The Unadventures of Pop and Mop

artwork by Emille Domschot © 2012


I’m guest blogging at Mike Duran’s deCompose today, primarily on the stereotypical Christian wife character in fiction, but also on the husband counterpart. This is both exciting and scary because it’s my first time as a guest blogger. Below, you’ll find a gentle satire that’s meant to be complementary to my article at deCompose.

Pop woke briefly when his wife slid from bed. He lifted the curtain, but the sky still wore white, and he rolled to his side and fell back to sleep. Two hours later, he finally pulled himself from bed at the joyful call of “Breakfast!”

His wife had done it again. While he needed his beauty sleep after working all week, she was beautiful naturally and didn’t need enhancement in any way. Pop hitched up his pajama pants and made his way to the kitchen, where his wife was singing a Fanny Crosby song as she heaped the kids’ plates with eggs and bacon and toast.

“Mornin’, Mop,” he grunted in his just-awake voice, using her favorite nickname that was a combination of Mom and Shop. He kissed her cheek.

“Did you get your rest?” she asked. “I know you’re a real grouch if you don’t. Here, have some breakfast.”

He carried his plate to the table. “Where’s my coffee?”

“I was just pouring it, Darling, so give me a chance.”

“Ah, that’s more like it.” His eyes opened wider to the essence of fresh morning coffee wafting in his nostrils.

What would he do without his Mop? His four children sat quietly around the table in their Sunday best, not spilling a drop or fussing over their food. They were all so well-groomed and obedient. That scripture—the one from the Bible about rubies—described his wife perfectly. As far as disciplining their precious tikes, she left nothing for Pop to do, which gave his life a sense of peace.

“What have you been up to this morning?” he shouted at Mop from the table because she was in the kitchen cleaning up. Generally, she ate the sparse leftovers while loading the dishwasher. She insisted it was the best diet trick ever. “Women,” he chuckled to himself, willing to put up with a few female foibles in exchange for her tactile manner.

“I did my devotions,” she shouted back. “Then I ironed the girls’ church dresses, took a shower, and made breakfast. I think I’ll just have time to put on my make-up before Sunday school. I sure hate being late. I love my Bible study time with the other ladies.”

Pop pointed his fork threateningly at the kids. “Kids, don’t make your mom late!” Although Pop didn’t understand Mop’s need for socialization, he allowed it to be another female foible. He loved her enough to indulge her whims.

“Will you go to church with us this morning?” asked his youngest, Katie, who wore her ginger curls in pigtails. “Please, Daddy?”

“Just as your mom finds God with her friends at church, I find God in my Sunday nature walks. Plus, this is no big secret, but I’ve got a beer in the fridge with my name on it.”

“Oh, Pop,” Mop sighed. “Why won’t you go to church with us just this once?” Her brow furrowed with worry.

Pop knew his wife prayed for him, and for her, alone, he struggled to be the man of God she needed as leader of the home. Being a leader, he decided, didn’t involve going to church. As he yanked on yesterday’s jeans and an old Seattle Sea Hawks t-shirt, he thought very deeply about the world, his wife, his children, his house, and his Dodge Ram. Let his wife be the spiritual one. He was the intellectual of the family, and that was as it should be.

Before she left, she kissed him and gave him a tight squeeze, her Bible and purse pressed against his lower back. Her eyes misted over as though she was sad. Had he done something wrong?

She let him go. “Don’t forget, it’s my turn to cook meals at the homeless shelter after church, so I froze a lasagna for your lunch. Just microwave it on high for two minutes.”

Ah, that explained it. Mop’s eyes always misted over at the thought of helping others. Years ago, she’d helped Pop by pulling him from his hard shell of intellect and strength. She taught him, her green eyes ever-misty, what being emotional was all about. Now, he was a poor, emotional sop.

“I love you, Mop,” Pop choked out. His wife stepped lightly out the front door, gentle as a ballerina ushering her gingery fairies to the waiting sedan. “I love you.”

Then he trudged to the fridge and grabbed a beer, ready to find God in the park preserve down the street, amber bottle in hand.

“Praise God,” he muttered and popped off the cap. With a plop, it landed on Mop’s spotless kitchen floor.

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3 comments

  1. Your gentle satire and thoughtful article make excellent companions! So far, I have avoided reading Christian literature, but I have certainly witnessed the gender stereotypes in many other categories of writing in English. Now I wonder about gender stereotypes in other cultures and religions — have you looked into that at all?

    1. Originally, I tried to market my book(s) to the Christian spec fic market. But I haven’t been successful because there isn’t much market, except w/ Indie presses. Oh, well. So I have read a fair amount of Christian fiction, hence my focus in my article. It’s a cultural thing, though, as you say. I would like to look more at other cultures and religions and their gender stereotypes. So far, I’ve only learned from reading travel memoirs.

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