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Husbands-for-hire

Let’s face it; very few husbands are good at everything (even though they might argue otherwise). When it comes to home repairs, they usually fall into three categories: 1) those who tackle any project with ease; 2) those who think they can; and 3) those who call an electrician to change a light bulb.

“I definitely have my limitations and know pretty quickly if a job is beyond my abilities,” shared my refreshingly honest male coworker. “There’s a reason I’m still married after almost 25 years…I don’t do a lot of big projects if I can get away with it.”

Your other half may be a lot of things, but handyman isn’t necessarily one of them. Even if he’s willing and (somewhat) able, is it worth the time, aggravation and occasional expletive? Rather than pester him for another three years to put up that shelf you’ve been begging for since 2011, sometimes it’s just easier – and more conducive to a happy marriage — to go elsewhere.

I found myself secretly turning to another man this past fall. We were hosting a dinner party, and in my long overdue efforts to get our home “company ready,” I became obsessed with fixing the front porch, which had lost its battle with the elements (and a tenacious woodpecker).

My husband didn’t share my concern, considering everyone would be arriving under the cover of night and would probably not even see — much less care about — a few defaced pillars. Instead of forcing the issue and starting an argument, I simply took matters into my own hands. I snuck into the other room where my husband couldn’t hear me and I arranged to meet my STUD (Seriously Talented Unidentified Drywaller).

STUD is my husband-approved cheat. For a very reasonable price, he’ll fix all those pain-in-the-butt things that don’t necessarily require a home builder, yet can lead to a lengthy — and not necessarily welcomed — “Honey Do” list. I think my husband is actually relieved that there’s a STUD in my life to take off some of the pressure to perform.

But like most studs, this one gets around. His tool belt has been found on kitchen, bathroom and bedroom floors from West Falls to Williamsville. He even two-timed with one of my best friends. There was no use confronting him, though. After all, he told me right upfront that he could never be exclusive.

Luckily, there’s more than one stud in town. A friend of mine admitted needing her STUD fix two to three times a week after moving to a turn-of-the-century home in the country almost ten years ago.

“It was one unexpected and ugly mess after another, and I can’t believe the guy kept coming back. Thank God he did, because my husband would have gotten totally frustrated,” she said. Once she felt so badly about the grueling hours her STUD put in on a sweltering summer day that she invited him to stay and have a beer poolside when he was done. “I figured I owed him one.”

But while sharing a beverage after a hard day’s work is harmless, it seems that some workers have been enticed to jump-start more than the latest home improvement project.

One Buffalo-area contractor recalled a young mother who was scantily clad every time he and his guys came to work. That is, until her husband showed up unannounced.

Another recalled how the wife at their job site would sunbathe in the nude – in full view of his crew. She’d even stroll into the kitchen every so often to grab a cold beverage or make a sandwich.

“We’ve had offers for all sorts of things and it happens a lot more than people think,” said a contracting business owner from the Southtowns. “You just get a vibe. It’s pretty
clear what they’re after.”

Apparently some wives have a pretty broad interpretation of “services rendered.”

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