Why Are Men So Obsessed With Sport?

morgan-david-de-lossy-575823-unsplash
Photo by Morgan David de Lossy on Unsplash

The old man is that breed of men that needs to hit a ball at least once a day. He delights in telling anyone who can listen to him (without falling asleep) about his childhood spent in the family garage, throwing ball after ball against its back wall. And while the sporting promise of his youth didn’t translate into a career, that need of a fix – to either hit, kick or knock a ball of any shape – hasn’t dwindled with age.

Since he began to work from home and has more flexibility with his time, his obsession has returned; which puts a lot of pressure on his most obvious opponents. Admittedly, The Princess takes some of the pressure off me by collecting and returning the hundreds of air golf balls he whacks into the back hedge of the garden, and he has made a couple of friends that play tennis with him or accompany him on silent missions around the golf course. However, I’m the unlucky sod that picks up most of the slack.

For our recent anniversary celebration in Bowral, I picked a quaint hotel with a nine-hole golf course, because, a feminist, I wanted to demonstrate that the romantic weekend was about both of us before we trawled around the main focus of the two days to the town’s mecca of interior design shops. img_8680

With a forced smile on my face, I followed him around what was a beautiful, scenic, (and thankfully) short golf course on our first day. In arctic temperatures, I searched for balls, complimented good shots, sympathized with bad, whilst maintaining a smile on my face at all times, my eye firmly on the prize of the hotel bar at the end of our two hours of hell.

The following morning, he was awake three hours before me, and when I opened my eyes to a bouncing puppy on the end of our bed, eyes pleading to let him play golf again and forgo his much-anticipated first-day cushion-shopping, I gave in.

We met up again later that morning, to play tennis – a warm-up for a grueling afternoon tour of the local wineries – and a sport that I have come to enjoy since I’ve learned to ignore his scathing comments and tantrums from the other side of the net. Nevertheless, it took some control not to laugh in his face when he suggested a game of pool that night.

Is your partner obsessed with sport?

My Seven Secrets To A Lasting Marriage

rose-petals-693570_1920Apparently, marriage is back in fashion and as it was our anniversary yesterday – hence, that time of the year where I selflessly dedicate twenty-four hours of my time to be nice to my husband in return for a slap-up meal – I’ve decided to share the reasons behind our unmitigated happiness and unbridled passion.

 

Is marriage what I expected when I stood at that altar all those years ago?

 

Perhaps. It would have helped if either one of us had been grown ups or I hadn’t been looking through the rose-tinted glasses of a bride, more concerned about whether the wedding favors matched the flowers, or where I could smoke in a marquee. But a warning about the shit stains in the loo, the money worries and the curse of children wouldn’t have gone amiss, so my first secret is tolerance. Because whenever the old man fucks up, I always try to remember that no-one is perfect, even though I come pretty close.

 

I do miss being able to do exactly what I want to do all the time. Last Sunday was the perfect example of where compromise sucks. NC and I decided to watch the first season of a new series together and after a six-hour mammoth session of over-achievement, the old man dared to demand the tv room back, so while she sloped off to watch the rest of the series in her bedroom, I was left to sulk and invent new forms of torture for him. You spend a lot of time planning your partner’s death in marriage.

 

Communication and mutual interests are hugely important, which is why we continue to drink copious amounts of wine together. I did invite him to hot yoga with me – normal yoga during the menopause – but that was obviously never going to happen. “Walking” together clears the cobwebs and eases the tensions in neutral territory where we can discuss important shit without access to crockery to throw. Who knows, this time next year we could be gardening together.

 

Admittedly, I never thought we’d make the twenty-four-year mark and having realistic expectations has helped. I carried the stigma of being the first child of a divorce at school – please refer to scarred by my parents – so I was skeptical about marriage. But so far, we’ve weathered the near cyclonic storms with minimal damage – both the ones I’ve created because I like the sound of my own voice as well as the ones that life has thrown at us, such as the loss of loved ones, career disappointments, money lost through investment and that murky bag of smaller, miscellaneous disappointments that form part of the fabric of life. So you need backbone and commitment to keep going, as well as something that comes later in life for me – an appreciation of the little things.

 

Trust is a huge part of marriage. I admit that I am one of those stupid women to entrust my husband with our money – mainly because I am useless with it and we would be living on the streets if I managed it for us. A ‘running away’ account is currently being negotiated because we I am very open like that. In much the same way, he has entrusted me with the organization of our social life, because he is useless with people and would become a hermit somewhere in the Snowy Mountains if allowed. 

 

And my last secret is that you need to cuddle. A lot. Now, I’m not a natural cuddler – see ref. above about being screwed up as a child – but the old man is like a big teddy bear that needs to feel loved. Some might call him “needy.”

 

Twenty-five years might be pushing it if the old man’s rabbit in the headlights expression was anything to go by when I said we need to do something amazing next year – please refer to realistic expectations above.

 

Here they are again:

Communicate

Compromise

Mutual Interests

Cuddle

Commitment

Tolerance

Trust

 

 

 

 

Romance Comes In Different Forms

English: Romance icon
English: Romance icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was our wedding anniversary on Friday and inevitably, after twenty-plus long years together, the standard of the old man’s gifts and romantic gestures have diminished with time.

In the first few years of our marriage, I might be treated to dinner, flowers AND a card, perhaps even a meal cooked by him; these days it’s a card if I’m lucky.

Fortunately, I’m not a sentimentalist and I didn’t marry the old man for his romantic gestures. And to be honest, I’d grown a tad tired of the sad-looking, funereal bunches of white lilies that I told him I liked, ONCE, circa 1990, and which he has bought me ever since.

So this year I decided to fess up.

Roses are Red
Roses are Red (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Because, as the healthy glow of my once youthful skin fades to a dull middle-aged pallor, I find that I like more color in my life these days,  so for the past year or so, brightly-colored roses have held far more appeal. They also happen to accessorize very pleasingly with the more funky design scheme in our apartment which I based around a piece of Aboriginal art I found on Ebay, and which kills my OCD a little bit more each day because the people who stretched and strung the canvas, did it the wrong way.

That fucking artwork taunts me on a daily basis.

Which is why, rather than be disappointed by last week’s withered lilies from the local petrol station, I decided to take control, buy my own bouquet and then get the old man to come up with the dosh.

Perhaps that sounds as though I’ve given up or given in, but considering I don’t buy anything for him in return for our anniversary and I preach ‘equality’ to the kids, I don’t have a problem with it. It seemed like the obvious solution. Romance comes in different forms and the old man’s talent in that department does not lie in gifting.

When I went to the florist to pick my flowers and explained the situation to her, it was quite obvious that she was appalled. She asked me if the old man had ever been romantic and it only took me a few seconds to respond with an unequivocal ‘no’. ‘Oh’, she responded with appropriate sad face, unable to disguise the traces of pity in her voice – at which point I hoped that she might throw in the extra greenery I’d requested without charging the exorbitant $5 for what was effectively a couple of manky old leaves.

‘But it’s not all bad,’ I responded, rearing in defence of my soul-mate of twenty-two years. ‘He still makes me laugh, and he’s a great cuddler.’

‘Then you’re got yourself a good man,’ she said, wisely, and I realized she was right and skipped out of the shop, hugging my new, favourite flowers and for a few precious seconds I might even have walked on air.

How Do You Keep Your Relationship Alive?

Texting...
Texting… (Photo credit: j0sh (www.pixael.com))

It was our 21-year anniversary last week.

 

We didn’t forget the date exactly but the old man was away at some conference pretending to be a very important international executive while I was working my butt off from Dysfunctionality House.

 

So aside from a couple of pathetically grovelling texts to make sure that the other didn’t think that the other had forgotten, the day kind of passed us by.

 

Which was actually ok. I mean we know we love each other and I’ve finally grown up and realised that ‘knowing’ can be enough; with unlimited access to the Mastercard, OBVIOUSLY.

 

It gets harder and harder to give our relationship the time it needs these days, with the teens around. In the old days, the kids were swaddled so tightly they couldn’t move in bed by 7pm so at least we found a few precious hours of ‘alone’ time. These days, NC, Kurt, their friends and partners are a permanent fixture in the apartment and would be horrified at the suggestion of anything more than light-hearted animosity between us; which is what they are used to.

 

How Do You Keep Your Relationship Interesting?
I recommend drinking copious amounts of alcohol to keep your relationship interesting.

On Saturday night we decided to go out for a meal to celebrate, nevertheless. Nothing fancy, just our favourite Japanese restaurant that does the wickedest burn-the-roof-off-your mouth Wasabi, melt-in-your mouth Sashimi, loadsacalories Tempura, orgasmic Wagu Beef and a comforting Teriyaki. I always follow the main with this wierd tea ice cream they serve because I can pretend it is a healthy dessert and I alos love watching the old man’s face turn a similar shade of green because he finds the whole concept of tea-flavoured ice-cream strangely revolting.

 

It’s no Cookies and Cream. And neither is marriage sometimes.

 

Luckily, the one thing the old man and I have always done well together is DRINKING. And when you’re tired and eating great food and have an excuse to celebrate, wine slips down the throat very easily and relaxes all those tensions that have been steadily building up over the last 21 years.

 

We were home by 8.30pm, which was far too early to end our private party so we foolishly opened a bottle of red this time, grabbed the furry rugs and the biggest bar of chocolate I’ve ever seen in my life and sat out on our balcony to put the world to rights. We spent those several drunken hours testing our eyesight by seeing who could read the furthest illuminated building signs and counting the number of ferries that came in and out of the harbour. We even discussed the carbon tax quite seriously at one point and then took our environmental conscience one step further and counted how many office blocks kept their lights on over the weekend.

 

A lot, it seems!

 

I don’t know how many times I mentioned how much I love living in the city. I can’t remember how many times the old man tried to bring Tiger Woods and the British Open into the conversation.

green tea ice cream goodness
green tea ice cream goodness (Photo credit: raffik)

 

I think we even had a kiss at some point and tongues might have connected so we must have been very, very drunk to breach the no physical contact rule except on birthdays and Christmas. Well, it was our anniversary, I suppose.

 

It was one of those spontaneous nights where nothing was really planned but the world stood still for a short moment to remind us of what we have.

 

How do you keep your relationship alive?

The Middle-Aged Anniversary Mini-Break

Twenty years ago today I sealed my fate. I vowed that the old man’s penis would be the last adult one I’d ever see….(obviously at that point I hadn’t counted on the exhibitionism of my sixteen year old ADHD son).

day 72: esther in chintz
day 72: esther in chintz (Photo credit: estherase)

Did I mention that the anniversary celebrations have finally been booked? We are off to Wrinkly Lodge, or I should say… some beautiful old hotel in the Blue Mountains with an abundance of floral chintz, quilted bedcovers and a beautiful old wood panelled bar that only serves Sherry.

The old man’s choice!

I’m not complaining……much. (Just call me ‘Princess’).

At least this little ‘mini break’ is costing enough of a small fortune to be hurting the old man like hell, (I think his wallet actually threw up last night), which in a sick way proves to me that after twenty years together there is some discernible love left between us.

But…..

If truth be told, I’m a bit more of a modernist in my style and given the choice might have preferred a quirky, little boutique hotel with pink velvet chairs, faux zebra skin rugs and an Eames Lounge Chair, say, to get my style juices really going.

Wrinkly Lodge just sounds a bit, well, ‘too wrinkly’ for me. A tad dull. Like we’re old or something! It sounds like the sort of place we went to in our twenties when we were pretending to be all grown up, but had no taste. I don’t actually need reminding that we are middle-aged now – why else would we be celebrating twenty years together?

I can just about accept being middle-aged but I don’t have to pro-actively seek out other more mature middle-aged people to spend my free time with.

I am sure that Wrinkly Lodge will be sophisticated and classy and decadent in a period drama kind of a way, but I’m just not sure I’m quite there yet. It’s no secret that I’m still sadly trying to salvage some element of my youth, even if I’m barely holding onto it by my finger nails. Why else would I have subjected myself to a week of skiing torture?

I would have preferred to turn back time just for one weekend, to have gone somewhere where I could pretend we were back in our twenties, somewhere hip and vibrant, even if I was the oldest parent in the playground. I want to get out my glad rags again, my f*ck me heels, some sparkle and glamour and put on the old liquid eyeliner and red lipstick – as opposed to fast-forwarding ten years and sitting in silence together in some cold wood panelled bar with a whisky, dressed in comfortable clothing, Hush Puppies squeaking on the polished floor.

Marmite and Vegemite have a distinctive dark c...
Marmite and Vegemite have a distinctive dark colour (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Needless to say, the old man loves a bit of wrinkly Golf Club glamour. Put him in an environment of grey-hair with either Duck a L’Orange or Beef Bourgignon on the menu and a select choice of vintage whiskies, and he’s in heaven. He sees contemporary cuisine as the devil’s food, a ‘pay-more to eat-less’ food fashion – ‘smears’ and ‘froths’ raise his blood pressure.

I take comfort from the fact that we won’t be indulging in the hotel breakfast or lunch at least – the old man has suggested we bring our toaster and Marmite to save money.

This weekend I may not be Brigitte Jones, but I will proudly be the Princess of Wrinkly Lodge, and although once again he might have got it a little wrong, I will be sharing the experience with my Mr Darcy.

How To Celebrate Your 20th Wedding Anniversary

Will and Kate may just have celebrated their first wedding anniversary, but more excitingly we too have a major wedding anniversary looming. One that could test the very foundations of our marriage, as inevitably we share very different views about how best to celebrate it.

Hayman Island by df1hx at www.flickr.com

It’s not that I’m worried about the old man remembering the date – he only has to look at the massive tattoo on his chest inscribed with the words ‘17th JULY’ – my gift to him on our first anniversary.

I just know innately that I’m going to be disappointed. I can’t decide whether to accept that for what it is, suck it up, and focus on all the things he is wonderful at.

Or HOPE.

I think that ‘hoping’ is where I always go wrong. Hope is dangerous and a little foolish after twenty years together. Logically, leopards do not generally change their spots.

But, I argue in my head, this anniversary is more special than the others, so maybe….

*Hoping*

My argument is that we need to celebrate that I have put up with him for twenty years and lived to tell the tale. It’s an achievement that needs to be celebrated with more than a bottle of sparkling white wine, a curry and a quickie.

His arguments are characterically, ‘cost’,  and some bullshit about ‘not needing to prove his love with false public demonstrations of love.’

It’s not like I’m expecting anything REALLY special, like friends of ours who set the bar unrealistically high by flying to New York and doing romantic stuff like ‘spending time together’. (You know who you are!). Just a step up from a Chicken Korma and a kiss on the cheek, say.Nilgiri Chicken Korma courtesy of Sailajag at www.flickr.com

I’ve bandied around the idea of a weekend on Hayman Island, which was met with what I can only describe as a guffaw from the old man’s camp. Is that a positive reaction or am I reading too much into it?

I foolishly thought that if I aimed high, he might actually ‘read the cue’ that I’m serious about him treating this anniversary with a little more than the usual skepticism.

But there is a fundamental problem with us going to Hayman Island, (were there even the remote chance in a billion that he would ever to take my suggestion seriously), in that I am terrified of the ocean. I’ve always had difficulties with the whole breathing technique of snorkeling and usually end up a spluttering mess on a bed of those hideous-looking Sea Cucumber things at the bottom of the ocean – (Ever question God’s choices when he decided what to create?). Frankly, I can only tolerate living fish if they stay in their own zone or are in tanks.

Snorkelling courtesy of Jenchiblu at www.flickr.com

So I was hoping that he might come up with a counter-suggestion along the lines of a weekend in Noosa or Port Douglas maybe, even Melbourne, or worst case scenario, some fancy-schmantzy hotel in the city. But I haven’t spotted him furtively researching any holiday or hotel websites recently and I’ve checked his search history and there’s nothing there apart from questionable bodily function symptoms.

I made him promise years ago that for my fiftieth birthday we would go on a tour of Italy together and he’s even having second thoughts about that now. Last night he offered me a change of plan and suggested that I go (with a few girlfriends) on an all-expenses-paid trip (by him) around North Korea.

So it doesn’t bode well.

My husband has many talents but organization and ‘giving’ are not two of them. He has surprised me once during our marriage – at our wedding reception, when he introduced my speech to our guests – the one that I had no idea I was making and had to deliver after at least eight glasses of Champagne.

The other problem we face, of course, is that we are not sure if we can leave Kurt Cobain (the ADHDer), the Spoodle and Nerd Child on their own and in the same house, for a whole night.

Nerd Child has been having a bit of a crisis as a result of Kurt’s recent antics at Darling Harbour. She has come to the conclusion that our house is a mental asylum and I admit that I have noticed that she stays at friends’ houses more and more regularly as Kurt becomes more and more sociopathic. I’m envisaging more therapy bills for the old man to tut about.

In fairness, she has offered to ‘babysit’ our sixteen year old for vast sums of money, but these are the conditions:

  • Kurt is not allowed to walk around the house naked
  • He is not to emit his Tourettes-like howls before 8am in the morning
  • He is not to steal money from her purse to buy cigarettes
  • He is not to climb out onto his roof to smoke them
  • He is not to wake her up in the middle of the night, singing
  • He is not to take the television apart
  • He is not to play his electric guitar at full volume using his Big Muff distortion pedal before 8am
  • He is not to wear his bunny onesie or Thunderbird costume in public
  • He is not to terrorise the Spoodle by any of the following means: a) the blanket game b) the bladder game or c) dressing up in aforementioned onesie.

Unfortunately, Kurt will not agree to conditions 1 and 8, so it looks like we could be back at Blue Ginger’s curry house for our 20th wedding anniversary after all.

What did you do to celebrate your 20th Wedding Anniversary?

Hayman Island by df1hx at http://www.flickr.com

Snorkelling by Jenchiblu at http://www.flickr.com

Nilgiri Chicken Korma by Sailajag at http://www.flickr.com