Friday, November 16, 2012

The Dreaded Husband Bench

I mentioned the "husband bench" in my last post. Now every guy knows what I'm talking about. But since I have very few male followers, I thought I'd clue women in. (And, yeah, I'll be giving out lots of secret guy things in the future, ladies. Just consider it a bonus for reading my blog).

The "husband bench" is always a very uncomfortable piece of plastic situated near the exit of department stores. Cold and sterile, the architects were no fools when they built it. The intention is to get the non-shopper out of the way so the shopper of the couple--straight, gay, doesn't matter--can do loads of shopping, unimpeded by the whining other half.

I imagine in the department store board-room meetings, Mr. Big-Time Department Store Magnate screams to his lackeys, "Make the bench as uncomfortable as possible! We need to keep shoppers moving in and out like cattle to the slaughter-house!" It's what makes America great.

My last visit to the "husband bench" was an eye-opening, yet soul-deadening experience. I took my seat, my back cold against the wall. Next to me, a tired looking man in a ball-cap eyeballed me, nodded, and we both went back to studying our feet. Soon, Ball-Cap's eyes lit up. His time in purgatory was over as his significant other approached, bags in hands. I gave him a farewell smile (but not too big, because I knew my tenure in tedium had just begun). It was time for a changing of the guard. The torch had been passed to me.

A young guy strutted up, full of energy and cockiness, and plopped down next to me. Didn't take long for his youthful vigour to slip into anguished mental pleas to the unfair gods to deliver him from this cruel fate. It was like watching air slip out of a balloon. He looked at me--the elder statesman of the bench--and I gave him a knowing nod, signifying that yes, this his hell, but soon it would all be over. Unless, there was a sudden announced blue-light special in aisle four or something.

After an eternity, celestial trumpets sounded! A glorious spotlight framed my wife, rounding the corner! I turned to the young guy and said, "now, you're in charge." He understood.

Later, I thought about this. And from my simple, yet agonizing, visit to the husband bench, my future series of suspense thrillers was born. It's too early to talk about it much, but the books begin with the meeting of two men on a "husband bench." But more about that later.


  1. Stuart, loved the musing of the "husband bench" and look forward to your inspired story. Just goes to show that opportunities are everywhere; there's a story in anything, we just need to always be aware of our surrounding. BUT, the get even with wife technique is to leave a large note on the bench that reads "Honey, you can find me over in the Victories Secret store. I'll be in the panty/thong section." You'll never have to tag along again. You may pay the price for your indiscretions...BUT it'll be so worth it...and the "husband bench" shall remain empty. LOVE YA! Cyndi

  2. Hi, Cyndi! Learned my lesson long ago that Victoria's Secret is NOT the way to get out of shopping (when we pass it, I've learned the talent of corner-eyed viewing while appearing totally enthralled with shopping). Neither is Hooter's. Don't worry. This ain't no anti-woman set of books. Both of the characters I'm envisioning are single. I was just so bored, I wondered what could happen on the husband bench that might be interesting. And I moved the bench to the mall. Other than that, I just launched a forthcoming series outta' my boredom!

  3. Hahaha...that was a great read. My husband is well acquainted with the "husband bench".

  4. Hi Tammy! The husband bench is a destination we men know oh too well. Tell him he's in my thoughts and good luck.

  5. Cute post. I loved reading it. Alas,my husband never went shopping with me so he never knew the 'joy' of using the bench. Can't wait until your book is out. You have a nice voice that will be appealing in your novel.

  6. Thanks for the kind words, Lorrie. Make your husband go shopping with you. Tell him there's a very special bench with his name on it. Persuade him it's just like the sofa.

    My first book is a YA paranormal thriller. But, yeah, even though he's a teen, it's still me. It wrote like friggin' butter (um, not sure that metaphor works but you know what I'm saying).