The Pimpcron addresses a much maligned topic.
Howdy guys and gals. The hero you deserve, Pimpcron, is here to discuss a touchy subject. At the beginning of this article I want to clarify a couple things to frame it into perspective. I am a guy. (gasp!) And I see this through a guy’s eyes, and I’m sure somewhere out there is a wargaming woman who has this exact issue with her non-wargaming partner. I don’t know how that situation would be different from mine (if at all) but I personally know this is a big thing with male wargamers and their spouses. I don’t have the time to explore every single possible angle on this, so I will explain it from my point of view.
Up Until Now I’ve Been Free
My wife and I do not control each other in any way really. We have always allowed each other to do whatever we want. Very early in our relationship, she learned that I was very wary of being “whipped” and if she tried to tell me that I “couldn’t” do something, I’d definitely do it out of spite. While that may seem petty, that set the tone for our freedom in our relationship for all of these years. That being said, I am older now, and more reasonable to our relationship’s needs. As long as she asks me to do or not to do something and doesn’t command it, I will consider her point of view.
Though I still have that spiteful streak deep down and she knows it. I have a few friends that are completely controlled by their spouses and this Homie Don’t Play Dat. I have a friend who gets 2-5 calls and texts from his spouse while we’re hanging out. It’s like the spouse looks for any little reason to contact my friend while we’re together and it drives me nuts.
I wouldn’t say he’s a prisoner in his own home, but every time he tries to leave he has to break out.
I’ve been in the hobby for about 8 years, and for these 8 years she has been a saint. She has put up with my nights out at the gaming club every single week, and having friends over once or twice a week to play. I have an entire room dedicated to my wargaming stuff and terrain. And she hasn’t really ever said much when I leave my wargaming paraphernalia lying around.
Or when I hobby on the kitchen counter while the family is watching a movie.
Or spend money on this hobby and accumulate my 9 different 40k armies, 2 Firestorm Armada fleets, and 3 AoS armies. (Side Note: I am a fiscally responsible adult and my hobby spending has never threatened our financial stability or anything. But like many of you, I still feel that I spend too much on it.) Like I said, she is a saint.
Here’s What Happened To Me
Recently all of this came to a head. I was playing wargames at my normal frequency, hobbying like normal, and spending literally hundreds of hours of work in preparation for my convention Shorehammer after my normal job each day. It’s no surprise in hindsight that it finally became too much for her. We had one of our rare arguments and from it came the statement, “Can you just take a break from Warhammer for a while?” I was really irritated.
If you don’t already know from my articles, I don’t usually play video games anymore due to children, and we (intentionally) don’t have cable or satellite or anything. The ONLY thing I do for fun is play this and few other wargames, and hobby. This is how I relieve stress and spend time with my friends. So when she asks me to stop doing the ONLY thing I enjoy as a pastime, you might understand where my old rebellious streak started surfacing. One thing you have to understand about my wife, is that she has no actual hobbies. She never really has. So I felt like she just wanted me to be like her.
Okay. So do we just stare at each other or what?
Not seeing her side at first, or realizing how much time I’ve spent on Shorehammer prep above and beyond all of my hobby and gaming time, I thought she was being really selfish. I couldn’t believe that MY wife was actually telling me to stop the one hobby I love. I took some time to think about it and here’s the conclusion I came to.
Am I Whipped, or Courteous?
It’s kind of an un-written rule: spouses have a say in whether or not you get to game. But everybody kind of mimes the whipping motion when someone says, “Sorry, I can’t come. [insert name] wants to do something as a family.” Or whatever it is. The moment men hear other men can’t do something because of their spouse, the thought instantly comes up in their brain that that guy might be whipped. Even if they do understand the situation, it still surfaces.
This is my mean streak. And it just wants sharks with frickin’ laser beams on their heads.
So for the first time, I sat down and thought about the situation. In a relationship, you have a social agreement to live together and share your life together. Well, obviously compromises have to be made at some point or you’d just have two super-selfish people pulling in each direction and getting nowhere. But where is the line between me being her slave and me being a good and courteous husband? I came to realize that I was spending some time away from the family due to the game/hobby, but it was fine until all of the prep for Shorehammer was added.
You see, I didn’t have a panel of experts or Board of Directors. Everything at Shorehammer was written, printed, created, or otherwise done by me with a few exceptions. In hindsight it would have been awesome if I had some help with things besides our terrain painting days. But having all of that stress and workload blinded me to the time I was no longer spending with the family.
I came to the conclusion that if your spouse is constantly interfering with your activities arbitrarily, then you’re whipped. And unfortunately there isn’t much changing it unless it’s in the beginning of your relationship. Once the balance of your relationship is set, it is quite hard to change it.
And she wasn’t telling me to take a break, she was ASKING. Literally, she was asking me to take a break. It wasn’t some sort of demand she was sending down from her throne, she was asking me as a partner in life. But being that I use wargaming cathartically, I didn’t want to lose that completely. So for nearly the first time in our 15-year relationship, I had to (at least partially) give something up that I love for the health of our relationship. So I decided on a compromise that I am partially happy with, and she’s happy with.
Wife: “Pimpcron, what are you doing in the bushes?”
Me: “Nothing! Look away!” [puts codex back in hiding spot]
I decided that she won’t be exposed to wargaming anymore that she has to be. I removed all of my paraphernalia from the counter, and I’m not going to tell her about wargaming anymore. I’m also not going to hobby while the whole family is home, and I’m going to spend time with them instead with undivided attention. I’ll still go to my gaming club each week and I’ll still have people over to play. Plus, Shorehammer prep is put to rest until next year; which was the biggest issue out of all of this. So now everything is hunky-dory again and I still get to do what I love, I’m just trying to limit her exposure to it.
So what’s your verdict? Am I whipped or being a good spouse?