Many of us have a husband, the main man, the guy who puts the “community” into property. However, like most artists, this husband, we’ll call him the Star, can be as quirky and moody as Johnny Depp. This Star often refuses to do his own stunts. Begging him because the close-up will look more realistic is pointless. The tabloids are rife with stories of Star husbands who refused to show up for museum openings, the formal wedding of a second cousin and that class in Hindu weaving. The average wife however, should not accept the lame excuse, “I’ll be in my trailer” or “I have to practice for a big scene at the office tomorrow.” The average woman just wants someone else to pay for drinks.
I suggest that you do not attempt to cajole the Star to work beyond his limited range – get a stunt.
For instance, you probably contracted with the Star husband before you realized he couldn’t dance. After carefully editing the wedding video so it looks as if the Star was dancing with the bride for longer than 90 seconds, many average wives figured they better find a good substitute because there are many scenes in the average life that require dancing. Women who like to dance do not wait around for the Star to act like Richard Gere: figure out dancing is romantic, take private lessons, and surprise her one evening at the local beer hall with his new moves. The Star Husband would never think to do that because he refuses to watch the dozen or so films that would show him how.
Wedding Stunts are the easiest to find. The average woman often has access to a brother-in-law who loves to dance and has the stamina to do dancing scenes with two women. Most Star husbands regard the missed opportunity to do the Chicken Dance with great serenity. Saved from certain tragedy on the dance floor, the Star sits on the sidelines, smiles for the photographer and drinks another martini while the stunt double steps in and steps out. Payment for this work usually comes in six packs.
Stunts are not limited to dancing. One average wife took her brand new star husband to the Modern Art Museum. He patiently trailed behind her while she exclaimed and appreciated many paintings that he secretly thought were silly but since the honeymoon wasn’t quite over, he held his tongue. It wasn’t until they happened across a magnificent hanging Calder mobile that he balked, then had a flash of inspiration. He claimed that in San Francisco, standing under something like a mobile was dangerous. The slightest the slightest tremor would cause the artwork to crash down and crush him. It was too great a risk.
“No,” he said, “I can’t put you through that kind of anguish.” Thus, he concluded, no more Modern Art Museums visits for the Star.
It was brilliant. Feeling he was in the zone and now would be a good time to continue contract negotiations. Those season tickets to the ballet? He was very concerned with the relative height of the balcony seats in the War Memorial Opera house.
“Those seats are pretty high up, he said, “a star could lose his footing and tumble to his death you know.”
“Yes,” she mused, “a Star could tumble to his death. But it would be quick. ”
(Plus he had just re-written all the insurance polices in her favor, but that is another conversation, for today, we are concentrating on keeping the Star husband around.)
So what did this average wife do? Did she insist her husband shape up and love all that she loved? Did she drag the Star to every program during the season just so he could crinkle his program and complain loudly during program pauses that he just didn’t get it and why wasn’t anyone talking?
Nope. She found a Stunt.
This particular Stunt Husband had the added advantage of holding a lifetime contract with her as official best friend. Plus, he can dance.
This friend in fact, embodies all the important features and job competencies for the perfect Stunt Husband. He will never marry and become the Star husband in someone else’s life. His serious relationships will always accommodate a long time female friend who needs (and wants) escort to art events, window shopping at Restoration Hardware and to talk at length about esoteric ideas and concepts that to the human ear, sound a bit pretentious. He looked great in their high school 20th reunion photograph. He will always be single.
Stunt Husbands need to be single.
The Star husband, in turn, is delighted. Because of the Stunt work, the Star can stay at home indulging in celebrity appropriate activities; helping with the homework, cleaning the kitchen after making the dinner, picking up the house, watching tapes of season three of the Lost. All in the comfort of his Star quality environment, while the stunt husband braves the Grand Tier and buys his loaner wife expensive truffles during intermission.
As she matures, the average woman acquires a number of professional helpers in her life, hairdressers, manicurists, massage therapists, psychotherapists, color consults, lawyers, doctors, grips, best boys, why not a Stunt Husband as well?
The Stunt saves wear and tear on the Star, does dangerous deeds, like risking a chance encounter with a tipsy Benjamin Moore sculpture and the world premiere of Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz. The stunt can execute a scene in which the couple attempts to parallel park in Berkeley without damaging the relationship. The Stunt won’t discuss the specifics of the oldest child’s last report card or why the youngest child can’t manage to land the dishes in the dishwasher, they always fall short and stop at the counter. He doesn’t care, and in fact must be reminded of their ages. The stunt doesn’t even need the wardrobe mistress; he dresses for the part all by himself.
A good Stunt Husband ensures that the star relationship will always remain stable and satisfactory. For instance, when one average wife returned from a particularly fine ballet performance, thrilled with the exactitude of movement, thrilled with discussing the performance using really big words, the Star Husband raised his head and sleepily asked: “Who won?”
My recommendation is to keep the Star around because he matches the children and looks so good in the family Christmas photo. But for serious work in the arts, get a stunt.