Does your other half have Rushing Man’s Syndrome?
It will come as little shock to most women to learn we rush around too much. But if you were holding out for official proof, it is here: a survey of mothers published this week confirms that the pressures of juggling parenting and a career leave us strapped for time to do, well, pretty much all other things. (The research, by Sanctuary Spa, cites everything from ironing bed linen to blow drying hair.) Meanwhile, a new book, Rushing Woman’s Syndrome by Dr Libby Weaver, blames the eponymous malaise for making the menopause worse.
All of which poses a niggling question: for every rushing woman, does there lurk in the background a wonderfully chilled out man? Put it this way, the last time I checked, Rushing Man’s Syndrome had yet to become a book. But for any interested publishers reading this, here’s what it would look like:
Rushing Man loves to eat food but sadly lacks the time to plan meals, buy the ingredients or cook them. He will, however, occasionally assist on the gastronomic front by pointing out that a carrot you’d left in the fridge is past its best (subtext: why hasn’t Rushing Woman got round to including it in a bolognese or throwing it out yet?). He is also good at identifying a domestic shortage of cheese/breakfast cereal/beer, and raising the alarm accordingly.
He’s too busy to even look down and see the steadily growing pile of his dirty laundry on the floor beside the bed. He’s rushing so much he doesn’t notice that the sitting room looks like someone has waged a bloody battle on the shop floor of Toys R Us. Luckily for him, if not for you, he is perfectly content to exist in a neo-Paleolithic state, and sees any efforts to prettify or domesticize as a terrible waste of Rushing Woman’s time. (“There’s no need to dust,” he will tell you. “Dust is good for the kids. It helps build their character.”)
2 3 No time to cook: No time to clean or tidy: No time to remember things:
Rushing Woman has planned the summer holiday. She has booked it, packed the bags, packed the kids’ bags and arranged for the teenager down the road to feed the chinchilla. As you are rushing to the airport, Rushing Man will ask: “Did you remember to pack the flippers?” He is justifiably disappointed to learn that you did not. The fact that this item was forgotten indeed now threatens to ruin the whole holiday. But of course he doesn’t have time to remember such things himself and you both know that life will only run smoothly if Rushing Woman remembers everything.
“Why are you still wearing that?” Rushing Woman might inquire. “That shirt is faded, full of holes and unravelling as we speak. I threw it in the bin last year.” “This,” says Rushing Man, “is my best shirt. I wore it to my brother’s wedding, grandfather’s funeral, first job interview and all through school. If I ever have time, I’ll sew up that little hole. But I don’t know when you expect me to find time to buy a new one.”
“What are we doing this weekend?” he will wonder aloud each Friday night. Rushing Woman will reel off all the lovely ways they will be rushing around together this weekend, and he’ll nod and say, “Oh yes. But don’t forget it’s the FA Cup final so I won’t actually be able to do any of those things.”
6 No time for extracurricular chores:
Rushing Man knows you have a bad deal with your energy company. He talks about it at great length and promises to do something about it because Rushing Woman is frankly too bored by the subject to engage, and would rather pay more money than have to think about tariffs or spend time on the phone to a call centre in Jaipur. Rushing Man would sort it out himself, he really would, but other, more urgent chores have a habit of getting in the way. These chores are as follows: re-watching the goals from the United game; re-reading the match report; digging out a book he forgot he had and spending several hours poring over it; removing the rotting carrot from the fridge, shaking his head sadly, and making a great show of laying it to rest in the compost bin.
7 No time to buy himself any new clothes: No time to make any weekend plans. Too many demands on his time:
Have you ever said any of the following: “I have a diary clash: the two matches are on at the same time and I don’t know which one to watch;” “I have no clean shirts. Can you tell from standing there that this one’s a day old?” “All my good suits are at the dry cleaner’s. Can you tell that this one isn’t really a suit at all?” “Do you think it matters if I arrive three hours late?” “I’ ll definitely do it tomorrow. No really, I will.”? If so, don’t worry, there’s a name for your syndrome: you are Rushing Man.