Alvin Richardson, columnist

There is no doubt that I am the Dr. Phil of relationships that have at least one fisherman in the family therefore I have decided to bless you with a two for one special today. I’m not sure if it’s a bargain but I feel the need to continue to amaze you with my extraordinary perspective on relationships between husbands and wives. For some reason most of my e-mail on this complex topic has come from the girls. Best I can tell they think I’m prejudiced or at the very least dim-witted and some have even gone so far as to use derogatory language to describe my opinions. Anyway here’s a little food for thought along those lines.

Gentlemen, it seems to me that in order to prove that you wear the pants in your family there are certain standards that need to be set. Thus here are my top ten ways to establish that fact:

#10) Test the waters gently and tell your spouse that you are going fishing on the evening of your child’s high school graduation and see how that goes over.

#9) Next give your life long partner a fishing trip to Lake Okeechobee as an anniversary gift and proudly announce that this is going to be a yearly tradition. If that doesn’t cause a spousal flare-up I think you are on your way.

#8) Sneak out, buy a new boat and then boldly place your new acquisition in the garage in place of the family car. Don’t start getting gutless on me now.

#7) When you buy a new family car insist that one of the foremost requirements of the vehicle is that your six and half foot bass rods must be able to fit comfortably inside. This is not really a big deal. If you can’t make this happen you are probably wearing a dress.

#6) Demand that your trophies won in bass tournaments and all the fish you have ever had mounted be placed in a position of honor; preferably the formal dining room. Nothing like a fresh idea on house décor.

#5) Always be sure that your boat payment is higher than your house payment so all concerned will be clear on which things take priority. Hopefully you won’t have to trade down on your housing but do whatever is necessary to adhere firmly to this rule.

#4) Without consulting anyone else go ahead and add a room onto your house in which to store your fishing equipment. A good rule of thumb is to make sure it is at least twice as big as your living room.

#3) On your own initiative stock your backyard pool with fish so that you can see how they react to different bait presentations. I think the kids will support you on this one.

#2) When coming home from a fishing trip, dump your catch in the kitchen sink and proceed to clean them there. If you are successful with this strategy you are well on your way to pants wearing status.

#1) If at any time you get an overwhelming urge to go fishing just leave a note that says, “Gone fishing, be back Monday”. If she’s still there upon your return and has not hired a lawyer you are firmly in control and can wear your pants proudly. Now on the other hand let me give the girls some advice.

#1) Don’t discourage your little fisherman hubby by making smart alecky remarks such as, “There’s a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot”. This could hurt his feelings and damage your relationship.

#2) When the man of your life comes in from a hard day at the lake do not greet him with a glare or look of disdain and immediately order him to take out the garbage. Better to ask him in a kindly way if he had a successful trip and show interest on some of the details. It would be comparable to you coming home after a garden club meeting and being greeted with a look of anxiety and the demand of “How long before we eat,” with no reference as to how your meeting went.

#3) Do not make mention of the fact that he smells badly upon his return from a fishing trip. After all, smelling fishy roughly translates into a successful adventure for him. You on the other hand would not wish him to comment on the odor wafting through the house after you have just finished composting your favorite flower bed.

#4) Your absent minded darling has blown it by forgetting about Valentine’s Day. He has brought no offering of card, flowers, candy or even a kind word on this auspicious day. Before you scold, harangue or ignore him stop to think if you remembered to buy him a gift on the anniversary of his big “wall hanger”. He needs recognition also.

#5) Lastly be tolerant when the excited little fisherman comes in and announces he has been on a shopping spree at Bass Pro Shop. Show that you too are delighted with his purchases. He will be much more apt to appreciate your new wardrobe after a day at the Mall of Georgia. Once you girls consider these things I’m sure you will agree that this advice may be useful in your relationship. It’s only common sense. Fishermen need love too.

(Send comments to HYPERLINK “mailto:dar8589@bellsouth.net” dar8589@bellsouth.net)