How to Iron Your Own Damn Shirt: The Perfect Husband Handbook Featuring Over 50 Foolproof Ways to Win, Woo& Wow Your Wife
By Craig Boreth
How to Appear Calm While She's Driving
Let's face it, digging your nails into the dashboard every time she takes the wheel is bad for your blood pressure and your car's resale value. You've got a few different options here: If you focus on the random stops, the distracted swerving, and ever}' nearly missed turn, you'll only make her more nervous, and you'll invariably be blamed for any and all blunders. So your best bet is to remain calm, or at least create the illusion of calmness.
To achieve this trancelike state, we will rely on the wisdom of the Buddhist monks, whose practices of observational breathing and visualization have helped husbands remain calm while riding shotgun for thousands of years.
Assume the Position
After she comes out of that hairpin turn and you can dislodge your trachea from the shoulder strap, rest your feet flat on the floor and place your hands comfortably on your lap or on your legs. Sit up straight, with your head tilted slightly forward (so you're looking down at the reassuring vision of the passenger-side airbag).
Follow Your Breathing
Breathe normally through your nose, and focus on the breath as it enters your nose and flows down into your lungs. Imagine you're breathing in calmness and relaxation. As you exhale out your mouth, imagine that the sheer terror (and your impulse to make final peace with Jesus) exits your body with each out-breath.
After you are able to focus on your breath to the exclusion of the high-speed mayhem going on just a thin, plate-glass thickness from your head, you can try to further immerse yourself in meditation. Imagine yourself floating in a few feet of perfectly warm water, the sun on your face, with the waves gently rolling in on the rhythm of your breathing.
If the car's Joe Cocker-like gyrations make it impossible to follow your breathing, try this method: Tense up all the muscles in your left foot as tight as you can. Concentrate on the tension and focus solely on that feeling. Then, release the muscles and concentrate on the sense of relaxation you feel in that area. Repeat with your other foot, then move all around your body, tensing and relaxing. One of the best is tightening your whole face, then releasing. It's fun, and you just know it looks ridiculous, but make sure she doesn't see you doing it or she'll think you're having a stress-induced stroke.
How to Defend Her Honor
You're out together at a bar somewhere, and some jackass is giving your wife a hard time. Maybe he hits on her, and then insults her when she turns him down. You'll shoot him your best badass glare, and she'll turn to you and say something like, "Honey, just ignore him and let's get out of here.'' But, no matter how mature and conciliatory she may seem on the surface, deep down inside, a part of her wants you to beat the living crap out of this guy.
You may be thinking, "How can I lose?" (in which case, see "How to Know Your Limitations," page 7). If you follow her lead and walk away, you're the mature, reserved gentleman. If you fight and win, you're her rugged, dangerous hero. If you fight and lose, then it's "Oh, you poor baby" and lots of tender kisses on the cheek until the swelling goes down and you can see through both eyes again. In reality, this situation can get very ugly very quickly, and the consequences can be serious. So you've got to know how to handle things, and fast.
Walking away should always be your first option, particularly when you're in an unfamiliar place, or any time the other guy has that look in his eye like he could kick your ass quite handily without leaving his seat or spilling his drink. In fact, its your legal obligation to leave, unless there's no way out and you're in immediate danger of bodily harm. So what happens if you have to stand your ground, and this guy won't back off?
Sammy Franco is one of the world's foremost authorities on both armed and unarmed combat, an innovator in "reality-based self-defense," and a guy who does not lose fights. But even he stresses the importance of de-escalating the situation before it turns violent. "Don't start giving the guv commands, not even things like 'calm down' or relax/ " Franco says, "but take a hit to your ego and use choice words like 'excuse me' or 'oops, my fault.' " Also, use nonverbal cues to calm the situation. Franco recommends creating some space between you and the other guy (at least five feet) and spreading your arms slightly with your palms up in a nonthreatening pose. The space will give you greater reaction time, and the pose accomplishes several things: Not only does it de-escalate the situation, but it also tells witnesses and bouncers that you are not the aggressor. Finally, it puts you in a good position to strike if you're forced to.
You don't want to make things worse by clenching your fists or pointing a finger at the guy, what Franco calls "the parental finger (you know, the Dikembe Mutombo move)." He also suggests you look for cues that the other guy is about to lose it, such as his face going dark red, rapid and incoherent speech, stuttering or yelling, clenched fists and tense shoulders, or what police call the "thousand-yard stare," when he just stares right through you. Also, notice if he looks around to the left and right, checking for witnesses before he goes off.
If he gets in your space (within what Franco calls "bad breath range"), stand up without threatening him, and make sure your wife has a clear exit route and that she takes it. Don't go pointing a finger at the guy or push him away. That makes you the aggressor. Remain in your de-escalation pose with your palms up.