Dave Barry: The things we do for love

The Miami HeraldFebruary 8, 2011 

If a man truly loves a woman, he will do anything for her. He will attempt to unclog a toilet. He will kill a spider armed only with a magazine. (I mean the man is armed with the magazine; the spider is usually unarmed.) He will leave the woman sleeping comfortably in bed at 5:37 a.m. while he takes the dog out and stands around shivering while the dog, which only seconds earlier was DESPERATE to get out, conducts a meticulous 20-minute inch-by-inch nasal survey of the entire yard before selecting precisely the right spot upon which to make weewee.

Yes, love will make a man do many things. But sometimes a man’s love is sorely tested by a woman. Here I am using the term “a woman” in the sense of “my wife.” Recently, out of the blue, she asked me to do something that was truly repugnant to me, something that violates one of the two fundamental moral principles by which I have lived my life (the other one is, never drink light beer).

She asked me to go to a Barry Manilow concert.

Now before I get a lot of hate mail, let me stress that I think Barry Manilow is a very talented entertainer who has written some terrific songs. Mandy, for example. I’ve always liked that one. Another Manilow song I like is the one where he sings about . . . no, wait, that’s Mandy. So for me, the sweet spot of the Manilow catalog pretty much consists of Mandy. If Barry did a concert where he came on stage, sang Mandy, then did an encore consisting of Mandy, then left, I’d have no problem with it. I’m just not a fan of the rest of his work. Many times I have very nearly fractured my right forefinger stabbing the car radio to make it stop playing Copacabana.

My wife, of course, LOVES Barry Manilow. So does her mother. As you have no doubt deduced, both my wife and her mother are women, as is roughly 167 percent of the Barry Manilow fan demographic, which also tends to be middle-aged (defined as “between 40 and 135 years old”). They love Barry because he’s nice, and his songs are romantic, and they know them all, and they can sing them along with Barry. All night! To every song! Really loud! Right into their husband’s ear!

Thank God we went to a bar first. While there, we ran into a couple we know; the husband and I suggested that we’d just stay at the bar and watch basketball on TV, then pick the ladies up after the concert.

“Ha ha!” laughed the ladies, who truly thought we were kidding.

To read the complete column, visit www.miamiherald.com.

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