#1 Read the book. The Wife (of 10 years) has been bugging me about this for 10 years. I’m sure you’ve heard it too, “Oh you have to read it, it’s SO awesome! There’s this woman who goes through the stones in Scotland… there’s this Highlander Jamie… most perfect man ever… epic story of romance… blah blah blah.” Book about another man The Wife is in love with is not at the top of your list? Wasn’t on mine either, but she finally wore me down (it’s ALL I’ve been hearing about for the past two months). It’s okay to give in, and trust me when I say you will be “rewarded” if you do. And you’ll probably enjoy it. I’m man enough to admit that I do.
#2 If you REALLY want points, read it out loud to The Wife. No, this does not require giving up your Man Card. Give her 30 minutes a day and you’ll be able to watch all the Sunday Night - Monday Night Football you want. You might even come home one day to find the lawn mowed, the garbage taken care of, all the wood chopped and your favorite dinner on the table. I’ve now read two thirds of the first book to The Wife and can report that the “rewards” have been falling on me like manna from heaven. I own my Man Card, and I’m playing it for all it’s worth.
#3 Know the key players, before you even pick up the book:
Diana Gaboldon = author of the Outlander series, a.k.a. The Sorceress behind this entire outbreak of madness
Claire Randall Fraser = Heroine of the series, a.k.a. Sassenach, a.k.a. the bonnie lass your wife wants to be (the same bonnie lass you will enjoy reading about)
Jamie Fraser = Hero of the series, a.k.a. JAMMF (so The Wife tells me), “the most perfect man to ever live” (fictionally), a.k.a. the man who says and does everything right, a.k.a the man who The Wife wishes you were when she looks at you with that angry, squinty stare when you don’t say or do anything right
Sam Heughan = actor who will portray Jamie Fraser, a.k.a. the reason The Wife has started calling herself a “fangirl”, a.k.a. Enemy #1
Heughligans = The Wife and all of her new friends out there in cyberspace, a.k.a. women who will be very dangerous if they ever get together in person
#4 Learn how to pronounce a few key Gaelic and Scottish phrases from the book. The Wife already knows what they mean and what they’re supposed to sound like. (So does Enemy #1, I’m sure.)
Sassenach – Jamie’s pet name for Claire. When The Wife tells you she’s headed to the mall to do some outrageous shopping, respond by casually glancing at her and say “Hurry back Sassencah, I’ll miss ye while yer gone.” Bank account will stay safe and sound.
I dinna ken – This is an easy one and you will use it a lot. When The Wife is spitting mad at you and hollers things like “You did what???” or “What the hell is wrong with you?” - play dumb, cock your head to the side and say “I dinna ken.”
Bonnie wee lass – When you hear “Honey, do these jeans make me look….” reply with “Och, yer a bonnie wee lass and I like yer arse in those jeans verra much.” Rewards.
Hedgehog – This one is the Hail Mary of grenades. If all else fails, lob it at the wife and run.
#5 Monitor the social media activity. The Wife is now very active on Facebook and Twitter, belonging to multiple fan groups and following thousands of other women as they gossip all day long about Outlander. The Wife, egged on by Heughligans, will use her online tools to flirt shamelessly with Sam Heughan, some guy named Kamran, and maybe even ones named Tim and Noah. Basically anybody who has been in the same room as Sam Heughan or has ever worn a kilt has a target on their back. Allow The Wife to indulge herself, she is very proud of herself prancing around the house bragging about how “sassy” she and all her new friends are. Check in on this activity now and then. You will be shocked at how bold she is, and you secretly might like it.
#6 If The Wife hands you a glass of fine, single malt Scotch out of the blue, it means she’s looking for some “whiskeykissin” and wants to make out. With Jamie. Just cut your losses and play along.
#7 Learn JAMMF. Study this man. Channeling him is your key to eternal happiness. He’s a braw lad (complimenting Jamie will get you rewards - and see that Scottish word I threw in there = bonus points.) Tall, red and handsome, he can speak several languages, can fight off hordes of attackers after being shot and stabbed and whipped and beaten, he always blazes in to save they day, etc. Accept that he is better than you and move on. At least we have him to thank for “whiskeykissin”.
#8 Learn to recognize what The Wife calls the “Sasso” effect. I call it the “Oh-my-God-he-favorited-my-tweet” syndrome. Symptoms include: The Wife’s inability to hear you when you speak to her (yes, it is possible for her to do this even more), eyes glazed over in a star-struck haze, smiles (lasting more than 4 hours) that stretch from ear-to-ear like she’s just met her “most favoritest of all time” fictional character, hunching over her iPhone or laptop while supper burns on the stovetop, etc. This is a dangerous condition. If she starts throwing around terms like Obsessenach or Heughliverse, it’s time to reign her in and reminder her who she should be obsessed with, just like Jamie would.
#9 Revere The Sorceress. The Wife goes on and on about how beautiful and brilliant she is. The Wife is speaking the truth. Through Outlander, The Wife becomes The Sorceress and reels you in to do her bidding. They are clearly planning to take over the world and I don’t think we can stop them, so start reading even though you’ll always be a step behind.
#10 *Last piece of advice. Remember these two things - you are The Husband, and The Wife is the woman of your dreams. Treat her as such, and she will embrace you as the JAMMF she knows you are.
*#10 contributed by The Wife.”
— Dragonfly in Amber~Diana Gabaldon
In spite of his difficulties, I knew exactly what he meant. His gaze was direct, holding my eyes as he waited for my answer. I wanted to look away, but I couldn’t.
"There’s often something like it," I said, and had to stop and clear my throat. "But no. No, it isn’t—usual. I have no idea why, but no. This is…different."
He relaxed a bit, as though I had confirmed something about which he had been anxious.
"I thought perhaps not. I’ve not lain with a woman before, but I’ve…ah, had my hands on a few." He smiled shyly, and shook his head. "It wasna the same. I mean, I’ve held women in my arms before, and kissed them, and…well." He waved a hand, dismissing the and. "It was verra pleasant indeed. Made my heart pound and my breath come short, and all that. But it wasna at all as it is when i take you in my arms and kiss you." His eyes, I thought, were the color of lakes and skies, and as fathomless as either.
He reached out an touched my lower lip, barely brushing the edge. “It starts out the same, but then, after a moment,” he said, speaking softly, “suddenly it’s as though I’ve a living flame in my arms.” His touch grew firmer, outlining my lips and caressing the line of my jaw. “And I want to throw myself into it and be consumed."
— Diana Gabaldon, Outlander
— James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser (Outlander, Diana Gabaldon)
“But I talk to you as I talk to my own soul,” he said, turning me to face him. He reached up and cupped my cheek, fingers light on my temple.
“And, Sassenach,” he whispered, “your face is my heart."
— Dragonfly in Amber
“I said I was a virgin, not a monk,” he said, kissing me again. “If I find I need guidance, I’ll ask."