Wife in Distress

SoG has a story that initially appears to be a cheesy romantic shidduch dating story. But then you realize that it’s way too cheesy to be serious, and… Well, I’m guessing it’s a commentary on the male/female rescuer/rescued fantasy, coupled with some jabs at the sordidness of shidduch dating.

It got me thinking about the whole being rescued thing. I remember a while back reading some comments wherein a few wives confessed to only jumping on the chair and screaming when they have a husband around to save them – otherwise they methodically go about disposing of the disturbance on their own.

I can’t imagine that I could pull off that deception for very long without giving up the game. At some point during our sojourn in our first dank, basement apartment, I’m bound to let slip that I’ve flattened a few exoskeletons in the course of the day.

I can just imagine that romantic, shana rishona dinner conversation:


“Yes dearest?”

“We need to invest in some roach motel realty; today I squished one large enough to star in a Far Side comic.”

Then again, maybe it doesn’t matter if he knows I’m faking. Would a guy have fun rescuing a damsel in distress even when he knows she’s faking?

Of course, I wouldn’t need to fake it if I could be rescued from something besides vermin. Because there actually are a couple of things that make me flinch back in horror, turn away in disgust, stifle a scream at the sight of, and consider swooning over…

Yes, I’m talking about dirty chulent pots and chicken pans.  Maybe their contents are not crawling across the counter top, but that’s only a matter of time. Those awful things strike terror in my heart and paralyze my soapy-sponge armed hands. If there is one thing I want a knight in shining armor to charge in and tackle for me, it is the goop in the bottom of these vessels.

I would very happily shriek at the sight and leap to the safety of the nearest chair. I would beam down upon my dashing hero as he tackles the monstrosity, only breaking my admiring gaze to gasp in terror as he’s nearly overwhelmed by the muck, but valiantly, by mere inches, oh-so-slowly, manages to overpower it. And when he finally vanquishes the enemy, I would clasp my hands, gaze adoringly up at him, call him my hero, and plant a kiss upon the tip of his nose. For the knight who would dast tackle such a doughty foe it would be a small price.

Although, actually, in the chronicles recorded by Sir Thomas Malory, one doesn’t find much swooning on the part of the rescued women. They tend to take it a very matter-of-fact way, like duh the knight rescued them. That’s his purpose in life. Take the following excerpt as an example:

When the Knite, Sir Husband, beheld the Lady Wyfe lept upon the dais much afrite he was wroth out of measre and sith, “Milady, I had liefer cut mine own throat in twain rather than see thee thus dysadvantaged.  For I love thee, and must defende thee with great prowess of armes.” And then he drew his sword and cast up his shield and spurred his horse across the kitchen and smote the pot mightile abuve the handel, carvyng a cantel off the side.

But then the pot voided its contents, splatteryng the knite so eagerle that he did falle to the linoleum. And Sir Husband was so chulente that bi his sheyld there mite no man know him, for all was benes and potatoes on his sword. Yet with his great chivalre he never turned back, and he delivered a buffet so heave that the pot flew threw the wyndow and rolled into the street  where it was trammeled bi a passyng oxcart.

“Ha ha, most noble knite,” saith the Lady Wyfe, “I see well and prove, that well is hir that hath a truste husband.”

“I prove mi mite onle for thine love,” saith Sir Husband.

Then soft salves were laid upon his wounds and the Lady Wyfe did see to hem hireself, that he mite need nothyng.

[Yes, I know it ain’t perfect, but you wouldn’t really want to read something like this, would you? http://art-bin.com/art/oastro.html]


21 thoughts on “Wife in Distress

  1. That’s Middle English, right? Before the Great Vowel Shift?

    Well, that’s my policy, as I’ve said before. I shall bestow my favor on the Knight (pronounced k-ni-cht)who shovels the walk. Don’t bring me roses!

  2. You are killing em.

    We just yesterday had a discussion of having me wash the dishes, and I thought I would have a free pass till at least after Pesacah. Now my wife emails this to me. I think my honeymoon is over. I bet I’m going to have two sinks full of dishes to wash when I get home from work today. 😦

  3. A married friend of mine lives around the corner from me and whenever he is at work and I am for some reasone home, I am officially on call for mouse duty (or doody in one case). His wife is terrified of just about everything and she doesn’t jump on a chair only in front of her husband. She plants herself firmly atop a table until I get there to dispose of whatever it is her apartment has to dish out.

  4. Somehow I’m not surprised that you’ve “flattened a few exoskeletons” in your time, you just don’t seem the personality type to stand on a chair screeching and waiting for someone else to do it. Me, I’ve come to terms with my own inabilities and if I can’t open a jar, or if a bug is just too big for me to easily squish, I have learned to set aside my pride (eizehu gibor, right?) and ask for help. Just as often from a female friend or relative than from a male though, so I don’t feel I have a bias.

    To be annoying about your old English- they didn’t have potatoes back then (Malory’s time was too early). What must they have done for their cholent? What did Jews eat pre- New world? what did anyone eat on pesach?

  5. I think I would rather do the dishes than kill bugs. One of the few times that I actually tried to kill a bug, I missed and it ended up scuttling out from under the napkin causing me to shriek and run for cover (might be a slight exaggeration :-). Thank G-d my roomate has no issue with getting rid of them.

  6. Right, potatoes didn’t show up until the New World was discovered, but the bean, oh, the bean, how it must have stayed by our side for centuries. And barley. Can’t forget barley. My mother from Europe says they never had red meat – who had the luxury of slaughtering a cow? It was only chicken.

  7. Oops. No wonder I couldn’t find any examples of 14th century spelling of ‘potato’. [doh]

    But I’m still wondering – would a guy mind rescuing a damsel if he knew she was acting?

    SoaP – hm… check out those initials… ’nuff said.

  8. “But I’m still wondering – would a guy mind rescuing a damsel if he knew she was acting?”

    I wouldn’t have a problem with it, the fact that she would want me to feel like I’m saving her says something. I think couples do lots of things in relationships to make each other feel needed, even in ways they’re not.

  9. A good husband makes sure there are no cockroaches lehatchilo. Perhaps by washing dishes and taking out the garbage. (Or investing into chemical warfare ammunition.)

  10. I am most impressed by the Mallory-esque husband/knight adventure piece, and thanks for the link. I am not a fan of killing roaches that show up in my family’s house (I’m anti-killing things in general if I don’t have to). Instead, I will often open up the back door and use a broom to flip the invading insect into the yard. I call it roach hockey. I think the knight in shining armor is a role that a husband should certainly fulfill (and thus give his wife someone worth admiring), but I guess it’s to each her own regarding what exactly makes someone swoon.

    And Bad4, you’re basically on the mark regarding the story. The working title was “Fantasizing on a Date” but that was too straightforward and boring.

  11. My cuz doesn’t let his wife touch the dishes (and pots, for that matter). Except once after he had too much to drink and broke one.

  12. Hmmm far side. about rescuing, i thought women are supposed to be liberated nowadays and men are supposed to cry and express emotions? if i knew she was really faking it i don’t think i’d be as appreciative or patient as if sin was actually in distress. i don’t mind helping a person out if they need help even if i think it might tinge on psychosis, however i don’t want to be taken for a ride. this is one post that strikes a raw nerve with the question but is thoroughly entertaining. good job

  13. I would pick dishes over bugs anyday of the week. Just ask the husband, who’s main preoccupation is killing moths for me until I get screens next week. But I agree with the profound thought that if he weren’t home, I would flatten them myself. Maybe it has to do with the fact that he’s there, with those larger less delicate shoes available. I like my shoe collection, and I don’t particularly want exoskeletons on it.

  14. nmf #7 – ah yes, moth season in Israel… those were the days! Some of those critters can get quite big indeed. I saw a few that were the size of small birds during my two years in yeshiva.

  15. i do most of the cleaning in my house, my husband does his fair share of dishes, but its not like he does all of them, but i absolutely will not go near chulent pots or chicken pans, those are his jobs!!! bug killing is gross, i’ll do it if hes not home, but if he is i sweetly ask him to take care of it. no shrieking or jumping on a chair necessary.

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