My husband has been traveling quite a bit the last couple of years. A few interstate trips as well as Chile, Dubai, Russia, Canada and Germany. Now, pre-kids, it would have been all “I miss you” and lots of phone sex, but with two little people its an entirely different kettle of shit. It means early starts, lonely evenings, late nights, tears and tantrums and always running late. To childcare, to work, to events, always late.
So when my husband informs me of yet another trip (always in a public place where he is safe from my wrath), my reaction is always 1. FUUUUUCCCCCKKKKK, and then, because I am nothing if not industrious, 2. How can I make this work for me?
There’s an episode of Seinfeld where George laments the lack of hand in his relationship. “We all want the hand. Hand is tough to get.” At any given point in a relationship, one person has more hand than the other – they’re holding the power. To switch things around, George attempts a pre-emptive breakup. They stay together, but now, “Jerry, let me tell you something, a man without hand is not a man. I got so much hand I’m coming out of my gloves!”
And as Andrew’s frequent flyer points accrue, so too does my hand. I got so much hand its coming out of my new Oroton bag, paired beautifully with that lovely new Gorman dress, that I’ll be wearing on my solo weekend away (between drinking expensive champagne and getting full body massages).
Now, working out just how much Hand you have can be complex, and will vary between individuals and couples. The critical thing here is to agree on a set value and terms of hand points. As a general guide, these are mine:
|Work trip < 3 days: 1 hand point
Work trip > 4 days: 6 hand points
Work trip > 8 days: 10 hand points, plus 1 hand point for every additional day
Solo night out with friends, home by 12am: 1 hand point
Solo night out with friends, home after 12am: 3 hand points, plus 1 hand point for every hour after 3am
Either work trip or night out that ends up at a strip club because “it was the only place open”: as many points as I fucking feel like.
Of course, a good relationship is a flowing ocean of compromise, patience and kindness. You support each other unconditionally, and know more than anything you two are team. But if one half of the team is sipping on scotch and getting a goddamn lapdance while the other is on her third load of post-gastro laundry, well, friends, that’s when you have hand.