The other day I received an email from a good friend with the subject title of “I don’t think I like your husband any more”. You see, my husband had taken her husband (who we shall call “Mr C”) to the pub that afternoon, where they had both put in at least five hours of solid drinking. As a direct result of this, Mr C had come down with a severe case of the Irish Flu, with a good dose of Irish Gastro thrown in for good measure.
When I told my husband, he punched the air and said “Woo hoo! I finally broke someone!”. When, some considerable time afterwards, I received another email saying Mr C was *still* throwing up, he began to feel less cocky and just a bit annoyed.
“When I have a hangover, it’s my fault. And when someone else has a hangover, it’s my fault too.” he complained in the kind of voice that Mr Justice favours during the second week of the school holidays.
“But you always say it’s someone else’s fault”, I pointed out.
“Yes, but you never believe me. [Mr C] is obviously a better liar than I am,” was his sullen response.
But when he then heard that Mr C had called in sick to work the next day and that his wife was “marching about the house” and, although bringing him Beroccas and cups of tea in bed, was doing so in “A Very Cold Manner”, my husband immediately snapped out of his sulk. Here, indeed, was a Brother-in-Need-of-Sympathy – and most certainly that sympathy wasn’t going to be coming from his wife. You see, my husband knows the dark, dark place that Mr C was in for he, himself, has been there on more than a number of occasions.
It may come as a surprise to some (but not many) who know him, but my dear husband, with his substantial frame (“It’s all muscle”, he assures me), can be surprisingly delicate when it comes to the excessive consumption of alcohol. And sometimes it isn’t even a matter of excess (or so he tells me), it’s because he failed to eat the Right Food in the lead-up to the drinking session, or he just didn’t drink his (allegedly) very modest number of drinks in the Right Order, or the lighting in the pub Just Wasn’t Right, or he was sitting in a Nasty Draught, or… you get the picture.
In any case, the result is him throwing up until at least 5pm the next day and me stomping around the house, shouting at the kids, when really, I want to be shouting at him but it seems unfair to shout at a man with his head down the toilet.
My husband always says that the hangover itself is punishment enough and having watched him suffer over the years, I’m inclined to believe him. I’ve also learnt to adjust my expectations and now always factor in at least 12 hours solo childcare the day after one of his night’s out. And if he comes up roses, it’s like getting a gift from the universe.
I guess that I must love the man very much and, really, a day throwing up from his self-inflicted sick bed every few months is okay – after all, there are far worse things a husband could do to his wife. Plus, if I’m nice to him about it, I get to occupy the moral high ground – and let me tell you now, the view from up there is magnificent.