Real Lives: MAN'S WORLD
Sunday 21 March 1999
By their incredulous laughter I was made to understand that I had somehow managed to avoid this particular pitfall. My wife assured me that hanging around the house all the time and being a house husband were two different things. I reminded her of all the nappies I'd changed and that time I'd made bread, but she insisted that I had a long way to go before I could be considered a new man. I'm sure she didn't mean this as a compliment, because she said it in front of someone else, but the implication was clear: I was the marginally lesser of two evils.
Obviously these days a man has to walk a very fine line to stay inside the Attractiveness Zone, but I find that it's mostly a matter of attitude. I may shop and cook and bathe the children like some kind of hapless drone, but I do it all with the exceedingly bad grace of someone fulfilling the conditions of a community service order. I know these chores are just as much my responsibility as my wife's, which is why I'm always prepared to argue that it isn't my turn. My wife will sometimes insist that it's not about whose turn it is, but this is usually because it's her turn.
In principle our marriage is an equal partnership. In practice this means that neither of us does anything unpleasant without having a crack at getting the other to do it first, and all of our free time is taken up with arguing about who is the most tired. The worst part is that, as the man, it is my duty to defend the moral low ground, which sometimes makes me uncomfortable. It can be very difficult to say "I know what you mean - my back is killing me" to a woman who is eight-months pregnant, although I prefer it to cleaning up cat sick.
Sunday is one long fight for the right to wear the thunderous face. My wife prefers ambitious family outings - a restaurant followed by swimming, perhaps - so she can show the world what a bad father I am. I generally oblige by sulking. Then, as my wife becomes irritated with the slow service and starts shouting at the four-year-old for playing with the sugar, I begin to cheer up. By the time we get to the pool to find it closed for a private party, my wife is seething and I am humming to myself. Back at home I grudgingly make the children supper, and looking out at the steady rain, I smile as I remember that it's her turn to go out and look for the tortoise. I shall wait until bedtime to remind her.
Life & Style blogs
Alexander McQueen at auction: What makes a really great piece of fashion?
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
No female ejaculation, please, we’re British: a history of porn and censorship
Stressed nurses are 'forced to choose between health of patients and their own'
Pornhub: Kim Kardashian's sex tape is the most-watched porn video of all-time
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...