It’s as inevitable as the changing of the seasons, as predictable as the ebb and flow of the tides, as constant as the sunrise in the morning. It is its own force of nature, but with a human voice – the daily cry from the upstairs bedroom: “Honey, I can’t find my glasses!”
Did I see them? Did I move them? Did I take them? I must have, otherwise they would be exactly where he left them, wherever that was. So I go upstairs, trying to ignore the implication that somehow this is all my fault, and help him retrace his steps. When did he last have them? What did he do after that? Where has he already searched? The answer to the last question is less than helpful, of course, because he could never find his glasses without his glasses. “Oh, look,” I say as I lift the newspaper to reveal the glasses, “they just crawled right under here.”
Okay, so I exaggerate. It’s not always the glasses. Another morning it was “The Case of the Missing Letter.” The letter in question had vanished from the exact spot (so sure was he) where it had been placed. “The housekeeper must have moved it,” he said, in a manner that suggested she had no business rearranging any of his valuable documents, even if they were carelessly strewn around the room. I assured him that it couldn’t have been her because the housekeeper is, in fact, terrified of the stacks of paper that clutter the top of his desk, and doesn’t enter his office at all. Instead she stands at the doorway with a long-handled duster and leans in as far as she can. Then, once again, engaging my highly evolved feminine search techniques, I find the letter, which has miraculously walked across the room, climbed up the table leg, and laid itself down near the telephone. How else could it have possibly gotten there?
It must be wonderful to be filled with such certainty that you are incapable of erring, of slipping up, of actually losing something all on your own. I wouldn’t know. I am only a woman, and not possessed of male DNA. But I am becoming more convinced that this is an age-old issue that, in fact, might have, vexed Eve as she helped Adam search for his fig leaf, the loss of which was something else to blame on the snake. (Poor thing, but then, who else was there?)
I admit that I waste a lot of time thinking about this, time I could be spending looking for his vanished credit card (which I probably removed from his billfold and used to go shopping, even though I have a card of my own), or the golf club that was definitely in the trunk of the car. But I believe I have finally figured out the logic behind the attitude. It goes like this:
Flawless men don’t lose or misplace things
I am a flawless man
Therefore if I can’t find something, it’s someone else’s fault.
This syllogism, though specious at best, then becomes the basis for the following:
“There’s only one glove. Who took the other one?”
“I couldn’t have lost that expensive umbrella. I don’t
do things like that.”
“I distinctly remember packing my raincoat. Why
isn’t it here?”
As irritating as this outlook can be, I actually feel sorry for men. Being flawless can put such pressure on a person. Perhaps all perfect males would follow the example set by some of our congressional leaders, and sign a pledge. They would vow to lower their expectations and accept their human foibles. I’m sure my husband would be willing to add his name – just as soon as he figures out who took his pen.