Jennifer Ammoscato

Aspiring author. Successful chocoholic. Debut novel "Dear Internet: It's Me, Avery." May 2014

Dear Men Everywhere: Say it in your head first

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The other day, when my adoring husband looked into my eyes and said, “I love you,” I replied to that man of mine, “Love you more.”

And he said, “Probably.”

Excuse me? What the frick does that mean?

Me: “What the frick does that mean?”

Him: “You know I’m just kidding.”

Me: “The only answer you could have given that would have been worse than the idea that I probably love you more than you love me would have been, ‘Yes, you’re correct. You love me far more than I love you. I win.’”

Him: “You’re not seriously angry are you?”

Me: “I’m going have to get you that book.”

The book I refer to is called, “Know What to Say to Your Wife (or Significant Other) So That She Doesn’t Want to Take A Sharp Object to Your Favourite (Insert Sports Team You Love Here) Shirt…Or A Valued Part of Your Anatomy.”

It’s a sort of men’s survival guide for terrain that’s far more challenging than say, the Mojave desert or even the Everglades without bug repellent. Bah. Those are child’s play. This book takes you inside a woman’s mind.

Chapter 1 is called, “Things You Should Never Say to Your Wife Unless You’re Bored of Living” (also known as “White Lies My Father Should Have Told Me”. It teaches men how to avoid such conversational pitfalls as:

“Do you really think you should have seconds?”

“Your haircut doesn’t look that bad.”

“That’s not the way my mom makes it.”

Any of these are grounds for divorce. And, possibly, the means for her lawyer to plead that first-degree murder charge down to justifiable homicide.

Chapter 2 focuses on mindreading—something that would be of great benefit in the following situations:

“What do you mean you didn’t know that I wanted you to pick up the dry cleaning? Do I have to do everything around here?” (Warning: Just to give you a sporting chance, I’ll tell you that this is a rhetorical question. DO NOT ANSWER!)

“How could you not know that when I said I didn’t care what movie we went to, I meant I wanted to see the one that didn’t involve explosions? You don’t know me at all.”

“I needed you to give me a hug an hour ago and you didn’t. You don’t love me.” (Note: this one usually comes once a month around the same time. Figure it out and, for God’s sake, be proactive. Buy chocolate. And maybe a bottle of wine.)

Chapter 3 is about how sweetly telling a woman that you love her for herself and don’t want her to change involves roughly the same degree of danger as walking into a bear trap.

This is what you say: “You look beautiful just the way you are.”

This is what she hears: “You look like a cow now but I’ll keep you around for your pot roast recipe. Even if it’s not as good as the one my mom makes.”

To tell you the truth, my husband is a smart man and knows me pretty well.

But if I ever did give him the book, then he wouldn’t have to guess why I just sighed so deeply that he doesn’t know if I’m contemplating whether life has any meaning. Or if I should grow out my hair.

So he’ll probably give me a hug just to cover all bases.  Why would I give up that?

Jennifer Ammoscato is the author of “Dear Internet: It’s Me, Avery” which will debut on May 28, 2014.

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Love me, love my dog (or how my husband ruined a perfectly well-trained pooch)

Some days I suspect that my husband married me for my dog. (Oh, sorry, our dog).

When Riley the Wonder Lab met my then-boyfriend, she growled. Then she sniffed a little harder, smelled “Sucker”, and thus began their unspoken agreement. He loves her unconditionally and she lets him. (Yes, yes, darling, of course she loves you too. I’m just making a point.)

Each day, late in the afternoon, Riley lies by the front door, gazes through its glass panels and keeps watch on the house while waiting for her hero to come home.

And, each day, late in the afternoon, she barks like the killer that she thinks she is when his car pulls into the driveway. The death growl ends the moment she hears the garage door open.

At that point, her brain is overwhelmed with the possibilities that my husband’s arrival brings. As he progresses through the house from family room to hall closet to kitchen, she is his happy, wagging shadow. What cupboard door will he open? What magic awaits?

“Does my puppy want a treat?”

That’s like asking if a woman plagued by PMS wants chocolate. (No, I’m not comparing women to dogs. I’m just making a point!)

It won’t stop there. She will lie by her food dish, knowing that he will sprinkle his special brand of awesome on her dinner too. “Care for some steak and eggs with that kibble, puppy?” (Okay, that was my idea. Bad habits rub off. I’m just making a point.)

Riley has become so accustomed to my husband’s willingness to make her meals exciting, that no matter how great they taste to begin with, she’ll eat some and then back away to see what else he’ll do to lure her. He finally began just pretending to add something to the dish by gesturing over it.

And she falls for it. (I love her but she’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer.)

After dinner, she has us (really him) trained to let her out and, when she comes back inside, fetch her a cookie. Once in a while, my husband, tired at the end of a long day, will look to me to do it. No dice.

“You created the monster, you can deal with it.” Before he came along, she had no concept of being fed right from the table, jumping on the couch (that I knew of), or chicken piccata. Now, she’s living the life of…well…Riley.

He pretends to complain about her demanding nature and then scratches her head and rubs her tummy. (Come to think of it, similar to how he deals with his wife.)

In fact, sometimes, I’m not sure who he’s talking about. Not long ago, we were sitting on the couch, the dog at our feet, enjoying the fireplace.

Him: “Hello, beautiful.”

Me: “You’re talking to the dog, aren’t you?”

Him: “I think you’re beautiful, too, dear.”

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