"So you're one of those househusbands I've read about."

"Yes."

"Really?" (Surprise and disbelief.)

"Yes, really."

"Do you like it?"

"Like what? You mean do I like being a househusband?"

"Yeah."

"Most of the time, but certainly not all of the time."

"Then, why do you do it?"

"Because I like it more than I dislike it. What kind of work do you do?"

"I'm an electrician."

"And do you like everything you do?"

"Yeah, sure. Well . . . most of it. Not all of it, though." (Noticeable movement of one foot to the other.) "That's what you mean, isn't it? (Pause.) Nothing is 100 percent, is it?"

"Two things," I said. "Death and black Magic Marker on painted walls."

"Yeah. Well, what do you live off? I mean, how can you afford to stay at home?"

"My wife works. With women finally able to earn decent salaries, we men should be able to stay at home more and more if we want."

"Yeah, I guess so. . . ." (Great hesitancy.) "But it's kinda weird, isn't it? I mean her supporting you instead of the other way around?"

"I guess it's kind of weird to some people. It was to me for a while, too.

But men don't have a monopoly on brains or talent or ability or earning power. If a women enjoys working outside of the home, why shouldn't she?"

"Well, I guess she should if she wants, but that doesn't mean her husband has to stay at home."

"Has to? No. He doesn't have to. I didn't become a househusband because I had to. I'm doing it because I want to."

(Long stare, followed by shaking of head.) "Man, I don't know. I don't think I could hack what you're doing."

"Maybe not," I said. "But, that's okay. You choose to be an electrician, and I choose to be a househusband.

"The way I see it, the women's liberation stuff has been a two-way street in a lot of ways. Maybe men didn't realize it for awhile, but women weren't the only ones who got the freedom to do different things."

He stood up, put on his jacket, and they said very slowly, "You know, man, you could be right. It's interesting to think about. And I'd like to talk more about it some time. But I've gotta go home and get some shut-eye."

I looked at my watch. "You're kidding. It's only 9:30."

"Yeah, I know. But I get up at 5 in the morning."

"Five!"

"Yeah. Five. Why? What time do you get up?"

"Usually around 8," I said. "Sometimes a little later."

(Gigantic pause.) "Do you know," he muttered, "how lucky you are?"