There are many reasons why I pity the poor shmuck who ends up legally bound to me till death do us part. In fact, I’ll probably make that list the basis of an entirely different post. But one of them is because I’ve based my idea and expectations of what marriage is truly like off nothing but pop culture. There are countless songs, movies, books, board games, and television programs that have contributed to this hilariously naive picture of marriage I’ve got in my head, never mind the socially constructed fallacy of monogamous relationships that we are subjected to from birth. However! There is one TV show that I’m convinced was the catalyst of it all. Home Improvement.
Since I’m getting to the age where I should be possibly thinking about marriage as a realistically upcoming event in 5-7 years, I’ve decided to go ahead and burst my own bubble, separating Home Improvement from Real Fucking Life.
Home Improvement: A husband is a manly man, who has a successful career doing something he’s insatiably passionate about. His career provides a certain amount of social status, yet he remains as humble and down-to-earth as ever. As the host of a popular syndicated television show, he is obviously home in time for dinner every single night. As in touch as he is with his manly side, he remains fit, pulled together and reasonably attractive for a man his age. A husband is a brute; rough and tough, but never crosses the line from machismo to misogyny.
Real Fucking Life: Your husband spends more time rubbing down his car in the garage than your neglected body in the bedroom. When he finally comes upstairs at 1:30 a.m., he omits a strangely erotic scent of the dinner you left on the table, grease, wood chips and warm Budweiser. He wants some action, so he intimately takes your hand and puts it directly down his pants. (PS – You have to swallow.) (PPS – He doesn’t eat much fruit.)
Home Improvement: Your social circle consists of:
- Other happy couples.
- A wise and friendly neighbour.
- Your husband’s unmarried and somewhat shy co-host
- A conveniently beautiful Tool Time Girl who remains as platonic and non-flirtatious as every other single, 20-something year old blonde you know.
Real Fucking Life:
- They’re swingers.
- He’s a pedophile who never shows his face.
- He’s gay and trying to steal your husband.
- He banged her after they taped their first episode.
Home Improvement: Couples disagree, argue and even fight – it’s healthy! Money matters, raising three children and the in-laws will always be a source of tension between two people who have fused their lives into one. But in the end, your husband always realizes his mistake and apologizes in the most adorable way, still keeping his status as head of the household in tact. (PS – Conflicts are always resolved in a day!)
Real Fucking Life: He hates your family (save for maybe your hotter, younger sister). He’s secretly jealous you make more money than him. Your third child was a mistake and you’ve never forgiven him for it. One time, you didn’t speak for three weeks after having a fight about how to fold towels. Oh, and PS – he only said he was sorry so you would SHUT UP.
Home Improvement: You’re blessed with three boys – unique, witty, and amazingly and self-sufficient for their ages. They occasionally need some “tough love” but there’s nothing better for dealing with teenagers than a good old sit-down with their pops who can really speak to them man-to-man, or if they’re feeling emotional, a big hug from mom.
Real Fucking Life: ONE. GIRL. That’s all you wanted. Just one.
Sigh. This has been HARD! Jill Taylor, you are my HERO. I’ve learned a lot though. I hope you have too. I should also mention that part of Home Improvement being such an integral part of my social upbringing is due to the fact that my first ever practice-kissing-with-your-pillow-in-case-you-ever-actually-meet-him crush was Jonathan Taylor Thomas, a.k.a the middle child Randy Taylor, a.k.a J.T.T, a.k.a the name obsessively scribbled in pen and/or white out all over my grade 7 binder. In fact, I even wrote him a letter via his fan club that I’m 99% sure my mother still has and will probably bust out AT my actual wedding.
I wish I could quit you,