Yesterday I asked my husband what exactly was a Takuza*. A Filipino pun on what is commonly known as the Japanese mafia, it is what tagalog males say in reference to their drinking buddies who go home promptly before dinnertime, or immediately after an irate phone call from the missus.

My husband then enumerated his drinking buddies, which include an engineer, a contractor, two minor politicians and a government worker, all of whom played football in college, all of whom are at least twice the size of their wives, all of whom, himself included he admits, are Takuza.

Takot ka sa akin?” I asked, incredulous.

“It’s not so much being afraid of you,” he said, “than being afraid of what you might do if I offended you terribly.” He said men who have found what they are looking for, their peace, the yang to their yin, the bagoong to their pinakbet, are usually Takuza. Every now and then they might get carried away during a night out with the buddies, but the wife’s voice, even the just the thought of the wife’s voice raised in anger, over the celfone (which is never turned off during a get-together) always reins them in. The last toast is given and drank, chairs scrape away from the table, shoulders are punched playfully. “Takuza ka noh?,” one says to the other and the other replies, “ikaw rin eh.”

“I can’t speak for the other guys, but I believe they’d say pretty much the same thing if you asked them. I don’t want to upset the balance that I’ve found in my life by upsetting you. At the back of my mind there’s this fear that you might take the kids and leave me if I wronged you, and I couldn’t imagine a life without you and the kids.”

“Wow,” was all I could say.

I gave him a kiss and a hug, squishing the baby between us (don’t worry, she likes that), and we went on with the rest of the day. I didn’t tell him then that the thought of leaving has never crossed my mind (of course I won’t tell him that, and take away my primary psychological advantage?). I also didn’t tell him that he just wrote my blog for me.

*Takot Sa Asawa, in English “Afraid of One’s Wife


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