It is not a fancy Health Club, nor is it a swank Golf and Country Club, and despite my shining melon, it is definitely not “The Hair Club for Men.” The club that I am speaking about is far more beneficial to one’s health and definitely more grassroots in nature. There are no membership fees or secret handshakes, yet the number of inductees into its bedraggled ranks is growing like wildfire.
The idea for this club was a direct result of taking early retirement at age 54. After 22 years of teaching Aircraft Mechanics at Centennial College I was ready to move on. At the retirement party held in the Aircraft Maintenance Hangar I made a short but sweet speech, stating, in my humble opinion, the three key ingredients to a happy retirement. Number One: make sure you are still smiling when you leave (no one likes a grumpy teacher). Number two: make sure you have plenty of hobbies to keep you busy. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, keep your wives working for as long as possible!
My male colleagues met this last piece of sage advice with uproarious applause. However there were more than a few scowling glances from the bouquet-wielding wives in attendance. Of course it was a good-hearted joke and fortunately my wife Irene has a healthy sense of humour. Ultimately, that was the moment when the seed was planted for the RDWWW. Or as I refer to it: the RD-Triple-W Club (Retired Dudes With Working Wives).
Surprisingly, in the six years since I retired I have come across quite a few of my friends that have also found themselves in this unique and enviable predicament. Some of my latest recruits include a retired police officer, an X-ray technician, a professional photographer, and even a Canadian air force captain. There are no barriers or segregation when it comes to our happy little club. Of course there are pros and cons to this singularly satisfying situation, and it can be prone with perilous pitfalls.
To have even a slim chance of becoming a successful candidate, the wives in question must really want to continue working for all the right reasons. Ideally they wish to continue because they truly love what they do. Otherwise this newfound freedom can easily generate petty jealousies, especially if the club member simply goofs off once his spouse departs for the realities of her working world.
The trick for each club member to excel in his new role is really quite simple. You must strive to become the ultimate househusband. Your goal must be to provide unwavering support to your woman in every way, ultimately providing her with a higher quality of life. This requires that you step up to the plate and cook dinner, dust, vacuum, do dishes, walk the dog, garden, maintain the house etc. etc. so that her “non-working” time is greatly enhanced and therefore much more relaxed. Okay, no one said being a member would be easy, but despite these “cons” there are still more than enough “pros” to make it worthwhile. If you are organized, you can intersperse your own agenda into your ongoing domestic chores. For me, restoring and riding vintage motorcycles is a pleasant retirement pastime that helps balance the boredom of dusting the bedroom furniture and unloading the dishwasher. You must, however, be diligent in arranging these activities into a cohesive, common sense order.
For example, don’t think you can rebuild the engine of a 1965 Honda Superhawk in the late afternoon and then squeeze in making a meatloaf for dinner. Switching rapidly from garage coveralls to a kitchen apron is not advisable and can make for some disastrous dinner conversation. Wife: “What is that rather unique flavour in the meatloaf dear? Sheepish response: “Hmmm, it could be vintage Honda.” In this particular case, saving the day might involve selecting the appropriate wine — perhaps a nice Pinot “Greasio.” But I digress.
As mentioned earlier, being a member of the RD-Triple-W is not for the faint of heart. If you have the ability to retire early and find yourself in this position, the club will welcome you with open arms. However, be aware that it is a very slippery slope to attain this level of domestic nirvana. Your masculinity may be challenged if caught exchanging recipes or discussing laundry detergents with other members over coffee at Tim Horton’s. Be prepared to explain the benefits of your situation, while simultaneously quoting sports statistics and the latest horsepower figures of the new Harley-Davidson Dyna Glide.
Part of your job is to lead by example. I’m not sure if he qualifies as an official member, but to quote the infamous Red Green: “Keep your stick on the ice; we’re all in this together” immediately springs to mind. No truer leadership words were ever spoken, and this could well serve as the mantra for our group. The RD-Triple-W needs you! Househusbands have a voice in this club, and because of that fact, we desperately need all the support we can get. Membership still has its privileges and it sure does beat the heck out of working. Believe me, I’m not just a member; I’m also the president!
About The Author
Sam enjoys life in Toronto, Ontario. For more published writing by Sam Longo, please visit www.samlongo.comView all articles by Sam Longo.