So my husband went to New York on a ‘work trip’ to see the boxing. He left me with a fridge full of M&S pizzas and a jaunty high-five. I decided I’d have a better time than he did, just to spite him. It didn’t happen. He sent me a photo of him in a ‘titty-bar’ while I was doing a black and white jigsaw of a badger that my 80-year-friend betted I wouldn’t be able to finish. I told him ‘You are 80. You have trouble finishing a wee, I’ll get this done in a jiffer.’ It was harder than the nipples on the barista in the photo the husband sent me. Finding the nose was the highlight of my weekend, excluding the family sized trifle I ate at 2am after finally getting the children to sleep. Don’t you ever wonder what happened to yourself?
When, exactly, did my hobbies stop being going to gigs and wearing ‘lit’ designer trainers and turned into gardening, jigsaws and code-word puzzles in the paper? I’m only 36. What next, a weekly game of Bridge, bowling on the green? I still wear cool trainers, but I get them off eBay so someone else does the hard work of breaking them in. That’s how old I am.
The husband bought me back some Nike Jordans, which was very nice of him, but he didn’t read my book. It was the one thing I’d asked him to do. I said “All I want from you is for you to take the time to read my book. On the plane, or alone in the hotel room. It would mean so much to me, more than any gift could. Time is the most precious gift after-all.” I let him waffle on about Hooters and Boxing and the millions of commercials he watched on the TV, and the late-night walks he took through Times Sqaure, and then I asked him, oh so casually, what he thought of my book.
I already knew he hadn’t read it. I’m his wife, of course I knew. I know what he’s going to say before he does. When he opens the fridge, I pass him the cheese before he can ask me if we’ve run out.
I had him on a hook and he squirmed like a pink wiggler. The excuses tumbled out, each one more pathetic than the last. “I’m not your target market” he exclaimed. “Not the target market?” I hollered, as the children and pets ran for cover. He hid behind the sofa and threw presents at me. I gave him the silent treatment with a slash of the old stink-eye when he tried to smile at me. Mugs of tea appeared. Baths were run, the bed was made.
My plan worked. I had him where I wanted him, in the dog-house. Offering me sandwiches and telling me I looked pretty. Isn’t marriage wonderful when you are in the right? There is nothing better than the sound of your husband unloading the dishwasher and getting out the hoover as you lie in your bed of righteousness and eat red velvet cake.
I know there is a shelf-life on this wonderful situation. At some point I will go too far, as I always do, and I will be the dog-house. I’ll have to get out the pub quiz book and start asking him random questions about sport. He simply can’t resist showing off his general knowledge. Even when in a furious mood he will shout the answers at me. When I tell him how clever he is, he tries and fails not to preen like a peacock.
Marriage is a see-saw after-all. People who tell me they never argue with their partners genuinely scare me. What do they do instead? We are so good at arguing we can do it via sign language over the children’s heads whilst we help them with homework. I sometimes dream of a ‘nice man’ who’ll do as I tell him and have a garage full of Tupperware boxes that say things like ‘hose attachments’ and ‘screw-in-light-bulbs’ but I would run the poor fellow into an early grave. I used to swoon over WWF wrestlers and now I perv over men who can use power tools correctly. Men who put up shelves, wind the cord properly on the lawn mower, and replace rear-view mirrors without smashing the windscreen. He’s not so bad though, my boy. He puts up with me, which according to my parents, makes him worthy of a medal. He makes lovely chicken enchiladas and will go to ASDA at 2am to get my hay fever tablets.