are no visitors, men are at their worse and it is the poor family who must endure their feral behavior much like a group of Persian cats who are all prim and proper in front of guests and madcap when they leave.  In the privacy of their home, men belch, snort, yawn, clear their throats, and have marathon periods in the bathroom.

“When are you coming out of there?” I’ll ask him after twenty minutes have passed.

“When I’m done reading.”

You’d think we had a built in library in the john.

One of our daughters’ male friends visit: “Dad, please, please don’t talk to him about ship building, or gigabytes and pixels,” but he does, forgetting those warnings, and yet he can relate the time the Steelers (?) threw the “Immaculate Reception,” the exact minute, day; weather.

But he can’t remember to pick up milk on an itemized grocery list.

Forgetfulness is only part of the problem. The other half is that it is selective, like a male lion losing track of where he leaves his female when he tires of her. “I told you that last week,” I’ll remind him. “No you didn’t,” he says. “I would have remembered because that’s the day I fixed my brakes, got the car oiled, tires rotated 72 times, unhooped the 12th lose thread in the rug...”

Just as irritating is his leaving his chair pushed out from the dining table after eating. “Didn’t your mother teach you to shut doors, push your chair in after -“

”My mother was a saint.”

He chews like a tiger having brought down a gazelle. “Chew with your mouth closed.”

“Why? It’s just you and me.”

He marks his territory by his droppings: Mail on my kitchen counters, socks on the bedroom floor, t-shirts on the dresser, jeans in a corner, gadgets everywhere. Sometimes when he answers me, it sounds like a bear’s grunts, a camel’s snort, an elephant’s call.

At one time he had been refined: Wore black tie, hat and cane at our wedding; waltzed me around the dance floor; piloted me in a private plane to various cities for dinner.... But over time, the aristocrat in him faded much like car wax dulling.

Here’s a thought: Why note create a manner-refresher course for our husbands and make them enroll? It would re-establish the training we undid from their mothers when we first married them; thus banishing the primal in them. One of the courses could be, “The Difference Between Fine Wine and $.25 Cans of Beer” or “How to Pick Real Restaurants Instead of Fast Food.”

But after years of marriage, I still find in him the very things I loved when we first met: How he grins boyishly, opens doors for me, does things for me without complaining, is slow to anger and quick to help.

 I guess I can put up with a few snorts and grunts to keep him, regardless of how untamed he is.

Computer Word count without headings/blurb: 673



Nan DeVincent-Hayes, Ph.D. 
Former executive director of a high end gallery..

Copyright 2002 Nan Hayes