I thought we had at least another 5 years before this problem reared it’s ugly comb-overed head. But no. Smudge’s mid-life crisis arrived this month, and it arrived via Royal Mail. In the form of a leather biker jacket. He ordered it online and had them deliver to our home. He violated our haven of safety with the devil’s attire. Reason number 8 trillion and 13 why the internet is a bad, bad, place.
Yes. He has embraced with gusto the cliché of buying the leather biker jacket when really, that ship sailed and sunk a decade ago.
He doesn’t own a bike. He owns a Lexus. He isn’t Danny Zucko. He is a solicitor who plays Squash. Unless he expects me to wrap myself in black bin liners and call myself Sandy (and I am REALLY not up for this game), flicking cigarettes on the ground and hoping they don’t set my bin bag wear on fire then I don’t know what to think. It would almost have been easier if he spent forty grand on a red convertible car. At least then I wouldn’t have to look at his awful to an early mid life demise. He could join a “car club” and take his mid-life crisis away on weekend jaunts. A bit like a mistress.
And the reason he insists on rubbing this monstrosity in my horrified face is because I reacted to it. The very second it jumped out at me from behind the bedroom door, accessorised with a big smile, we began the wordy equivalent of medieval jousting competition. Circling around and around and around each other…
“Wow. So, that’s different. I didn’t know you liked leather jackets.”
“No, me neither. What’s your point?”
“I don’t have a point. Your jacket makes the point. It’s a big giant red arrow pointing at you being one step away from getting a comb over, a red convertible car and our friends talking about you behind your back. With me.”
“Just say what you mean, Hannah. Get it all out now.”
“What? It’s fine. If you like it, then great! Good for you!”
And that was that. I had accidently sealed the deal. You see, it is now a battle of wills. I have learnt over 10 years of being in a relationship that if you want something (a hobby, clothing, house extension suggestion) to just woft off into the ether, initially agree whole heartedly it is an AMAZING idea and then, a few days later, watch it wither and die. Agree with the idea and it will fail and you will win. But if you challenge it, well, it sticks.
WHY DID I OPEN MY MOUTH ABOUT NOT LIKING THIS LEATHERY PIECE OF CRAP?!
And so and ergo, the jacket was well and truly staying. To prove it’s permanent presence in our house he made it a specific “home”. He made a big serious point by undertaking the big serious mission of clearing out the entrance to Narnia that is the cupboard under our stairs. The men who come to read the gas meter venture in to that cupboard and never return. Before they disappear in a cloud of mismatched shoes and solo gloves forever, I ask them in a high pitched, sing-song, nervous voice
“Is it the worst cupboard you have ever seen? Oh God I am so embarrassed!” (not that embarrassed to have sorted out the space since the entity ate the last meter reader 6 months ago)
“No. It’s not the best. It’s not the worst. I’ll get to the little beauty don’t you worry about that little lady”.
“Little lady?” I think “Little lady?!”. That, Gas Man was the kiss of death for you. Feast my darling cupboard, feast on the flabby flesh of the British gas employee!
Many a convo have I had with the ballsy, bold as brass meter reader.
“It’s really messy. Can you come back tomorrow, after I have sorted it out?” (picked it up armful by armful and thrown it in the airing cupabord, until another man comes to check the boiler, where upon I reverse the process).
“NO, CHRIST NO!” said the Gas Man “You could be making DRUGS in there!”.
“Could I?” (what a missed opportunity! Joking).
“Hell yes!” (not a religious fellow then) “I did a house call on a Judge once and found a crop of the marijuana in the cupboard under the stairs! A JUDGE! Drugs! In amongst his Hunter wellies and a collection of walking poles!”
Should he just, you know, go around giving people ideas? I had no idea this was even possible. I had no idea my cupboard under the stairs could house a drug empire! My cupboard under the stairs just grows mould and a bad smell.
But, I digress. Smudge cleared the indoor junk yard out to house his mistress. His mistress of leather.
This weekend he took his mid life crisis out and flaunted her in front of me, our friends and the general public. Me? I can cope with my own feelings (of disgust, hatred and revulsion. I drink a lot). Our friends? I can make excuses up for him (he’s stressed at work/ it was a gift from a blind orphan he sponsors/ he’s doing it as a bet/ I think he’s drunk). But strangers? The general public? Short of making him a sign saying
“SPONSOR ME FOR WEARING THIS IN PUBLIC!”
and blue tacking it to the hard shell of a 1950’s replica he is wearing, I have no hope. This weekend we were out with another couple and their kids and I spent most of the time trying to manipulate my friend into being nearer to Smudge than me. Ensuring she was stood between me and him. That way people would assume she was his wife. And not me.
The next day he teamed it with some red chinos. Considering the time of year, he looked like Father Christmas having a middle aged meltdown.
But maybe, just maybe we both are approaching middle aged meltdowns. Perhaps I am just approaching mine in a different way? I think I have become “that” mum. Ed got released from school at kicking out time as normal last week and the teacher couldn’t see me, a mere 10 meters away in the playground because the sun was in her eyes. So…
“I ran up to her and did a star jump in front of her, Smudge”
“Oh God. In your big coat? With your 3 scarves you wrap together to make one big scarf and your hat? Making you look like a tramp?”
Plus, I think I may need to tone down my festive attire and stop milking it so much. At the school Christmas fete, whilst wearing my reindeer jumper and elf hat, one woman actually said to her daughter as I said hello:
“LOOK! It’s that woman who wore the bolt through her neck when she and her kids came trick or treating at Halloween!”
Perhaps we are just well suited, him and me.
(That’s a token sentence because he read through this blog for me before I posted it. Nothing makes up for what he has brought into this house.)