Thursday, 11 April 2013

One and a Half Men

I may have been looking into it a little too much, but yesterday, I was holding a spatula, and foresaw the decline of my entire manhood.

To stop being a man at 21 is NOT what I signed up for when I turned 18. I'm a soon-to-be graduate already with a full time job! I am a learned individual, skilled in debating, woodcraft and metalwork. I was the one who got up a ladder and changed a light bulb in the bathroom when apathy gripped my two housemates with whom I share that facility (probably too tired from going to the gym because they're so manly, it's understandable). The two same housemates who thought I was going to be a house-husband! Fool, I am no such thing- I am a man, a bloody good man, and an excellent housemate! The ideal, no, the PERFECT living partner for my girlfriend. She is a woman, and I am a man. We make an excellent couple, good enough to please the man in the sky, who in return will gift us with sunlight to revive us, crops to harvest and apes to evolve from.

Well, we would be, except one of us not quite living up to our name. There's no doubt in my mind that my girlfriend is a woman. She must be, I've seen her read magazines, tweet about her feelings and swindle a man into buying her a drink before walking off and giving me the other one. But am I really a man? Would Sean Connery give up his days of espionage, or Liam Neeson abandon his daughter to be in my shoes now? Where even are my shoes right now?

My shoes, with my feet planted inside them, are in HomeSense, in Gloucester. We're looking for things to put in a house we have just visited. Not bought, not even made an offer for, but visited. We looked at a house, and now we've got to look at things to not put in it. Instantly. My girlfriend is looking studiously at cafetieres. "We might as well get one, we both drink coffee". Yes but we don't live in a bloody house yet! Why would be buy something for a place that doesn't even exist!

Initially I was holding out well. I managed to articulate clearly that we didn't need a bicycle made of bamboo, because there simply is no room for it. "But you love cycling!"- Yes, I like drinking coffee as well, and look how that ended up! I'm on my own here, setting a very stroppy sail and riding against the winds of change. I refuse to accept we need a pestle and mortar- I have enough brawn to turn a frozen leg of whichever beast I have slain into the finest of mincemeat (you know, being a man and all that), and a juicer?! When are we going to use that? After it's left the bloody carton, or before it's reached my bloody glass- Whoops, bumped into somebody. I look down at the ground and murmur something resembling the word "sorry". I bet men never have problems speaking to other men, just little weeds like me. But this man reciprocates the apology! "Sorry mate, I was miles away there." Then another noise manages to escape my mouth- words! "Yeah, I wish I was miles away from here as well!" We both laugh. More than that, we bond. We are both men, here against our will! We should should fight this oppression! We should form the Judean Peoples Front (or was it Peoples Front of Judea?) and shake off these shackles of home stores! 

I'm very keen to impress upon you that my life wasn't always like this, I used to be free as a bird, in quite a literal sense- last winter I migrated to Tenerife on the back of an invitation two very attractive girls offered me the night before they were due to jet off. Not giving it a second thought, I was stuffing swimming shorts and as much aftershave as customs would allow into a bag and waving goodbye to my nonplussed housemates. Imagine that! I used to be able to drink a pint- a WHOLE pint- in one go, and now I can't even bend over to pick something up and bring myself back up without going sighing. What has happened to me?! I want to be young, be free! I want to walk into a meeting room in my pyjamas and use last night's lukewarm Fosters as a mouthwash! I want to have Coco Pops for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 3 days!-

"What do you think about this?" (She is holding a plastic spatula)
"... No".
"What?" (I have shocked her with my backchat)
"What?!" (I have shocked myself. I NEVER question what's going to go into my house!)
"Why not? I think looks quite cool"
"No, we've got to get a metallic one, otherwise it won't scrape things of the frying pan properly. (I have made an excellent point! She nods in agreement- but somehow, I've lost the keys to my lips, and they burble on) Mum and Dad have a plastic one and it's rubbish- and that reminds me, we HAVE to get a decent knife sharpener, I'm sick of trying to cut an onion with their knives. (Okay, it's not too late to save this) All of them are rubbish- we should get them a set for their anniversary or for Christmas- at least they might actually use that- you know I bought a carafe for them and I don't think they've used it once? (Nope, moment's gone) We probably won't need one, unless my little sister comes over and we're forced to decant a bottle of fucking Lambrini for her. What we DO need is a new wok, how about this one? Big enough so that when we have guests over, we can make something big, but also easy to put away (stop it, James), and also probably a new frying pan, the one I've got at Uni is pretty knackered so I'm just going to leave it there, (seriously James, stop), also, I'm leaving my chair there for the next guy, there's no point cluttering up the place with disjointed furniture- you know I went to school with Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen's kids? Maybe we could get him to do our bedroom for us?!" 
"Do you know him well?"
"Well, once he stopped me buying a keg of ale at an auction because he didn't think I was 18. But his kids are really nice"

The penny drops. I realise I have said way too much. I've surrendered any supremacy I had in this relationship. I can't even be trusted to decide what spatula to put in a kitchen, I'd only fuck it up and ring a TV personality I met once for advice. How? I started that conversation so well! Yet I have finished it by telling somebody who used to respect me, and plans to spend the rest of her life with me, that she is now condemned to share her feelings and bodily fluids with a man who isn't as manly as Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen?! A man whose own Wikipedia page describes him as "noted for his flamboyant personality and dandyish appearance." (This isn't a slight on LL-B, I'm sure he is a manly man in his own right, but in Changing Rooms wasn't there always another guy putting up the shelves while he just chatted to Carol Smillie?)

The bells have finally tolled on my manliness. What little brawn I had when I went into HomeSense has now bitten into it's cyanide capsule and thrown itself off the Severn Bridge. When we have friends over for dinner, it will be my girlfriend welcoming them in, drinking a beer and laughing about how funny it was watching me trying to lift a chair through the door while I stay in the kitchen making sure the sun-dried tomatoes and Kettle Crisps are arranged nicely so people can have something to nibble on, and crisps and tomatoes are all I can be trusted with, because I'd only burn the dinner like I did the beans in a now infamous dinner I made for her. 

I guess I'm just not cut out to be a man. Ever since I received a cricket tour shirt with "Captain Camp" on it, right up until I agreed to watch "Les Miserables" with the girlfriend in the cinema and not get a treat, I knew this moment was coming, and it took a spatula to drive in the final nail in my coffin.

But oh, sorry, listen to me talking! Where are my manners!

More hummus, anyone?

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoyed the bit about Laurence Llewelyn Bowen and the keg of ale, but I did laugh a bit too much and got coke all over my work...

    Keep it up :)