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 Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :
Letters From North America
by Peary Perry

Sensitivity Training for Newly Weds
Peary Perry
First time fathers-to-be often approach me with questions on how to handle their very pregnant wives. The first thing I tell them is to keep repeating over and over…."You are so beautiful…. You are so beautiful…."
Seems to me there should be a law requiring all newly married couples to attend some sort of sensitivity training. In my opinion, we need to do a better job of teaching these youngsters what to watch for as they progress through their married lives.

Our public and private schools do an inadequate job of preparing the youth of today for the responsibilities associated with the complexities of married and family life.

As a long time married father and husband I get called on fairly often to mediate, if you will, on certain matters as they arise concerning issues which seem to confound the members of today's modern families.

For example, first time fathers-to-be often approach me with questions on how to handle their very pregnant wives. The first thing I tell them is to keep repeating over and over…."You are so beautiful…. You are so beautiful…." Do not under any circumstances, no matter how many times you are asked…ever, ever mention anything about their shape or weight gain. This is tantamount to a declaration of war. Just wear a grin and smile, it will soon be over and you don't want to say something she will remember for the rest of your married lives.

Trust me on this. Do not mumble or mutter. Even if you are mumbling to yourself, she will think you are saying something about the way she looks and you will be guilty by association. This is not good. You have to realize that at this point in time, their hormones are going bonkers. In the space of fifteen seconds they can go from euphoria to blue funk depression and back again for no reason other than something as simple as your asking…"Do you want an ice cream?"

Jokes are out. Do you hear me? Jokes are out. You cannot joke around during these nine months. You must not make any snide remarks, no matter how innocent about someone being overweight or unattractive. This is a subconscious psychological indicator to her that YOU think SHE is overweight and unattractive. If you talk in your sleep, stick a sock in your mouth or do something to prevent you from speaking out during these trying times. She will hear ever word, every syllable and remember everything you said during the night. You will be held accountable for it at some time in the future. Perhaps not the next day but soon, very soon. At that time she will ask what you meant when you said the words…."Look, it's a rat." four months ago…in her mind the word rat rhymes with fat and therefore she knows what you were dreaming about. Don't deny it, just apologize and keep saying over and over…"You're so beautiful…." You might need flowers for something like this. You might consider a part time job at a florist so you can get the discounts.

Once the baby arrives, prepare yourself for a new culture. First off, grown women revert to a persona that men cannot identify with after the baby is born. You will notice that each noun will be preceded with the word 'little'. As an example, "Oh, look at her little feet…or her little eyes… or isn't that the cutest little outfit?" Everything for the next ten years will be 'little'.

You will need more closet space. Lots more. Get prepared. For the first year or so, babies can't get up and do very much on their own so a minimum of clothes are needed. That's my opinion if you ask me, but then again no one asked me. So what happens? The baby gets this tremendous load of 'little' pants, shirts, blouses and something called rompers. If they started working in a mine at the age of six months and changed into a new outfit a day, it would still take them years to run out of new things to wear.

These small newly minted humans cannot walk, but tell that to the shoe makers and baby stores. They have 'little' jogging shoes, 'little' dress shoes, 'little' tennis shoes. It would make sense to me to make these out of paper or cardboard. I can't understand why they even have soles on them since the kid can't walk anyway, so why make them out of leather?… they won't ever hit the ground. Don't try to persuade your wife that a new baby does not need expensive leather shoes. THIS IS A BIG NO NO. For the sake of your marriage, treat the pair your child was wearing when they made their first step as if they were gold. Don't lose them. You will regret it if you do so. Your wife needs to be able to put her finger on those shoes when she is ninety years old. This action is also not able to be understood by men, so don't even try it.

You will also be subjected to a phenomenon called a 'shower'. Now contrary to what you might think this isn't a ritualistic bath, but a sort of party where you might be asked to leave. Act shocked and hurt, but leave anyway. Trust me on this. If you are asked to stay, make certain there will be other male friends in captivity as well. Otherwise you may have to put up with several hours of women discussing 'little' articles of clothing as well as speaking in a tone of voice several octaves higher than normal. I cannot explain this, but have observed it many times and am always amazed at how perfectly grown young and old women revert to a foreign language when it comes to talking to a new baby.

So, to sum it all up. Do not hum or mumble. Do not comment on other people and the way they look. Act shocked when you are asked to be gone during the shower. Be prepared to build or buy a larger house 'for the children'. Get another better paying job since you will need it for all of those 'little' shoes which cost as much as those you are currently wearing.

Next time we'll take a look at how women react to men and some of their (men's) strange habits.

© Peary Perry

Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com
April 11 , 2004
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