By Sarah Mansheim
Managing Editor • Mountain Messenger
I can’t breathe.
You probably can’t either. I can’t claim to know too much about pollen and other allergens, and why everyone is sneezing right now, but I can tell you that yesterday, my car was covered in yellow dust and today, I can’t breathe.
My head feels heavy and there is an inkling of soreness in my throat. I really want to take a nap, and it’s not even 8 a.m. This morning, I took a whole Zyrtec instead of the half pill I usually take. I know. Things are getting wild at the Mansheim residence.
My poor husband, bless his heart, absolutely lives on Benadryl. He’s a woodworker, so between seasonal allergies and sawdust, he has got one of the worst cases of nasal allergies I’ve ever seen. He carries paper towels in his pocket. I think it’s disgusting, but, I’m sure he’d say that I do disgusting things too, like, you know, how I walk around being so amazing every damn day of my life.
But, here’s the thing. My allergy pills are prescription. His are over the counter. Why? Because I go to the doctor. But he, as an honorary member of the Al Bundy NO MA’AM club – whose mission, other than hatin’ the wimmins, is to always be tough and never be vulnerable, no matter what – refuses to go to the doctor.
“I can’t afford to take the time to go to the doctor.”
Okay. I’m so glad we pay upwards of $460 a month for health insurance so he can refuse to go to the doctor.
He also refuses to get his haircut more than twice a year. Again, too busy and important to take care of himself. This means that about every six months, you’ll see my husband walking down the street blowing his nose into a paper towel, his hair sticking out at all angles, texturized by sawdust, looking like maybe he should have a little stay in the state hospital psychiatric unit. That’s usually when I put my foot down and drag him to the WalMart hair salon and order him up a Man’s Cut.
“Did you know,” he asked me yesterday morning in the kitchen, “that some guys go and get their haircut every week? How do they even have any hair left?”
And I said, gently, so as to coax him into thinking that maybe, after twelve weeks, it was time for him to consider going to the barber shop, “Well, yeah, that is a bit extreme, but maybe you could stand to get your hair tidied up just a little bit…”
Of course, at that moment my younger daughter interrupted with, “Yeah! And you should have them trim your nose hairs, too. They’re sticking way out!”
Well, that shut the conversation down. He puffed up his chest in defiance of all this fancy, female energy, knocked back a couple of Benadryl, and said, “I don’t need a haircut. I look great.”
And that, my friends, is the dichotomy of the feminine and the masculine right there. Imagine, ladies, if your family members told you your hair was a mess and you had nose hairs sticking out. If you were like me, you’d probably take to bed with self-loathing, your mind playing the record of “never good enough” and “I really need to lose a few pounds too.”
A man, on the other hand, faces such criticism with absolute disdain. “Pssshhh,” he says, “I’m fine just the way I am.” And then he ambles out the door with total confidence, climbs into his beat up pickup truck, blows his nose into a Tudor’s Biscuit World napkin and heads out into a world built just for him.
And so it goes. No doctor appointment. No hair appointment. Just focused determination to get though the day, get stuff done and finish it off with a cold beer. I’m serious: they’d live in caves if it weren’t for us.
And to this I say, so be it. But, please, if nothing else, keep that life insurance policy active, because if you’re not going to take care of yourself while you’re alive, you’re sure as hell going to take care of me after you’re gone. And, about that hair…