My wife and I recently started golfing together. We figured it would be a fun way to be outdoors and do something we both enjoy. Her dad was her high school coach, and it turns out she is a great coach as well. While her handicap hovers around +8, she has helped me shave off 10 strokes from my game in the last year, which has landed me at a solid 18 over. She is also highly competitive, and she looks amazing in a golf skirt. This information is important for the story later.
I wanted to put my new skills to the test, so I joined a business scramble golf league, hoping I could also find a competitive edge within myself. I started to get to know many of the golfers around the course and would strike up small talk with them as we hung around the clubhouse, sharing stories of triumph and defeat at the 19th hole. I was starting to feel like “one of the guys.”
However, many times our scramble team would be short one player and we needed a sub, so my wife would fill in. And every Tuesday night I would witness the same thing. It would look something like this:
We would all meet on the first tee, shake hands and introduce ourselves. Then the men would hit. Some of the shots would garner a “Nice ball” or “That’ll work.” Some of the less desirable shots would be answered with “That’s not what you want.” Then my wife would walk up to her tee box and start lining up her shot. I can read the faces of the men perfectly every time. They clearly appreciated how amazing she looked in a golf skirt, but that was also coupled with a roll of the eyes and a slightly amused used smile at the thought of having to play 9 holes “with a girl.” Then my wife would swing the club with a soft grunt, and the ball would explode off the tee like a plane taking off. Subsequently, the men’s jaws would simultaneously drop, and I would inevitably hear someone whisper, “Holy s…” During the rest of the round, the guys would get very chummy with her, praising her for her golf skills, and borderline giddy watching her attack every shot, wanting to crush everyone in her path.
As my wife continued to sub in league, her reputation began to grow. I no longer was the one people wanted to see at the club house. If I showed up without her, I would get a smile and a handshake, quickly followed by “Is your wife here?” If the answer was yes, the smiles continued as they waited for her to walk up and join the conversation. But if the answer was no, the conversation abruptly stopped and the men would turn and find something else to interest them. She eventually was not labeled “my wife” anymore. It was replaced with me as “her husband.” Eventually she became the preferred sub for me, staying late and hanging out at the clubhouse, sharing stories after a round.
Now she is “one of the guys” and I am just “the guy with the cool wife.”
I can live with that.
Mark Johnson lives in the middle of Nebraska. He is the father of four, an elementary principal and addicted to Twitter. He golfs with his wife every week and has yet to beat her. It’s his #1 goal in life. You can follow him @mc_bossy.