Sunday, September 12, 2010

Guidelines for a HimPlus Life No. 5: Don't flinch

She will tell you her age. Don’t flinch.

He will tell you his age. Don’t flinch.

She will misplace her reading glasses. Be her eyes. Each time you find the glasses – in the bathroom, beside her bed, on the passenger seat of the car – understand that you are coming to know her better.

He is a boy and he will want a dog, a puppy with feet big as softballs, and you are terrified at the prospect. Say yes anyway.

She will have had more ex-lovers than you. Find them amusing. Ask questions to show interest in her life, but don’t ask too many.

He will wake in the middle of the night, worried. Money. Or he was too loud at the party. From your vantage of years, assure him. Mention the poet you’ve both read, and quote: “Nothing matters enough to stay bent down about.”

She will be an orphan before you are. When she loses her mother, understand that she is unmoored. Though you are young and overwhelmed, keep quiet and steady. Drive the car. Help her aunt up the stairs. Set up chairs and fold them again.

He will write a great book, he’s certain. Be excited with him. Grant him the joy of hours alone at his desk. Then, later, knowing how time and disappointment work, grant him the dignity of hours alone at his desk.

Her skin will wrinkle and her hair will turn gray. Don’t flinch. Instead, check the mirror, old man.

He will meet attractive women his age. Don’t flinch.

She will feel something small and unpleasant and ancient when you meet attractive women your age. You will feel something, too, and it is also old and real. But you won’t flinch.


  1. I love this. Although I'm the younger one in our marriage (15 years), it's all so true.

  2. Sue LIck! Thanks for reading. We tracked you, discovered your books and your interesting blog (for interested readers, it's )

    Don't know long you've been reading us, but I thought I'd point out a few older posts that seem to pertain to your blog. You might find them interesting; if not, we'll be heartbroken, but still somehow survive. And we'll look forward to following your work. Good hunting for a publisher for that book!

  3. Saw your article in an old AARP mag. I will be 74 in May and my guy of almost 30 years will be 54 in June. I keep in shape and work out but am just starting to feel the differences. I would like to travel more and do things retired people do and he is in the thick of his work. We have always kept our finances independent. We own our house together and our autos. Even though I have friends and am somewhat of an artist; I still miss him not being around more. Good to see your blog and hear what is going on with you.

  4. Wow. You're just starting to feel the differences? You must be in such great physical health! Thanks for writing about the differences that come when one parter retires and the other is still deep in career. I do wonder how our lives will change when Sheri retires. It's difficult to anticipate, and I think we'll be surprised no matter how much we try to figure it out in advance. Still, I look forward to her having more time with her writing, which is her art form, and I look forward to coming home from work and learning what she's made.