The Journal Gazette
Saturday, January 22, 2022 1:00 am

Giving - and getting - the brush-off

Toothpaste is the right answer surprisingly often

Frank Hill

Toothpaste can lead to pneumonia. It's true. I learned this when I asked my wife how to remove a toothpaste stain from a flannel shirt.

Becky said when that happens I should remove the stained article of clothing immediately, dampen a cloth and try to remove the stain.

As always, I follow her advice. A problem occurred one day when I dribbled toothpaste on both my shirt and my slacks. How, you ask? While brushing my teeth, I hurried to a room where a televised basketball game was in progress. I needed to know exactly how IU was faring.

I dribbled toothpaste more than the players dribbled the basketball. Off with the shirt and pants. I shivered in our chilly house. Not only that, my wife said I looked stupid in my underwear running from the bathroom to the TV room.

I said, “Why do I look stupid? I am wearing an undershirt and shorts. That is essentially what those basketball players are wearing. Do they look stupid?”

Her answer clarified that she was not my girlfriend. A girlfriend would have said, “You look so cute when you do stupid things.”

For the moment, forget the toothpaste issue. Just assume we are getting ready to go to a nice restaurant for dinner. It is one of those fancy restaurants that doesn't have televisions strategically placed so you can watch an athletic event while you eat.

An advantage of such a restaurant is that your wife will not say, “You never say anything. Talk to me.” In such restaurants I always talk. At one hoity-toity place, I specifically recall talking with the maitre d'. I asked, “Do you have a table where I can see a television during dinner?”

Assume that sometimes I do spring for a restaurant so nice it does not have televisions scattered around. On those occasions, before we leave home, my wife will say, “You're not wearing that, are you?”

Men, one way you can avoid such awkward discussions is to brush your teeth before going to the restaurant. However ... and here is the key ... get dressed before you brush your teeth. Then splash toothpaste on the only clean shirt and slacks you have.

Try to conceal the stains on your clothing as you go to that fancy restaurant. After dessert, you can complain to the manager that your server spilled alfredo sauce on your nice outfit and your meal should be free. This might embarrass your wife, but at least you will be fully clothed.

At this point your wife will say, “I can't take you anywhere. We may as well go home and watch a good romantic movie.”

Now you are thinking you almost had the perfect plan. Going on the offense, you tell your wife you have seen every romantic movie ever made two or three times.

Your wife says, “Haven't you watched 'Hoosiers' and 'Field of Dreams' eleventy-leven times?”

Back home, you are shivering as you stand there in your underwear, rubbing water on your clothes. With luck, you will get pneumonia, and your wife will be forced to show sympathy for you.

Without the appropriate concern for your well-being, your wife risks being criticized by friends when she meets them for coffee. However, your wife is not too worried. Your health will be the last thing the women want to discuss. They probably prefer discussing which toothpaste does the best whitening job on teeth.

Discuss you? Men, you really are out of touch. Wives do not waste time talking about us. They are meeting for lunch and eating salads. They are walking the dog while they listen to motivational speakers on their cell phones.

Men, I point out these things because I care about you. So here are some tips.

You know those crackers and salsa you inhale? Think wastebasket.

You know that cute kid who said you remind him of his grandfather? Think about climbing stairs instead of using the elevator.

You know that neighbor boy who always asks if you need him to shovel your driveway? Say yes. You could get pneumonia in that cold air. You're underdressed. You just brushed your teeth.

Frank Hill is a Fort Wayne resident.

Share this article

Email story

Subscribe to our newsletters

* indicates required