The man was impatiently tapping his fingers on the glass counter as he watched his wife shop. The shop assistant was obviously annoyed and asked the gentleman to take a seat. The man sighed as he reluctantly obliged.
Since he was sitting next to me, I thought I should say something appropriate. They want our money but they don't want us around, I told him. His face lit up and he said, "we are just cheque bearers. Are you in the same position?" I nodded as I watched my wife going through the rituals of selection.
The third man in that same seating area was better prepared. He had a newspaper to pass the time. Ten minutes later, the wife returned with a trolley and with the flick of her index finger, gestured to her husband to make his money available.
When women go shopping, needless to say, everything else stops. Spending is something that is never in the list of men's priorities. Even for a busy professional woman, juggling family and work does not provide enough activity in her life.
To women, spending money is a way of life. It is the easy way out of depression and an outlet for frustration. Women never admit that but to men it is very obvious. Because men rarely have the compulsion of parting with their money, women find this trait a general weakness. When women talk about good housekeeping, they mean getting a fair share of the purse. What is the use of having a few thousands in the bank doing nothing at all? The rainy day is always here and it is absurd to wait for a storm that may never come.
One woman, after a heated brawl with her partner, said that men should be taught domestic accounting at school. Home financial planning is more important for men to understand than the office set up.
More than half of the marriages that end up on the rocks are due to conflict over the family funds. It is always a bitter tussle when deciding the direction of income: towards the bank or the shop? There is no third option. There never was. Marital harmony, to many couples, stands on the pillar of constant flow of cash. Husbands win the home front battle that way if they are willing to compromise on their money tactics. Wives know how to manoeuvre the war and the flag of truce has only one colour and design.
Earlier this week, one clever lady claiming she had the latest but very expensive cooking pots for sale, wanted my wife at the demonstration. My wife obliged and this lady insisted that she sign a booking order, saying that she would handle the husband later about the payment. She uses that tactic to make quick sales, making sure husbands are not around to say no. Being a woman, she knows how it goes. No wonder most men have secret accounts and they leave the bank details at the office. The only problem is that when they die, only the secretary knows the whereabouts of the stashed cash. Some men are so clever that they convince the wife that they handover the entire pay package to them. That way, men can relax and let their wives sweat it out with the domestic operations. At the same time, they would have their hidden cash pile up in the bank.
They would say it is good contingency plan to have a cash reserve away from the reach of the wife. When she finds out, the woman would only have one answer. There is a mistress somewhere taking hold of the contingency. Who could blame her?