Jewish World Review Oct. 18, 2004 / 3 Mar-Cheshvan, 5765
Finnish man shows that husbands have hidden worth
With utter disregard to what he may be doing to the institution of marriage, a Finnish man has opened a rent-a-husband business.
For $25 an hour, Petteri Ikonen will baby sit, change a light bulb or even give your teenager driving lessons. (Ikonen's services might not be such a bargain for American women, since you'd have to throw in his round-trip airfare, but then again it's hard to say what price a woman might be willing to pay to have her bathrooms cleaned.)
This is not the first time that someone has come up with the idea of husband renting, but Ikonen believes Finnish men have an edge.
"The guy who starts to do this has to be responsible and have a good sense of humor, have good manners, be good with his hands," Ikonen says. "He has to be all that a typical good Finnish husband is. Sensitive and tender, talks all issues through."
I think I speak for all American husbands when I say that I hate Petteri Ikonen. There is no place in this country for husbands who voluntarily take out the trash, let alone sing serenades or listen attentively as their wives describe their harrowing experience at Wal-Mart.
As an American husband of long standing, I have many useless qualities that I would be willing to rent out for at least one dollar less per hour than Ikonen. For example:
Changing a light bulb. This task is far more complex than it seems. First, there is the matter of locating the replacement light bulb. At my house, some replacement bulbs are located under the sink and some are located in the garage. Sorting out the logistics of this could take weeks. Requests for replacement of any bulb that requires complicated tools such as a ladder or a screwdriver must be made at least a year in advance. This pretty much guarantees that some other home-repair issue, such as roof replacement, will supersede and the matter will be forgotten.
Picture hanging. Despite what home-improvement TV would suggest, almost all amateur handyman jobs result in, at best, a gaping hole in the wall, and, at worst, a fishtailing ride to the emergency room in the back of an ambulance. After many bad experiences with hammers and nails, I now attach pictures to the wall with the help of duct tape and glue. The result leaves something to be desired in the sense of attractiveness, but as far as permanence goes, it can't be beat.
Driving lessons. Anyone who offers to teach your teenager to drive for only $25 an hour should immediately be suspected of involvement in some sort of scam. By the time my father had succeeded in getting me my driver's license, he had regressed from a youthful, active adult into a jittery, white-haired individual with a three-pack-a-day Camel habit. While napping, he could be seen stomping the air with his right foot in a subconscious attempt to mash the brake pedal. I could have won the Nobel Prize for finding a cure for cancer and, at the awards ceremony, my father would have stood up and said, "Yes, well, let us hope that someday he will learn to parallel park."
So, in conclusion, you cannot put a price on a husband's work.
Assuming he does any.
Which is part of his charm.
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JWR contributor David Grimes is a columnist for The Sarasota Herald Tribune. Comment by clicking here.
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