Monday, August 30, 2010

Man, Oihou, Wild

My husband is one of those men that will be handy to have around when TSHTF at TEOTWAWKI (the sh*t hits the fan at the end of the world as we know it, to those on the bushcraft forums).  This is a man who always has several means of lighting a fire on him whenever we venture out of the city.  This is a man who carried me off a Welsh mountain when my sissy arse was in tears from the pain in my decrepit knee.

With memories of the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina renewed from the publicity surrounding the 5 year anniversary this past week, one is reminded just how close we dance to the total breakdown of social order and how quickly daily life could turn into a survival situation.  Even here in the good old U.S. of A.  And if the worst ever happens, I will be in good hands as long as I am with my man.

Another man who would be handy in a crisis? Myke Hawke, the sweet Southern hunk of beefcake that is one half of the couple on Discovery's survival show Man, Woman, Wild, filmed with his adorable wife Ruth England.  Have you seen this show?  At the moment, it is the highlight of my television watching week.

I know it is currently achieving a sort of cult status, probably appealing to a broader audience (read: women) than the already popular installments of the genre such as Man vs. Wild, Survivor Man and Dual Survival.  I feel a sort of affinity with the couple, which increases my enjoyment of the show.

First off, like mine, theirs is a mixed marriage between an American and a Brit, albeit with the genders reversed since he is the American and she is English.  And as I've already noted, both her husband and mine have the sort of aptitude to provide in a survival situation that satisfies the ancient cavewoman urge to find a protector.  But even better, Ruth is a total oihou (pronounced wee-hoo, an acronym for "off in her own universe") - a word we've coined to affectionately describe girly-girls with a slight disconnection from reality.  D has made an extensive study of oihous, having been married to one for nearly 7 years.  Watching the interaction of these two is absolutely hilarious, as his caveman protector tendencies are matched against her oihou wits.

If I was industrious enough, I would make up a drinking game based on Man, Woman, Wild, much like blog friend Krysta (yes, there are two of us) recently did with the Bachelorette series.  The rules would be as follows:
  • Drink each time Myke has to admonish Ruth not to "name the chow." This first appeared in episode number 1, filmed in the Amazon jungle, in which the hungry couple finds a turtle - Ruth's favorite animal - and will have to eat it if they can't find something else to eat.  This brings Ruth to tears, but fortunately they find a snake and are able to release the turtle to continue its slow journey across the jungle floor.
  • Drink each time Ruth pulls her knife in her best "I'm really hard and not scared at all" stance when she's totally freaking out.  Generally occurs when she is standing off as Myke does something like capturing a deadly snake.
  • Drink each time Ruth is genuinely delighted and appears nearly surprised when Myke coaxes a fire into life, using nothing but two sticks or some other tortuous method.  Honestly, wouldn't it be easier to just carry a lighter? [D is preparing his lecture on belt-and-suspenders preparedness even as I type that.]
  • Drink each time Ruth pulls a truly horrified face when presented with something deadly, disgusting or just plain discouraging.  See the most recent episode, filmed in Utah, when Myke presents Ruth with big fat juicy grubs to add some pure protein to the cattail and frog leg stew, and when Myke has to tell Ruth that, having just completed a freezy river crossing (thanks for the great word Lisa) and started her own fire, they are, in fact, only on an island and have to do all it again.
  • Drink each time Myke shakes his head in disbelief as Ruth betrays some secret of coupledom, like how the bathroom smells after his morning pee ("that's too much much information, Baby;" Episode 5: Mexico) or how many weapons he has stored in their bedroom (Episode 2: Botswana), a major security disclosure faux pas, according to D.
  • Drink each time Ruth has to basically "go long" which means "industriously stay out of the way while Myke gets the real work done."  Like at the end of the Botswana episode where Myke is tending a fire made from the tires of their jeep to signal a passing helicopter and Ruth starts running around and waving her arms.  The heli film shows to her to be barely visible next to the massive smoke signal, but Myke encouragingly tells her "that's good, Baby, keep doing that."
  • Drink each time Ruth exhibits complete skepticism of a survival technique explained by Myke; double when she's miffed that it actually succeeds. In the Utah episode, Ruth made a spear and demonstrated typical oihou throwing skills (or lack thereof) trying to catch a frog with it.  After a frustrating half hour, she announces that the river is full of "frogs... elusive frogs."  Myke walks up with a big stick, smacks the water hard and captures the stunned frog immediately.  Ruth's how-the-funk-did you-do-that look is priceless.
  • Drink each time Myke or Ruth says or does something innocently which has a massive sexual innuendo.  Seriously, there is one of these in pretty much every show... from Ruth sucking the juice out of a jungle plant like she could suck the chrome off a trailer hitch, to Myke admonishing Ruth "you can go deeper than that" when she is tentatively biting the end off a cattail root.
I will say, though, despite her oihou tendencies, Ruth is a TOTAL trooper, putting up with way more discomfort and disgustingness than I would ever take on.  I mean, the woman actually drank (under protest) some of her husband's pee.  It is entertaining to watch how earnest she is in her desire to hone her survival skills, how proud she is of Myke and how sweet he is to her.  They are totally endearing.  If you haven't seen it, there are full episodes on You Tube, and preview videos here.

And besides, there is real value to a television show that spawns conversations like this at home:

He: If we were stranded in the desert I'd offer you some of my pee to drink.

Me: Aw, that's love, right there.  (long pause)  But I think I'm good.

He: All right, more for me!



  1. Awww and ewww. All at the same time.

  2. This show sounds kind of awesome. I'm actually not one for reality television (this recent Bachelorette aside), but I think I could get into it!

    You should totally drink and recap :)