June 22, 2011

Dear Big Man in Binghamton,

If it’s only a matter of not wanting to waste money, then I would say you should splurge and buy everyone a business-class ticket as long as you can honestly afford it. Your children are not second-class citizens, and making them sit separately from you—in the “back of the bus,” as it were—could have negative psychological effects on them. Simply because they are smaller in stature does not mean their feelings are half as strong or important as yours; actually it is quite the opposite. Even a three-year-old can tell the difference between a big seat and a small seat whether they “need” the space or not.

If you live on a budget and it would be a stretch to buy four more business-class tickets, tell them daddy has to go sit in the big-people seats and leave it at that. Tell them that when they get tall enough or fat enough they can travel up in the big-people seats with you. Your wife knows both the size of your belly and the size of your wallet, so as long as she doesn’t act like a spoiled, bitter bitch, you may be able to get away with your suggested seating arrangements. Nonetheless, I strongly suggest you take her out for a nice dinner when you get to your destination.



Dear Delphi,

I grew up in a very devout Catholic family. We all went to Catholic school during the weekdays, confession every Saturday night, and Mass every Sunday. My wife, on the other hand, was only ever expected to go to church on Christmas and Easter. We now have children and I want them to go to church every Sunday. My wife is not against the idea, but she never wants to go. Suggestions?

—Believer in Providence

Dear Believer in Providence,

Instead of waiting for your wife to get with the program, what’s stopping you from taking the children to church yourself? If you’re the one who goes to church, you should be the one who takes them to church. Whichever parent knows the most about a subject is the one who should be teaching it to the kids. “Go with what you know,” as they say. It wouldn’t make much sense for you to teach your daughter how to throw a football or for your wife to teach your son how to apply makeup. Then again, I don’t know your family. If you love Sunday morning Mass and your wife just wants to sleep late, then you should tuck her in, kiss her goodbye, and take the kids to church. I’ll bet your wife will follow your lead and be sitting alongside the pews with the rest of you in no time flat.

The worst-case scenario is you take the children to church every Sunday and she never comes with you to church. In that case, is it more important to save her jaded heathen soul or to save your innocent children from the fires of hell?

If you are one of those men who cannot do an activity with the children unless your wife organizes it for you—i.e., buying the tickets, renting the car, booking the hotel, or simply getting the kids dressed—then think up ways to get her on the weekly program. If she won’t do it simply because it is very important to you, my first suggestion would be instill fear in her—fear of God, fear of you leaving, or fear of you retaliating. You decide which brand of fear will work best—even better, try all three.



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